The Importance of Character
by Josh Spence

What qualities make up a good baseball player?  A good batting average, on base percentage, earned run average, someone that performs in the clutch?  Coaches and scouts alike drool over qualities such as these.  However, lately it has become quite obvious to me that coach Randy Mazey and his staff consider some other qualities equally important. 

The parent of one of the Pirate players recently told me an interesting story.  On a recent road trip with the team he said that he was approached randomly inside the team’s hotel.  The man that approached him mentioned that all weekend long he had been in an elevator full of baseball players.  He must have had pre-conceived ideas, or maybe some prior experiences that molded his thinking on how college athletes should behave.  But with the Pirates, the man said it was nothing but top-notch behavior: ”Yes, sir”, “Yes, ma’am” and "Thank you."  The man was very complimentary and needless to say very impressed.
On another recent trip I myself witnessed something pretty impressive.  While sitting in an airport waiting for our flight to arrive, one of the Pirates provided some much needed assistance.  There was a woman taking care of an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair.  The man had been moved into the seats in the waiting area, but now needed to get back in the wheelchair to board the flight.  The woman that was helping him managed to get him on his feet, but actually getting him in the chair proved a little more difficult.  Immediately Pirate pitcher Chris Powell hopped out of his chair and assisted the man into his wheelchair.  Sure it may have been a simple deed, but it just goes to show the high character possessed by the entire team.

The East Carolina baseball team is also consistently among the top performers in the classroom, not only at ECU, but in the conference.  Sure on field performance is what coaches and scouts look for.  But at ECU you have to have good character as well.

Josh Spence