A Few Questions With Mike Zunino

The Mariners No. 1 draft pick Mike Zunino was introduced to the media today in a news conference at Safeco Field.

Here are some video highlights from his introductory news conference:

Mike also took some time to answer fan questions as part of Twitter Tuesday. You can get a glimpse of some of the questions he answered via the hashtag #AskZunino.

We also had a chance to catch up with Mike ask him a few questions for the blog…

Any significance behind wearing #3?
Actually, it was just a number I wore growing up and I kind of stuck with it. When I got to high school, a pretty good player named Casey Coleman (who pitches for the Chicago Cubs)  wore #3 already, so I ended up taking #17. When I got to Florida, #17 was taken, so I went back to #3.

You’ve won a lot of awards lately, which one may end up on your mantle in 20-30 years?
Oh man, the Johnny Bench Award is probably the one that is most special to me because it is just for catchers. But, I like all of them. Maybe I’ll just have to get a bigger mantel.

What is the most memorable game of your college career?
There were a lot between the College World Series and all the SEC rivalries, but probably the Friday night game at LSU during my sophomore season. We were down 3-2 heading into the 9th inning and I hit a game-tying home run and we went on score a few more runs to win the game. We ended up sweeping the series, which is pretty tough to do at their stadium, and their fans gave us a standing ovation. It was unreal.

What is your favorite cereal?
Probably Captain Crunch…or maybe Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I love both.

Who is your favorite Mariner?
I would have to go with Ken Griffey Jr. I am a little young to remember his prime years, but me and all of my friends would always play his video game on Nintendo 64. We would copy his swing in the backyard. I hope I get to meet him sometime soon.

You’ve been in Seattle for a few days. What have some of your favorite sights been?
We ate dinner at the Space Needle, and that was pretty cool. I am really enjoying the weather so far. It is a nice break from all the humidity in Florida. Safeco Field is awesome, and my family said Pike Place Market was pretty cool. I hope to explore more of the city when I come back.

Do you wear a 2-piece catcher’s mask or the hockey-style mask?
I’ve always worn a 2-piece catcher’s mask. I guess I am just old-school. I’ve tried the other, but nothing feels better.

What will your first purchase be now that you are a professional baseball player?
A car, definitely a car. My fiancé and I are in a little debate whether to get a Tahoe or Expedition.

Who do you think you pattern your game after?
I would love to be compared to a guy like Yadier Molina, who is a true catch-and-throw catcher. I don’t know, maybe someone like Buster Posey. I pride myself on being an all-around baseball player.

Who is the pitcher you would like to face in the Majors?
I would love to face Jered Weaver. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to face him a few times a year as they are in the same division as Seattle. He is really good and fun to watch. It would be fun to get to catch Felix Hernandez. I am excited to watch him pitch tonight.

 Who was your favorite player growing up?
I really liked Jeff Conine when he was with the Marlins. My parents said he was the first player I got an autograph from, so maybe that is why.

Here are some additional video highlights of Zunino, including Mike accepting the Johnny Bench Award last week in Wichita:

– JE

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