Kyle Ruchim, a 39th round draft pick by St. Louis Cardinals, spoke to Redbird Rants on June 10th.
Ruchim pitched and played in the infield with the Northwestern Wildcats,
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Daniel Solzman: Kyle, thanks for joining Redbird Rants today. How are things treating you?
Kyle Ruchim: It’s been a great process, actually. I’ve been dealing with Charles Peterson, one of the area scouts whose super informative. I’m excited to join the organization.
Daniel Solzman: Can you describe what it felt like when you were drafted during the 39th of the draft?
Kyle Ruchim: I think I wasn’t sure about lot of any—I was an injured player. I didn’t play all season in college. This was a team that showed a lot of interest in me last year as a junior. I’m fortunate that they took a shot on me.
Daniel Solzman: When did you find out that the Cardinals were interested in you?
Kyle Ruchim: I heard from one of the Midwest scouts last season probably before spring season started when I was a junior. Then I heard from Charles this spring. Late in the game when it got close to the drafting, they decided even with the injury, they’d still consider taking me. Sure enough, they did.
Daniel Solzman: What’s the reaction been like on Twitter and social media since the draft?
Kyle Ruchim: I think I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary. Just lot of shout outs from my friends and family. Just new followers or whatever, people related to the Cardinals organization. I think it’s overall a little bit more attention, which I’m not necessarily always looking for but definitely (inaudible) with the big news.
Daniel Solzman: What did you do during the last week to take your mind off the draft?
Kyle Ruchim: I didn’t try to keep my mind on the draft . It’s more just place my focus on what’s ahead and see how I can make this best experience for me and most productive.
Daniel Solzman: You were injured for most of the season, of course. What was the decision process going to be like with regards to signing with the Cardinals or electing to return for your final season of eligibility?
Kyle Ruchim: I would say the one main reason was the strength of the organization. This is the best franchise in baseball and to be able to join that is such a privilege. I couldn’t pass that up.
Daniel Solzman: Now on that note, your Twitter picture has you wearing a Cubs shirt.
Kyle Ruchim: Yep.
Daniel Solzman: Have you reached out to Michael Wacha at all because he grew up a Cubs fan.
Kyle Ruchim: I haven’t. I didn’t know that. Listen, as I told my Northwestern school reporters that asked me a good question about that the other day—growing up a Cubs fan, I’ve had a first-hand look at how good the Cardinals organization is and beating up on us all the time, I think being able to play for any team is not going to be the (inaudible) change hearts. It happens that Cubs fans have tough times so it’s rewarding to me as a fan.
Daniel Solzman: My brother grew up a Cubs fan and switched to the Cardinals as he had enrolled at SLU right before the 2004 World Series run. Of course, I’ve been a Cards fan as long as I can remember.
Kyle Ruchim: Yeah.
Daniel Solzman: How has Northwestern coach Paul Stevens helped in preparing you ready for the next level?
Kyle Ruchim: I think he showed a lot of confidence in me. He always motivated me to want to play professionally. He’s always allowed me to try and what I need to do to improve each year. Particularly in this process, he’s been treating me almost like my dad—just wanting what was best for me. This is an organization is probably my best opportunity to go and play.
Daniel Solzman: Is there a coach, veteran, or Hall of Famer that you are really looking forward to meeting during Spring Training next year?
Kyle Ruchim: I don’t know if I’ll get the chance during next Spring Training but sometime in the future, I’d like to—a Cardinal or really just a big league that I want model myself after—Matt Carpenter. If I can ever get a chance to sit down and talk to him, even briefly talk to him, ask him what it takes to get there and what’s made him successful, that would be such a privilege.
Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Kyle Ruchim: As an infielder, Jeter is an easy choice. I don’t know if I really have favorite growing up. I remember, as I look back on my childhood, going to watch Sammy Sosa play but I can’t say that he’s my role model. I remember him going out to right field and getting the crowd going. That’s probably the image I have of going to Cubs games as a child.
Daniel Solzman: What is something that Cardinals fans should know about you?
Kyle Ruchim: Tough. I’d say I’m a family guy. My family is the support system I have. I am what I am today because of them.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining us and best of luck as your make your up through the organization. Any words for the best fans in baseball?
Kyle Ruchim: Go Cards!