N.C. State All-American Carlos Rodon is the face of college baseball, a bulldog in throwback stirrups widely projected to be the first player taken in the June draft.
But there’s more to the junior from nearby Holly Springs than throwing 96-mph fastballs past college and international hitters.
There’s fishing, for instance. Baseball America doesn’t rank such tools, but it wouldn’t surprise anybody who knows him if Rodon has the best casting command in the country, too.
The Wolfpack’s ace recently sat down to discuss that and more, breaking into a smile after learning topics would include more than just the welfare of his wildly popular left arm.
“Great,” Rodon said, before rattling off questions he normally answers. “How’s your arm? How’s your slider? How’s your two-seamer? ...”
He had no idea, however, he’d spend so much time discussing Marlin (his prized clown fish), Jameis Winston (doesn’t really remember facing him), his dream position at N.C. State (keep reading) and his favorite fishing spot (you’d have better luck trying to hit his fastball than finding it).
But any conversation with Rodon starts with Omaha. Saturday, he and the Wolfpack will get another shot at defending College World Series champion UCLA, which helped eliminate the Wolfpack last June, one season’s ending fueling this season’s goals.
I don’t know how I get in that mode. I just change. And I just want to win so bad.
(Rodon takes out his phone and proudly shows off a photo of “Clammy,” his pet clam.)
I’ve had some really neat experiences with USA, and there’s nothing like it, when we played in Durham and had that great showing when we played Cuba. There’s some emotions there ... same thing with (facing) Japan.
I want to be on the list that we won the College World Series. That’s the list I want to be on.