1. So you are on the Cornell baseball team. Did you always know you wanted to play baseball in college?
Yeah. I’ve been hitting a baseball ever since I was in diapers. It’s kind of been my dream.
Do you come from a big baseball family?
No, actually. No one in my family played baseball. I’m the first.
Did you play any other sports in high school?
I played football, basketball, and baseball.
Oh wow. Big-time athlete. Were you recruited for football and baseball, too?
Yeah. I actually played football here, as well, my freshmen year. I played both freshmen year, and then I decided to just focus on baseball so that I can enter into the draft.
That’s awesome. So how exactly does the draft system work?
My parents and I are going to sit down and decide whether I’m going to enter this year or next year, depending on where I rank and everything like that. You start doing either rookie ball or Single A. And then you just gradually throughout the years move up and hopefully you get called up.
Do you have a specific team you want to play for?
I mean, I’m a Yankees fan so I’d love to be with the Yankees. But there are tons of different teams that are showing interest. Like the Boston Red Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates—
Go with the Pirates out of those two for sure, if you call yourself a true Yankee fan.
2. All right, so among the guys on the baseball and football teams here, your nickname is “Moose.” What’s that about?
During my freshman year on the football team we had a couple of guys, Tom Piselli and Alex Spooner (Mike Spooner’s brother—he’s also moose), and they basically started this craze of “being a moose” and there are so many different secrets behind it. The guys on the football and baseball teams will understand it.
No one else gets to know?
Just know that Paul Ostick (my great roommate freshmen year) and I are carrying on the tradition of “being a moose” both on and off the field.
You nicknamed your teammate Jerry Vitiello “the Hit Man.” Are we allowed to know about that nickname?
Well during batting practice and games Jerry would always just come in and whenever we needed it, he would just come in out of nowhere and get a pinch-hit. And he would always get hits. And it just became so often—he just kept coming in and getting hits, coming in and getting hits—that we named him the Hit Man. And things kind of escalated from there.
“Things kind of escalated”…as in you made a Facebook group about it?
Yeah (laughing). We started a Facebook group, but we forgot to actually close it off so the public couldn’t see it. So at Dartmouth last year, during the championship game, the Dartmouth fans were screaming at us, “Hey! We want to be part of the Hit Man’s Crew!”
And apparently you have a twitter?
Yeah everyone check out email@example.com.
3. You drive a very flashy car around campus. Do you want to tell us what kind of wheels you have?
Very fancy. So apparently freshman year, you had your high school football highlight tapes playing on the TV’s in it…?
Yeah. I have two TV’s in the back. And I had my high school highlight film because I brought it up just so I could look back on my glory days. I would always keep them in the back of my car just in case I needed a little boost. But I always got made fun of because all the guys from either football of baseball would always pop it in when we were driving and hit play and watch it. They’d always make fun of me in the backseat.
4. OK so one of your friends told us a very funny story about when you were at Applebee’s freshmen year. Do you want to explain that story?
(Laughing) So we were down in Florida and I was sitting with the juniors and the seniors on the team and pretty much the whole team was there. It was the first day we were back in Florida. And a group of girls walked in and sat down a few tables next to us. There were maybe six or eight girls. So all the guys are saying how we need to send someone over there, say a joke, get the ball rolling. And none of the freshmen were stepping up so I, being my goofy self, decided to take one for the team and went over there and I kind of butchered the joke.
What were you supposed to say?
Well, I was supposed to say, “Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice. Hi, I’m Jadd.”
But instead you said:
Instead I said, “Do you know how much ice weighs? A polar bear. Hi I’m Jadd.” I kind of messed that one up, but I still got the ball rolling for the rest of the guys.
5. So apparently you want your son to be the “Goddess of Baseball”?
(Laughing) Yeah, sometimes I don’t really think when I’m speaking. So we were talking in the locker room about how when we have kids, we’re going to start our son lifting as soon as he comes out of the womb. He’s going to be doing...like…band exercises for his shoulder with the umbilical cord. So I was like, “Yeah, when I have my son he’s going to be the Goddess of Baseball.”
