Ask the Owl BIG-Leaguer!

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The R Blog is offering Owl fans an inside chance to interview former Owl great and current Tampa Bay Ray  Jeff Niemann. The R Blog will be at Tropicana Field early next week to talk to Jeff, and the bulk of the questions will come from you, the readers. Simply post your questions here in the form of a comment, and we'll ask Jeff as many as time will permit. Think of it as a not-so-live chat with one of the top young pitchers in the American League. From his days at Rice to his time as a member of the Rays' rotation, ask away! We'll  sort through the questions to eliminate duplications, and we also reserve the right to toss out questions that we deem as either inappropriate or potentially hazardous to our health (remember, he's a BIG guy with a nasty heater!).

So call up your best sportswriter mojo, and post your questions.

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What pitch(s) to strike out Berkman (now that he's a Yankee)?

More nerve wracking, starting in the CWS championship against Stanford and facing Jeter, Rodriguez, Swisher et al?

1. How has your conditioning program changed after going pro?
2. Who are the toughest batters that you have faced?
3. What is the best advice you have received from coaches or veteran pitchers?
4. What is the toughest crowd you have ever pitched in front of?
5. How has your pitch selection changed since college?

This is a great idea...c'mon Owl fans, don't be so shy!

Here's my question(s): Jeff, all the discussion about the Texas pitching staff this spring and their place in history used the 2003 Owls staff as a benchmark. How does it feel to know the staff you were part of is still held in such high regard seven years later?

Jeff, there seems to be quite a few Rays who played college baseball. Do you guys follow your teams and have any smack talk going on?

What was it like to watch Matt Garza throw that no-hitter?

How did he feel the first time he pitched in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park?

Does he stay in touch with the other members of that special staff of 2003?

What is your favorite memory of Rice?

What is the most pitcher friendly major league park? Any place that is hard to pitch?

1. What was the most difficult adjustment to make from being a college player to a pro player -- both on the field and personally.

2. What advice would he give Rice recruits weighing a decison to sign professionally vs going to college?

Any pre-game rituals/superstitions each time before you pitch?

What did you learn from Wayne Graham/Rice baseball that still applies in the majors?

What goes through your mind when you see the 2003 CWS highlights and the Rice Owls' dogpile on the infield?

What are your favorite Wayne Graham sayings?

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