Cole Lankford, a 27th round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2014 MLB Draft, spoke with Redbird Rants in November. Our apologies for not getting the transcript up in a timely manner.
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Daniel Solzman: Thanks for joining Redbird Rants today. How was the transition from college baseball to playing professionally with Johnson City?
Cole Lankford: It was different but at the same time, I think I learned a lot of stuff in college that helped me transition easily. The coaches and the players I was surrounded with at Johnson City were awesome so it made everything that much easier.
Daniel Solzman: Can you describe what it felt like when you found out that the Cardinals were selecting you in the 27th round of the draft?
Cole Lankford: I was speechless. It was a dream come true. I dreamed about it my whole life and I’ve never been so excited for it. It’s an awesome opportunity.
Daniel Solzman: When did you find out that the Cardinals were interested in selecting you?
Cole Lankford: I guess a couple weeks before the draft happened we had a pro day at A&M. I talked with Ralph Garr, Jr., the Texas area guy. He told me they were interested and from there, I guess it was all over. It was awesome. It was an unbelievable experience.
Daniel Solzman: What was the reaction like on Twitter and social media since the Cardinals drafted you?
Cole Lankford: Everyone was so nice and encouraging. Cardinal fans, obviously, you can tell are the best out there in congratulating me. It was an awesome experience.
Daniel Solzman: What did you do during the Draft week to take your mind off the draft?
Cole Lankford: I tried to do anything I could to keep my mind off it. I hung out with my family and friends and spent a lot of time with them. They usually helped get my mind off it.
Daniel Solzman: How has Texas A&M Aggies coach Rob Childress helped get you ready for the next level?
Cole Lankford: From the day I stepped on campus, he was trying to make me a better man and help me not just in baseball but off the field as well. I think that the transition into the baseball world being on your own. The way he molded me into the person I am today, I am forever thankful for that.
Daniel Solzman: Did you reach out to Michael Wacha upon learning the Cardinals drafted you?
Cole Lankford: Yeah, for sure. He told me congratulations. I guess he helped me a lot when I came to A&M. He’s an awesome guy. He’s real down to earth. He never forgets where he came from and he’s just an awesome dude.
Daniel Solzman: How honored were you to have been named to the SEC All-Defensive team following your sophomore season in 2013?
Cole Lankford: That was a pretty amazing thing. The other thing I have to thank my coaches for. I had never played at first base in my life. Going over there and working hard with me has paid off.
Daniel Solzman: You were drafted as a catcher but played this season mainly in the outfield. How was the transition from catching behind the plate and first base to playing in the outfield and other infield positions?
Cole Lankford: It was tough at first. The coaches we had at Johnson City were unbelievable. J-Rod and Chris Walker really worked with me as many days as I wanted to and they helped to become the best at that position I can be and for that period of time. They just…overboard what they did for me.
Daniel Solzman: The Cardinals’ Hall of Famers always make a visit to Jupiter during Spring Training. Is there anyone in particular that you are really looking forward to meeting?
Cole Lankford: None that I can say off the top of my head. I’m just honored to meet anyone from the Cardinals and guys that have done it before. You can learn from everyone and ask questions. It’s pretty cool.
Daniel Solzman: What’s something that you like to do for fun when you aren’t playing baseball?
Cole Lankford: Hunting for sure. I go every weekend in the fall.
Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Cole Lankford: My favorite player was Craig Biggio.
Daniel Solzman: What is something that Cardinals fans should know about you?
Cole Lankford: I love baseball. Love to have fun. Hopefully, I can help them win a division championship, minor league, major league, if possible.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining us and best of luck as your make your way up through the organization. Any words for the best fans in baseball?
Cole Lankford: Go Cards!