A little gender confusion there?
Yeah (laughing). A little gender confusion.
6. Did you know that “Entourage” is not a reality show?
Ok, well, now I know that. At first I thought it was real. I thought the whole thing was real, but all of a sudden somebody broke the news to me.
When did this happen?
And how many seasons have we had?
I think there’ve been like five or six. So I’ve gone through this whole time thinking that “Entourage” was a true story. It was kind of a heartbreaker at first but I got over it. Disappointment, though.
7. I hear you have a very good definition of the word “persuasion.”
Define it for us.
It’s just confidence and swagger.
What did your teacher think of that when you said it in class?
She was just very impressed at how quickly I was able to answer the question. I was the first person in the class. I’ve got to give credit to my coach, Coach Walkenbach, because he kind of drilled that into us last year and this year — how we have to have confidence and swagger — so I just thought it was an appropriate definition.
8. What would you wear to a business-casual event?
(Laughing) This year, I wore sweats and my Kobe Bryant jersey.
Did you get a lot of grief for that?
Yeah, got a lot of grief for that. The parents from L.A. loved it. But the rest of the group—not so much. Normally, I always forget something at home. Freshmen year I lost my dress shoes, so I actually had to wear sneakers with khakis and a button down.
Yeah, I’ve forgotten my belt a bunch of times, too. I’m starting to get on the right track as I get older.
Well, you only have one year left so you might want to speed it up.
9. Are you a tennis fan? Because apparently you look like former tennis star Pete Sampras.
Yeah! Out in Hawaii this summer I got stopped to take a picture with somebody because they said I looked like Pete Sampras. Also when I was in Arizona with my brother, who just moved out there, we were trying to find a car for him. And the guy who was showing us cars was like, “I have to bring you into my office and show you something.” So we went into his office, he goes on Google and types in Pete Sampras, and brings up a picture that looks IDENTICAL to me.
I see it. Do you think you look like Pete Sampras?
So your girlfriend plays tennis at Cornell. Is it a coincidence that you look like a famous tennis player, or not?
Possibly. We haven’t really figured that one out yet. But if that’s what it took, then I guess I’m lucky I look like him.
Speaking of your girlfriend, is there a reason why she in particular might not be so happy about some of your superstitions on the days before games?
(Laughing) I have kind of a No-Fool-Around policy. I don’t know how it got into me but I just never do anything before a game. I just kind of stay concentrated on the game. And also not to weaken the legs.
And your other superstition is that you have to wear your Kobe Bryant jersey on game days?
Yeah. I’ll always try to put my Kobe Jersey on, even if it’s for like 10-15 minutes before I get on the bus or when I’m at home waiting to go over to the stadium.
Just chilling in your jersey?
Just chilling in my jersey trying to get the Kobe vibe.
10. Apparently you want to get a tattoo next year?
I want to but I’m probably not because my parents will kill me. I’m 21, and still live in the house, so I think I have to go with my parents’ rules. And I think it was kind of a phase and then I just got over it.
What was the tattoo going to be of?
It was actually going to be a Puerto Rican flag. I’m half Puerto Rican, half Austrian.
That’s a unique combination.
Yeah, when I was growing up, they called me “The Port-a-Jew.” So I was going to get the Puerto Rican flag and then the Star of David to replace the star on the flag. And then I was going to get the MLB logo outlined on the flag.
So essentially it was just going to be Jadd in tattoo form.
(Laughing) Yeah, it was pretty much going to be me: Jewish-Puerto Rican baseball player.
11. Which other Cornell sports team do you like to hang out with the most?
I think I would get in trouble if I didn’t say tennis, so I’m going to go with tennis. But I’m also going to give softball a shout-out because I’m very tight with them. They travel with us and a bunch of the guys are friends with all the girls. And we’re always hanging out whenever we can. We practice with them in the winter so it’s pretty much a tight-knit group.