Winnetka, Sports

Athlete of the Week: 10 questions with Max Kaplan, New Trier baseball

Max Kaplan is a senior starting pitcher for the Trevians. He is 7-0 with a 0.98 ERA in 42 2/3 innings pitched this season and will pitch for South Carolina Upstate starting next season.

1. Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?

I wouldn’t say that I’m very superstitious. I do know that I like to do certain things. I don’t like to eat close to gametime. I like to give myself some time to settle in. I never wear (sun)glasses the day I pitch. I feel like it messes up my eyes.

2. Why is South Carolina Upstate a good fit for you?

It’s a great fit. I took my visit there and loved the coaches, love the campus. I toured Illinois State University and liked the coaches there too, so it was tough, but it came down to the campus and the weather. I can play all year around at Upstate. I can long toss all year around. I felt like South Carolina was a really good fit for me. Plus, my sister (Hannah) goes to (University of) South Carolina in Columbia.

3. What makes you an effective pitcher?

I think the biggest thing is just my competitiveness. Every time I go out I’m trying to strike the guy out or make his time in the box the worst time for him.

4. What is your favorite pitch to beat a batter?

I love throwing my changeup. I love just placing a perfect changeup and the hitter looks stupid. For both righties and lefties, I usually throw it low and away. When it is working, I can really place it middle away, and it dips down.

5. What is your dream job?

I think being an athletic trainer for a major league team would be cool. Playing for that team would be cooler, but being an athletic trainer is one of my interests. I am shadowing an athletic trainer and I think that stuff is really cool.

6. Do you have a favorite athlete?

Not particularly. I really like watching a lot of college baseball. I love watching those athletes go to work. I really like to watch Florida State because they have a lot of lefty guys. I’ve been following one guy named Jamie Arnold. He is lights out for Florida State.

7. What is your favorite thing to do off the field?

I really like to hang out with my friends, I like golfing and I ride horses. And hunting too, sometimes in Wisconsin, sometimes in Georgia, with my friends.

8. If you’re in Walgreens with a couple bucks, what are you buying?

I am buying an Arnold Palmer and a Twix.

9. What is something people don’t know about you?

I would say what I mentioned before. A lot of people don’t know I ride horses. I’ve been doing that since before I could walk. My dad got me into it, and my mom got my dad into it. Every time I get a chance during winter breaks and spring breaks, I go on rides. It helps take my mind off baseball. It’s also good to do something else beside baseball. It’s good to get your muscles moving in a different pattern.

10. What’s the key for this team to go all the way?

I think just sticking to what we know. We worked so hard this offseason. I don’t think I’ve been on a team with this type of bond. So just come together like we know how, and not lose our fight because we are a very tough team. Believe in ourselves and the guy next to us, like a family.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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