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Stars of Tonight: Aaron Knapp blazing his own path while upholding multiple family legacies

by Matt Jasko, 07-26-2015

Stars of Tonight: Aaron Knapp blazing his own path while upholding multiple family legacies

On Saturday five Chatham Anglers made the journey to Wareham to participate in the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star festivities. Will Craig (Wake Forest) began the evening by representing the Anglers in the Home Run Hitting Contest. Shortly thereafter, Parker Dunshee (Wake Forest), Aaron McGarity (Virginia Tech), Brandon Miller (Millersville), and Aaron Knapp (California) took to the field in the 53rd Cape League All-Star Game.

Dunshee, McGarity, and Miller combined for three innings of no-run ball on the mound, and Knapp added a pair of solid at-bats and some defensive prowess in the East Division's 1-0 victory.

All-Star center fielder Aaron Knapp's accomplishments this summer including an eight-game hit streak and half a dozen diving catches have solidified his position as one of the best outfielders in the league, making him the most recent of a number of Knapps to sieze a spotlight in the sport.

Aaron’s father, Mike, and brother, Andrew, both played college ball where Aaron currently plays— Cal. Additionally, just as Aaron was selected to the Cape League All-Star team this season, so too was Andrew when he played for Chatham in 2012.

Sporting a mustache and a smile, Aaron Knapp sat down before the All-Star Game to discuss how his successes on the field are upholding multiple family legacies.

 

Matt Jasko: A lot of people who have parents or older siblings who are successful try to distance themselves from those figures. Why do you think you’ve been so comfortable in embracing your older family members’ successes while also blazing your own path?


Aaron Knapp during infield/outfield at the Cape League All-Star Game on Saturday. 

Aaron Knapp: I think the support of especially my dad and my brother playing baseball has been huge. It’s always been a competition between the three of us. My dad is kind of in a waiting game to see how me and Andrew do, but I’ve always been competing with my brother and that’s huge.

MJ: Through that support and competition, how much would you say your father and brother have shaped your game on the field today?

AK: A hundred percent. If I have a bad day at the ballpark, those are the first two people I’m talking to; If I have a good day, those are also the first two I’m talking to. They definitely have a very large influence on how I play today.

MJ: Your father played catcher, and your brother still plays catcher. How did you end up all the way out there in center field?

AK: My mom. [smiles] She has the wheels in the family—I was lucky enough to gain those from her. It’s funny—I used to catch, but that just wasn’t for me. So I went out to the outfield where I could run.

MJ: You and your brother were obviously around baseball a good deal in your childhood. Were you guys around Berkeley and around Cal sports growing up as well?

AK: Oh yeah—all the time. My dad always plays in the alumni game, so we would always go to that. Always go to home football games. If there was a big basketball game, we would go. It was definitely prevalent in my childhood.

MJ: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted Cal to be more than just a place that your family went and you visited, but also a place that you wanted to go?

AK: Wow. That’s a good question. As a kid—I always wanted to go. As a recruit—I wanted to make sure it was right. I wanted to make sure I was recruited as me and not as Andrew’s little brother— once they did that, I knew it was the right place for me. It was easy to fall in love.

MJ: Speaking of Andrew, he was also a Cape League All-Star. Did he give you any advice about thigs on the field before you came up here?

AK: Yeah. He said don’t worry about numbers, and if you make the All-Star team it’s going to be because you’re an all-round player. Hit the ball as hard as you can as often as you can, and you’ll be pretty successful. I’ve just taken to that as my approach. It’s pretty cool being an All-Star and having him be an All-Star too.

MJ: In addition to your approaches, part of the reason that you and Andrew have had success here is the fact that you’ve both developed tremendous coordination on both sides of your bodies. You throw right and hit left. Andrew hits from both sides. Where do you think that ambidextrousness came from?

AK: You know, that’s a good question. I don’t know for sure. Andrew was naturally right-handed hitting, and when I was younger I naturally picked it up left-handed. My dad wasn’t going to change that [laughs]. But I’m all goofy—I play golf right-handed, kick a soccer ball left-footed, kick a football right-footed, shoot a gun on my left shoulder, play basketball right, bowl left.

MJ: What do you write with?

AK: I write with my right, but I can write with my left too.

MJ: Do you ever write with both for fun?

AK: I mean I had surgery my senior year of high school so I had to do it a little bit for class. I can get by.

MJ: Going forward, what are you looking forward to about the rest of this season and going back to Cal next year?

AK: Well hopefully I play well in the All-Star Game—that’s step number one. Step number two is hopefully go back to school with a Cape Cod championship. And then step three is get a championship at school.

 

Tonight

Tonight Aaron Knapp and the Anglers (21-16) return to play to host the Harwich Mariners (16-20-1) 7 p.m. at Veterans Field. Neither team published a probable starting pitcher on Pointstreak at the time of publication. The magic number for the Anglers to make the playoffs is now at three.

 

Dominic Cotroneo and Jonny Wincott will have the call live, starting with the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 4:40 p.m. on TRZ Teamline and at 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.



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