May 2, 2011
by Jon Cooper
From 2003 through 2005, Tyler Greene upheld the tradition of outstanding Georgia Tech shortstops.
Greene started at short from the day he walked onto The Flats to the day he was drafted in the first round of the 2005 June Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. In his 186 games over three years as a Yellow Jacket, he compiled 242 hits and a career .321 batting average. Greene was the team’s captain during the 2005 season, That year, he hit a career-best .372, was named a First-Team All-American, a First-Team All-ACC selection and ACC Tournament MVP on the Jackets’ Conference Tournament champion.
Sting Daily caught up with Greene while the Cardinals were in town to play the Atlanta Braves over the weekend — coincidentally, Greene was drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 2002 June Draft, 65th overall, one pick after Atlanta selected Brian McCann at No. 64 — but instead chose to come to Georgia Tech.
He talked about making it to the Majors, playing with the Jackets at Turner Field and what Georgia Tech Head Coach Danny Hall and Cardinals teammate Albert Pujols have in common.
Sting Daily: You’re off to a great start this year. What’s been working well for you?
Tyler Greene: I made the team out of camp and have been playing well since the start of the season, making contributions when I get a chance to. I think playing winter ball (in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela) helped a lot. There was an opportunity to get some at-bats, some live-game at-bats and some great game experience, being down there for the playoffs with the crowds and the atmosphere. It was real intense down there so I think it gets you that much more locked in earlier and kind of progressing through Spring Training I was ready to go right out of the gate.
SD: You played some outfield. What was that like?
Greene: It was something I hadn’t played since high school, so it had been a while. It was an easy transition. I’ve been enjoying out there because you actually have some time to kind of figure out your routs before you take off. You have a chance to see the ball a little longer before you make a decision.
SD: How has it been playing with the likes of Albert Pujols and so many other pros?
Greene: It’s great. You’re at the top level of what you do. You’ve got guys that know what they’re doing, they have the right mindset, a great work ethic, guys that have been really successful at this level. You try to watch them and see what makes them different, what makes them stand out from everybody else. You just pay attention and try to learn as much as possible.
SD: Was it difficult having to forego wearing your usual No. 5 when you got to St. Louis (Pujols wears 5)?
Greene: (laughs) That was something that wasn’t going to be in my hands. But I ended up getting 27. I laugh because my high school number was 17. That’s my birthday (he’ll turn 28 on August 17) and that’s kind of the number I’ve always wanted. But Coach Hall’s got it at Tech and it’s retired here (to honor Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean). So I think I’ve had it one time in high school and I had it one time in Low-A and that’s it. I haven’t been too successful in getting that number. At least my current number has got a seven in there. It’s close enough.
SD: How close do you follow Georgia Tech baseball?
Greene: Close. I still keep up. I talked with Coach Hall on Friday. I was hoping to get a chance to see those guys this weekend but I know that they’re at Clemson playing. I keep up, see how they’re doing. I usually see Coach Hall and the coaching staff once or twice a year. I try to stick around as much as I can because I live down in South Florida right now so it’s tough to get back up here at times.
SD: What are your thoughts on his approaching 300 ACC victories?
Greene: That’s great. He’s a great coach. He helped me a lot while I was there and he’s definitely deserving of all the limits he’s reaching. He knows what he’s doing and he does a great job.
SD: What do you remember about the Spring Classic for Kids?
Greene: I don’t know if the record still holds, but I think we broke a record one year. We had like 28- or 29,000 people. [Cardinals teammate Mitchell Boggs] was on that Georgia team. I think it was ’04 or ’05. We bust teach other’s chops all the time about that.
SD: You had it pretty good until last week when Tech’s five-game series winning streak over Georgia was snapped.
Greene: I know. That’s alright. Two out of three is good.