Getting To Know: Eric Hacker

What have we learned so far during the season-long “Getting To Know” series?

Well…

Chase Wright likes Bone Thugs N’ Harmony and Danity Kane, probably still thinks he can beat me in Madden with the Cowboys, and contends that zero percent of the interviews he gives don’t bring up the four straight home runs he gave up at Fenway Park last year.

P.J. Pilittere is one of the biggest movie guys you’re ever going to find, once thinking that every life situation could relate to a line from the wildly overrated movie Anchorman.  His iPod has a wide variety of stuff on it, and if he could design his own catchers mask, it wouldn’t be very flashy.

Colin Curtis likes a lot of alternative music from the 90’s, such as Sublime.  He likes playing video games like Halo, Guitar Hero and Call of Duty and likes to spend most of his time outdoors in the off-season, going fishing and hunting.

Mark Melancon has been skydiving, bungee jumping and scubadiving before.  As a golfer, he can shoot in the low to mid 80’s, and lists George Strait and Alan Jackson as his favorite musicians.  He attended many Colorado Rockies games when he was growing up

Phil Coke likes to talk, for one thing.  A noted roller coaster junkie, Coke enjoys the outdoors and likes to ride on his four-wheeler or clean up the lake association where he lives.  His dream cars are the Saleen S7 from Bruce Almighty and an F-650, which would both be upgrades over his current ride, a ’90 Chevy Silverado.

Jason Jones likes to tell people he’s from the south, despite growing up in Maryland.  He enjoys fishing, has a special connection to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, and drinks Shirley Temples after most games.  He hasn’t had hair in four years, and claims the ladies love it.

Austin Jackson enjoys watching cartoons and is big into video games as well.  He likes playing sports games, action/adventure games and Army games.  He’s got a lot of Jay-Z on his iPod, has three tattoos, and would absolutely crush me in a game of one-on-one.

George Kontos is, as most pitchers are, a talented golfer.  He and his brother own every video game system known to man, including the ill-fated Sega Saturn.  He listens to techno before games and lists his most embarassing song on his iPod as “Pop” by ‘N Sync, but we still like George anyway…

But what will we learn about Eric Hacker today?  On the field, the fellow 25-year-old and Duncanville, Texas native joined the Thunder at the end of May and has been incredibly consistent, allowing no more than three runs in each of his 16 starts.

But I bet you don’t know too much about him off the field.  That’s all about to change.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present “Getting To Know” Eric Hacker…

Mike Ashmore: I’ll ask you the same first question that I’ve asked everyone else: Tell me something about Eric Hacker that’s going to surprise some people…

Eric Hacker: “Hmmm.  You kind of caught me off guard there a little bit.  I don’t know, maybe a lot of people don’t know that back in high school, I was a two-sport athlete.  I played football in high school, I played quarterback.  So I was always active with both sports.  I guess that’s something people probably don’t know about me.”

Ashmore: Did it ever come to a point where you had to make a choice between the two sports, or did it kind of work itself out?

Hacker: “I guess an injury made the choice for me.  I broke my foot playing football in my last year of high school, my senior year.  So it kind of made my decision a little bit easier because I didn’t have as many opportunities to play at the college level once I got hurt.”

Ashmore: The question would usually be if you weren’t a baseball player, what would you be…but if you weren’t a baseball player or a football player, what would you be?

Hacker: “Hmmm, I don’t know.  I guess I’d like to be a lawyer.  I’d like to get in and debate things with people and try to prove points to people and stuff.  That’s something I’d be interested in.”

Ashmore: So what’s a typical day for you like on an off day?

Hacker: “I like to take advantage of my off days and relax a little bit.  Maybe sleep in a little bit.  Go grab some lunch, kind of hang out.  I kind of like to stay to myself a little bit.  I’m around these guys all the time, so I’ll maybe grab some lunch by myself or just go run a few errands if I need to take care of a few things.  Just kind of relax, take it easy.  Maybe make some phone calls to some family or friends, people I haven’t caught up with in a while.  Just take care of some personal things.”

Ashmore: What’s the biggest difference between being back home in Texas and being up here?

Hacker: “The biggest difference would be the travel, just getting around.  In Texas, it’s more of an open space.  You’re driving down an open road, and you can just stop off at the store or grab a bite to eat, or do this or do that.  You can see where you’re going.  (Laughs) Around here, if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s hard to see that.  Probably just the travel has been the biggest difference for me, just being able to get around while not knowing the area.  Just trying to find where I’m going, you’ve got to make a right turn to go left, if you know what I mean.  It gets a little frustrating, and it’s easy to get turned around.  So just the travel.”

