Impact Baseball decided to sit down with our Senior Operations Director Mr. Lee Land for this edition of "Up Close". Mr. Land brings an awful lot to the table with Impact Baseball, Inc. and to the game of baseball. Land's knowledge and understanding of the game goes way beyond his years, as he has played all over the country in college and professional baseball.
Name: Lee Land
Coaching Experience: 6 years -Dirtbags, 3 years HS - (DH Conley 2009, 2010/Riverside 2013)
Playing Experience: Riverside HS (2000-2003, Wake Forest (2004), Arkansas (2005-2006), Brewster Whitecaps (Cape Cod League - 2007), Oakland A's organization (2007-2008)
You have played all over... the Cape Cod League, ACC, and SEC. What was the best atmosphere in college baseball you ever been a part of?
Tough question... I have been fortunate enough to play in front of great crowds. Our crowd at Arkansas was tremendous. 12,000 fans in the face of the opponent for nine innings. I still get goose bumps when I hear them call the hogs, "WOOOOO PIG SOOIE!". After the game, the same group of 25-30 fans had a buffet line in the parking lot for the players with some of the best country food with a mix of the south/midwest. Away from home... Mississippi State or LSU was a tough environment. I do remember a game at Tennessee like yesterday. In the 5th-6th inning I went into the training room directly behind dugout to get stretched before the late innings. I knew we had some action going in the bullpen so when the phone rang in the room I didn't think twice about answering it. Well, it was the student section! They had the number to the room and as I looked out the dugout I can see one guy, on the phone, right in the middle of the student section wearing me out! They got me even more when Chase Headley (San Diego Padres) took me deep over their scoreboard.
What was your most memorable game in college baseball?
Definitely the NCAA Regional in 2005. We (Arkansas) were a #2 seed in the Austin Regional where Texas was the #1 seed. There is already a strong rivalry between Texas-Arkansas going back a long time to the old Southwest Conference and meeting in NCAA tournament just added a little extra punch. We beat Texas 9-2 in the second game of the regional meaning they would now have to come back and beat us twice. After that game and a few choice words between our pitcher and their bench... We cleared benches. It made those next games even more intense and their fans showed no mercy on us for the next 18 innings. Texas smoked us the next game... 18-5 I think... Then they beat 5-3 in the rubber match and sent us home. Texas did go on to win the College World Series that year.
Who was the best hitter you ever faced while you were on the bump?
Not sure... I never thought about it because I was never worried about who stepped in the box. I just knew I was getting them out. I know I faced guys like Drew Stubbs, Chase Headley, Matt LaPorta, Pedro Alvarez, Stephen Head, Gordan Beckham... but to say who was the best... I don't know.
Who's the best college baseball team you played against?
The 2005 Texas Longhorns were loaded... perhaps though it may have been Rice. My freshman year at Wake Forest (2004) we played at Rice. The had three first-rounders in the rotation (Jeff Niemann, Phillip Humber, Wade Townsend)... Are you kidding me? Three guys...one college staff... one weekend rotation... drafted in the first eight overall picks! Good luck!
Playing at Riverside High School and Ryan Falcon playing at Northern Durham, I know you guys had some good rivals. How did you fair against him?
Man, I couldn't figure him out. I had one infield single off him in high school. I did take him deep during a scrimmage in college though.
Being an assistant coach at Durham Riverside now, how is the team looking for his coming year?
It seems like we have a good core returning from last year’s team that was successful. We are still getting a feel for our pieces but from what I have seen I think we will have a very good season.
You are a diehard Tarheel basketball fan, what's the best game you have ever attended that comes to mind?
I was lucky enough to say I attended the 1993, 2005, and 2009 National Championship games.
What are your hobbies outside of baseball?
There used to be a whole lot of them until my son, Ryne, was born this past July. Enjoy being apart/around sports, family, and friends.
What's your favorite television show?
Psych, Burn Notice, NCIS, Shark Tank, Wicked Tuna, Suits... and more.
What's your favorite quote from a movie?
Yo, Adrian. I did it! (Rocky II)
What's your favorite movie?
Impossible to narrow down... in deep thought here... um... Can't do it.
What's your favorite actor?
James Roday from Psych
Impact Baseball would like to take this time to thank Mr. Lee Land for his "Up Close" interview.
Stay tuned for more here from Impact Baseball...