A Conversation With Adam Greenberg
April 26, 2000
Adam Greenberg was known more for his soccer prowess than his baseball ability while in high school, but the Guilford, Conn. native has blossomed into one of the best freshmen in the ACC.
The swift center fielder was expected to be strong defensively, but his hitting has surprised almost everyone but himself. His batting average has consistently been around the .400 mark, while he's also shown unexpected power.
Greenberg's performance has earned him an invitation to try out for the U.S. National Team. He's one of only five freshmen in the country to receive that honor.
Adam Greenberg has rapidly become one of the most exciting players in the ACC.
y: Joe Bray
TarHeelBlue: Your batting average has hovered around .400 for most of the season. Has this been a surprise to you?
Adam: "I haven't been surprised, but I think a lot of other people may have been. I've always known that I can hit, but I wasn't really recruited for hitting. I was recruited for my speed and my defense.
"I have been surprised that my hitting has come around as fast as it has at this level. I have known all along that I had the potential to be a pretty good hitter."
TarHeelBlue: What's been the biggest difference between high school and college ball?
Adam: "As for hitting, you're seeing quality pitchers day in and day out. Also, you're not losing much when you go from the starter to the bullpen. In high school when you knock out the starter, it usually slacks off a good deal in the bullpen. So day in and day out, the biggest difference has been in the quality of the pitching."
TarHeelBlue: What's been the biggest adjustment for you as far as college life in general?
Adam: "Time, or lack of it. There is no spare time. You wake up, eat, go to class, you go to practice or a game, then you go home and study, then go to sleep.
"You can't just veg out like you could in high school. There's just not any spare time.
"We're also practicing a lot more and playing a lot more games than we did in high school."
TarHeelBlue: How do you feel about your arm strength?
Adam: "I need to improve on it. I haven't been working on it as much as I know I need to as far as long tossing and improving that. I know I need to work much more on long tossing, that's the only way I'm going to improve my throwing.
"I've been asked to try out for the National Team this summer. If I make that I'm going to pick out a partner and say 'hey, let's throw every day.' I hope to improve both this summer and in the fall. Hopefully, my arm will be stronger next year.
"If you look at which tools I have, I definitely need to work on my arm strength the most."
TarHeelBlue: What do you consider to be the strongest part of your game?
Adam: "I'd have to say my speed. Speed helps in so many facets of the game. Whether it's getting to a ball in the outfield, beating out a ground ball, the ability to bunt and get on, or in stealing bases, speed is a huge asset.
"Speed is the main focus of my game. I really don't have a 40-yard time. (Laughing) I wouldn't mind running a 40 against some of the football players and see how I do."
TarHeelBlue: You made one of the best catches I've ever seen against Clemson this year when you robbed a Tiger of a home run. Was that your best catch ever?
Adam: "That's the first time I'd ever robbed someone of a home run, so if the category is robbing home runs, then that's my best catch ever.
"What's weird is what happened in practice the day before. I went over the fence and pulled a ball back from over the fence in batting practice, but I bobbled it and dropped it. The guys were busting on me, saying that if I ever did that in a game, we'll be mad at you.
"Sure enough, the next day the same thing happened, but in a game. I pulled the ball back into the park, but I started bobbling it. I thought I better really focus on it and pull it in, or the guys will start busting on me again.
"That was probably the most exciting catch of my life."
TarHeelBlue: We all know you're very fast, but do you work on your base running technique very much?
Adam: "I haven't really worked that much on my base running technique. Coach Fox and Coach Holbrook work with me on my base running leads and jumps.
"Coach Holbrook works with me on reading the pitcher, learning when to go and what are good counts to run on.
"If a pitcher has a high leg kick you want to go, but if he slide steps you may not want to go because he's quicker getting the ball to the plate.
"I didn't steal a single base in the fall (Greenberg is 23-26 on stolen base attempts going into the Duke series). Since then they've help me learn to read lefties and get better jumps off of them.
"It takes a combination of concentration and letting your instincts take over."
TarHeelBlue: You were an All-America soccer player in high school, plus you captained a state championship team. Would you comment on that?
Adam: "We (Guilford High School) had a really good team. We were ranked number one in the nation for a pretty good while. That was a big part of high school, because soccer was the biggest sport at my high school.
"No one really knew about the baseball team. It was always soccer, soccer, soccer. It was like, 'oh, you play baseball, too.'
"I was a striker. I loved to kick the ball and go get it."
TarHeelBlue: Did you get many scholarship offers in soccer?
Adam: "Not too many. Starting with my sophomore season, I told schools I was going to play baseball in college. Schools that had been interested in me for soccer backed off then.
"I enjoy baseball more, plus I felt I could be a better baseball player than a soccer player. There's more of a future and an opportunity in baseball than there is in soccer."
TarHeelBlue: I know you also lettered in basketball. What kind of game did you have?
Adam: "I was a defensive specialist. I was the point guard, and was basically the floor general. I didn't go out and score twenty points a game. I just went out and worked hard and tried to lead the team.
"Basketball was something to do between the transition from soccer to baseball."
TarHeelBlue: Can you dunk?
Adam: "I have a couple of times, but I sure can't do it on a consistent basis. I never dunked in a game, but I can say I've done it."
TarHeelBlue: You haven't really been in any hitting slumps this year, but what do you do to work yourself out of a slump?
Adam: "A lot of extra batting practice. You think about what you're doing wrong. Are you popping up, or maybe getting a lot of ground outs. You need to realize what you are doing wrong the most, then figure out what you need to change that.
"If I can't figure it out, I'll go to the coaching staff and get their advice. Then I'll take extra BP, and that will usually build back confidence, because a slump is usually not physical, it's usually mental."
TarHeelBlue: Who works with you the most on your hitting?
Adam: "It's a good mix with all the coaches. They're all keeping an eye on you all the time. If Coach Fox is throwing BP, he'll be the one to say you need to work on this or you need to work on that.
"It's the same with all the other coaches. They're always looking to help you out in any way they can."
TarHeelBlue: It's a long season. Do you guys get tired?
Adam: "Yes, most definitely. I've never played this many games in a season.
"Plus, it's not just the baseball. It's the school, the studying and the baseball. There's some weeks when you really get tired, and you just need to take a day off.
"It's a long season, so you've just got to stay at it and work hard, but sometimes you've just got to get some rest."
TarHeelBlue: Do you know what you want to major in?
Adam: "No. I thought about majoring in business, but I'm changing my mind since it does require so much time to do well. I'll think about it over the summer and then some more in the fall."
TarHeelBlue: What do you want to do after school if baseball doesn't work out?
Adam: "Obviously, I'd love to play baseball at the next level, and I hope I can achieve that.
"If not, I'd still like to do something in business. I love to go into business with somebody. I want to be the boss and work in a nice, relaxed environment."
TarHeelBlue: Your mom (Wendy) impresses me so much. It seems like she comes down from Connecticut almost every weekend that you guys are at home.
Adam: "She's amazing. Anytime someone gets in the car and travels twelve hours week in and week out, you know there's someone really special that cares about you.
"All that she's done for me, you just can't say enough about it. I'm so thankful for her.
"We've got a really special relationship right now."