Ashmore: Is there something you wish you could bring from back home that would make things easier for you?

Hacker: “I wish I could bring my fiancee with me.  Outside of that, I don’t really think I have anything that stands out that I’d like to have with me.  Maybe some more family and stuff like that, I’d like to see my family more often.”

Ashmore: Are you a big music and movies guy at all?

Hacker: “No, not really.  I don’t really get involved in that much.  I mean, I’ll listen to a little bit of everything, music wise.  Movies, I obviously watch movies, but I don’t really get into it in-depth like a lot of people do.  I just kind of go with the flow.”

Ashmore: So no favorites or anything like that?

Hacker: “No, not really.”

Ashmore: So you’re not really into music or movies…any kind of hobbies for you?

Hacker: “I enjoy shooting some pool, just going out with some friends and shooting some pool.  I enjoy fishing a little bit.  I don’t get to do it much, but fishing.  I used to enjoy hunting a lot with my dad when I was younger, but I don’t really do that much anymore either.  Just hang out with friends and stuff, play pool or maybe some darts, stuff like that.”

Ashmore: You’re a pitcher, and I haven’t heard you mention golf once…

Hacker: “No, I don’t play golf.  I never really got involved in it.  I keep kind of telling myself I’m going to, but I never do.”

Ashmore: Who do you room with on the road?

Hacker: “It’s changed.  When I first got here, let’s see…my first roommate was Steven Jackson.  Currently, it’s kind of been Kevin Whelan.  Before that, it was Phil Coke.  I think that’s it, just those three.”

Ashmore: Is there an aspect to life on the road that you think the casual fan might not really be privy to?

Hacker: “It’s just tough being able to stay on a routine when it comes to eating and stuff like that.  Things change everywhere you go.  You might have a place to eat where you are, you might not.  The late night eating, you know…sometimes in the clubhouses, they may not have something that you’ll eat or you like and you’ve got to make do somehow.  It might be trying to order something with delivery or something like that.  I’d probably say overall, just the eating arrangements are not always intact like they would be elsewhere.  Especially for me, because I’m a picky eater.  That might be something a lot of people don’t know about me.”

Ashmore: All right, let’s get into that, then.  Define picky…

Hacker: “Define picky?  Ask me if I eat it and I’ll tell you yes or no (laughs).”

Ashmore: Ha.  All right.  So what’s on the Eric Hacker list of things to eat?

Hacker: “Pretty much to narrow it down, I’ll eat chicken, but I don’t eat any kind of red meat.  I just never liked it, I just never have.  I eat chicken and that’s it.  There’s not much lunchmeat that I eat or anything like that.  It’s pretty much chicken and that’s it.”

Ashmore: You can go to any restaurant you want…where do you go, and what are you ordering?

Hacker: “That’s kind of a funny question.  My favorite actual restaurant, it’s funny you ask that.  There’s a small restaurant in Arkansas — my fiancee went to school in Arkansas — in Fayetteville, there’s a Thai restaurant, it’s called “Taste of Thai.”  She introduced it to me about three or four years ago, and it’s probably my favorite food to go eat at a restaurant.  With Thai, there’s all different types of noodles and chicken and stuff, so I’m all right there.  So that’s probably my favorite place to go.  I enjoy Italian food, and that’s probably the overall easiest thing to get that’s satisfying.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

4 Responses to “Getting To Know: Eric Hacker”

  1. dan Says:

    Wow that man likes to repeat himself a lot. It’s kind of strange– baseball players are so different than I always picture them (at least the ones you’ve helped us “get to know.”

  2. mbn Says:

    Interesting fellow, in a different way. Seems a bit like a loner, but not in the negative sense that usually is associated with that description. Spends his off-days the way I thought most players would.

    Hope he makes it. His biggest issue, in his Yankee career, has been health. This season, he has mastered that. Hope he gets a shot someday.

  3. Heather Says:

    I always chuckle when you rag on people’s taste in music, Mike. And for the record: Chase is a great guy, but Danity Kane is way worse than Nsync.

    Hacker sounds like good people. This makes me want really good things to happen for him.

    This has been a fantastic series of interviews, Mike. Great work.

  4. thunderbaseball Says:

    What’s funny is that I’m very willing to bust chops on these guys musical tastes, but my own are obviously horrendous.

    I have a lot of Danity Kane songs on my computer. Big fan of Aundrea from DK, too. Biiiiiiig fan.

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