Quick Hits With Steve Kleen, 1B
Steve Kleen played his college ball at Pepperdine.
Steve Kleen played his college ball at Pepperdine.
Kane County Correspondent
Posted Jun 20, 2006

Steve Kleen has had a stranglehold on the first base job for Kane County this season, appearing in 64 games. He has been a steady presence in the middle of the Cougars' line-up, hitting .278 with two homers and 33 RBI. He is carrying a .366 on-base percentage and a .372 slugging percentage into the All-Star break. Jennifer Harasek caught up with Kleen during the first half's final weekend.

Jennifer Harasek: Do you miss pitching?

Steve Kleen: No. I always liked hitting more than pitching.

JH: Was it a big adjustment to go from aluminum to wood bats?

SK: Yeah. It is a big adjustment, it's a different swing. In college you can get away with a longer swing, but in pro ball with a wood bat you have to have a shorter swing.

It is a big adjustment, and for some people it is pretty difficult.

JH: What's been the biggest difference between the Northwest and the Midwest Leagues?

SK: The strike zones are smaller, especially now that we have new umpires, and our park is a better hitter's park than in Vancouver.

JH: What are you looking to improve on this season at the plate? Defensively?

SK: Just consistency. I have really good streaks and then I follow them up right away with slumps, so I need to make sure I stay consistent.

Defensively, I just work on my defense every day and keep doing what I am doing.

JH: Who was your favorite player as a kid? Team?

SK: The Dodgers and Kirk Gibson.

JH: Do you prefer to hit in the middle of the order?

SK: Yes, anywhere from 3 to 6.

JH: How do you pass the time on road trips?

SK: We sleep most of the time, and we play darts and cards.

JH: What's the favorite card game in the clubhouse?

SK: It's called Casino. It's complicated but it's pretty fun.

JH: Where's the best hitter's park?

SK: Probably Lansing.

JH: What's the best part of being a professional baseball player?

SK: The fans. I think we get the most fan support.

JH: Do you have any pre-game superstitions?

SK: Nope.

JH: Describe your perfect off day.

SK: Since we are in Illinois, probably fishing.

JH: If you could take batting practice with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

SK: Babe Ruth.

JH: What are your goals for this season?

SK: I want to hit above .300. That is my goal.

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