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Q&A with Craig Hansen

St. John's product chats about college years

Posted: Tuesday July 11, 2006 10:27AM; Updated: Tuesday July 11, 2006 12:04PM
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By Matthew Waxman

In the Red Sox locker room, camouflage is the fashion statement of choice. "Hey, flamethrower" says David Ortiz, as he flings a starched camouflage ball cap with "PAPI" stitched across the front to Jonathan Papelbon, who is already wearing a camo T. Mike Timlin, a.k.a. the scariest man alive, with a grunt, Frisbees a cellophane-wrapped camouflage Under Armour shirt across the room to Boston rookie stud Craig Hansen, who immediately tears open the present and Sharpies "CH 56" on the label. It's hard to believe that only a year ago, Hansen was toiling away as a junior at St. John's in Queens, N.Y., and now he is a full-fledged member of the Red Sox' first-place army. SIOC caught up with Hansen at his locker before a recent Phillies game to chat about his college days of not-so-yore.

With a fastball in the mid-90s, Hansen is averaging over a strikeout per inning this season for Boston.
With a fastball in the mid-90s, Hansen is averaging over a strikeout per inning this season for Boston.

SI on Campus: Were you studious in college or were you focused pretty much solely on baseball?

Craig Hansen: Doing schoolwork was basically part of the deal [to play baseball], but when I got there I made the best of it.

SIOC: Did you make it a priority to attend classes?

Hansen: When it was sunny out. When it was raining, I didn't want to get wet. When it was snowing, I didn't want to go to class.

SIOC: So we take it you weren't on the honor role?

Hansen: (laughing) No, I was a straight-A student.

SIOC: Did you declare a major?

Hansen: Hospitality management.

[Manny Delcarmen, whose locker is adjacent to Hansen's, hears this and starts laughing.]

Hansen: What are you laughing at? What did you major in?

Delcarmen: (sheepish) I didn't go to college.

Hansen: I thought hospitality management would be good if I wanted to work in the restaurant business.

SIOC: Do you miss being in school?

Hansen: College was a lot tougher [than the pros] because you had to worry about things like paying your apartment rent. My friends and I lived off campus every year, and when it was snowing out we would walk around Queens and shovel people's driveways to make money. And in college you had to worry about schoolwork and (laughing) doing the homework of the kids who pay you to do it.

SIOC: With all this shoveling and studying, was there time for any leisure activities?

Hansen: We played beer games. We played beer pong, but (laughing) we played with water. I miss the partying.

SIOC: We imagine you were nasty at Beirut. How about your off-campus pad -- was it Cribs-worthy?

Hansen: We tried to keep it intact most of the time, but we were in college so there were some broken windows here and there. We stained our hardwood floors with Miller Lite. And we had those little pine trees that you see in taxi cabs hanging all over the place, so it smelled like old beer and pine trees.

SIOC: Sounds like Christmas at Grandpa's. The girls must have been lined up to come inside.

Hansen: Oh, yeah. They loved it.

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