Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sporting News Article on Todd Cunningham

Psyche 101 Jacksonville State's Todd Cunningham
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Posted By Michael Huang 9:37 AM
It is nearly 9 p.m. In the distance, even from a cell phone, the rythmic ping of an aluminum bat gives away where Jacksonville State outfielder Todd Cunningham is doing this interview.

"Yeah, [Kyle] Bluestein's in the cage," Cunningham says. "We do this a lot. He'll pitch BP to me and I'll do the same for him. He works hard. We've kind of become cage buddies; it helps to have someone who works with you so we can get more reps."

The late-night BP underscores Cunningham's work ethic. He understands that when compared to other elite college baseball players, Cunningham will have to outwork them. It hasn't stopped the preseason All-American from putting up big numbers is 2010. Through today, Cunningham was hitting .355 with eight homers and 30 RBI, going 18-of-20 in stolen bases.

"Coming from a smaller school like Jacksonville State, there's an underdog approach that makes you work harder in order to succeed," Cunningham said.

But Cunningham admittedly does it with his brain more than brawn. An enthusiastic psychology major, his dad is a children's counselor and psychology major, too. Naturally, Cunningham enjoys taking a cerebral angle to baseball. No he's not out in centerfield imagining Rorschach blots, but he is acutely aware of the little things that help a player be successful, something he observed while in the wood bat Cape Cod League last year. Cunningham led the Cape in hitting at a .378 clip playing for Falmouth and was named to the league's all-star team.

"Being at the Cape allowed me to play with all these great players from all over the country, so it was an eye opener," Cunningham said. "But the difference I saw between the guys who were successful and unsuccessful was not the tools. It was the mental toughness."

And to that end, the psyche major believes that is his greatest strength. As a high school senior pro scouts did not even give Cunningham a sniff.

"If they were there, it's news to me," Cunningham laughed. "The did a good job of hiding, I'll tell you that. But I don't consider myself toolsy at all. I have to work at it. I'm not able to go out there without practicing and just drop bombs, run a 6.2 60 [yard dash] or throw 95 from the outfield. I'm just not good enough to do that. But the ability to put it all together and work through struggles, to put together good at-bats or move runners over, that's my strength."

As for the draft, Cunningham is on a lot of teams' short lists. Sporting News' fourth mock draft has him going to Colorado at No. 25. One NL West scout said he considered Cunningham signable in a draft where signability is curiously growing into more and more of a concern.

"Look, I'm not even really thinking about the draft. Considering it career possibility isn't something I planned. It just sort of happened after I had the good showing in the Cape. I owe a lot of my success to other people I've worked with....It's about surrounding yourself with good players and good people."

1 comment:

  1. What is our status as to going FBS in football?
    I talked with Oval Jaynes about a month ago, and he left me thinking that nothing was for sure. With all the big name schools on our schedule in the future, I can't imagine we would not move forward, as we now have too much to lose by staying FCS. What is the Board's views, and what conference if any is looking at us?

    Joe Funderburg 74'