Brett Ratajczak, a senior at Saint Xavier University, from Joliet, Ill., is about to start is fourth year on the Baseball team. Ratajczak is a catcher and designated hitter for the team, and is working toward a major in Marketing and a minor in Graphic Design.
1. Why did you choose to come to Saint Xavier? I chose Saint Xavier because I was offered an athletic scholarship. I was debating in high school whether or not I was going to play baseball at all and just attend a big university. I had many friends attend a big school and one had been the school I wanted to go to since I was young because I was such a huge fan. After visiting Saint Xavier and getting a preview of the small classes and the campus being so centrally located, I thought that SXU would be a good fit. I also knew a number of guys on the baseball team who had previously attended my high school and I knew I would fit right in early.
2. What are your goals for this season? I think the biggest goal of the season for me being the designated hitter, would be to have a batting average of .400 or better with less than three strikeouts. If this goal is achieved, it will not only be a successful personal goal, but it will also help the team succeed and advance to postseason play. Ultimately, the main goal is a berth to the NAIA World Series.
3. What do you think you contribute to the Athletic Program? I think I bring an attitude that allows the guys on the team to relax and have a good time while working hard at whatever it is that we are doing. I have a lot of energy which allows me to crack jokes and fool around at the appropriate times which makes the day's tasks more enjoyable and accomplished at each player's highest level. I also contribute to having the presence of mind on the field and understanding everything being taught to us by the coaches. Therefore, I am able to assist any of our new players with any questions or problems they are having. I also have a sort of "swagger" to me during games that gives me the highest confidence in myself. This confidence makes me want to be in any situation, especially the big one at the end of the game no matter the opponent. I feel this brings others to feel the same way because seeing my confidence no matter if it's hitting against the "ace" of the other team or fielding the last ball of the game to win the conference, my teammates begin to believe in that motto and they want to be put in the same situation.
4. Do you have any Pre-game Rituals? Before each game, I put my bag at the same place on the bench (under the C in the dugout) and I listen to a playlist I created, while fielding balls during batting practice. If we are the visitors, I take the bat I use and go behind the dugout before the start of the game and swing at different places in the strike zone before going to my first at-bat.
5. Who would you say is your favorite athlete? My favorite athlete would be Derek Jeter, the shortstop for the New York Yankees. I like Jeter because of his poise and the presence he has on the field. He is a man of character and no matter how good or bad his season is going, he shows up everyday to compete and is the image of the organization. He is a natural leader and everyone, young or old, follows his way of the game.
6. What is your involvement on campus? I participate in S.I.F.E, which stands for the Students In the Free Enterprise. It basically is a business organization that promotes the idea of students engaging in business environments by going on trips to companies to learn how they function. Also, I am a member of the Business Student Association, which gives back to the community with toy drives at Christmas, bake sales to raise money for the club and trips to the Board of Trade or Federal Reserve Bank to learn how money is processed throughout the economy from the ground up.
7. Do you have a favorite quote/ motto to live by? I don't have a favorite quote, I quote so many shows or movies everyday that I can't really choose a favorite. However, my dad always said to me that if you "Look sharp and feel sharp, then you will be sharp." I always liked this quote, because throughout playing ball, I always liked having a sense of looking "sweet" on the field. I tend to wear a lot of different things that make me stand out and look like a hard-nose player which led to the term "Dirt Bag," which is used by the baseball team at San Diego State. A "Dirt Bag" player is always the dirtiest on the field and can be seen as the person who worked the hardest during the game and did whatever he could to get an edge. Also looking sharp off the field was always an importance, because it brought class and success. Therefore, my dad's mottoreally stuck with me throughout my life.
8. Who would you say is your role model? I don't think I could point out just one role model in my life. I would have to say both my parents have been my greatest role models. My mom has always been there for me and has been the one who has kept me in line and taught me the important things in life as I grew up, which helped me make the best decisions. My dad has always been there when I need to figure out why I am not hitting or just to tell a story too. Many friends have said my dad and I are pretty much the same person due to our personalities and I love that we can constantly shoot a joking text about a situation or story we had just encountered. It's a great feeling to have two parents who have shown you the right way to take on what the world throws at you and because of that I believe they are both my true role models.
9. Tell us an embarrassing or funny moment that happened during practice or a game? The funniest moment that happened was after our regional tournament at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, because a lot of the players had family at the game we all left to go talk to our parents and left all of the equipment in the dugout. Coach Dooley told Jeff Dobie to grab all the gear. He got stuck carrying three team equipment bags, his own bag, and two buckets out of the dugout. Looking like a fool, he had to figure out a way to carry it all up 40 stairs to the bus as we all stood watching him accomplish this task.
10. What are your plans after graduation? My plan after graduation is to get a job in downtown Chicago where I hope to end up working for a Marketing firm creating/designing advertising ads for companies.