Josh Jung (pronounced like Young) was drafted 8th overall by the Texas Rangers out of Texas Tech earlier this June in the MLB Draft. He played third base for his first two seasons in Lubbock and moved over to shortstop this season. With Jung on the squad, the Red Raiders have made the trip north to Omaha for the College World Series for three straight seasons.
As a freshman, Jung was Big 12 Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American. He also was All-Big 12 Second Team. For his sophomore season, he hit .392 with 12 homers and 80 RBIs and was All-Big 12 First Team and an All-American.
The honors parade continued for Jung this past season. He was named Big 12 Co-Player of the Year and an All-American by Baseball America. He also won the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award, which honors the top Division 1 player from Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Why am I writing about a college baseball player who might not ever make the Major Leagues, or at the very least will spend a few years playing Minor League baseball in exotic places like Hickory, North Carolina or Frisco, Texas?
Jung has one of the most unique batting traditions I’ve ever seen. He talks to his bat after each pitch, but Jung has kept it a secret what he’s saying to his bat.
His teammates don’t know either, but it looks like he’s saying, “Let’s get a hit.” It has me puzzled what he’s actually saying though because I can’t believe it’s that simple.
I wanted to throw out a few ideas of my own because I think it’s crazier than it seems. I also think that it probably changes depending upon the situation. I’d love to hear yours, so send me your thoughts on Twitter @mrdavidgraf.
If it’s his first at-bat of the game, I have to believe he’s saying, “Hit man gets paid.” Haha ok. I know he’s not Kawhi Leonard, but congratulations to the Raptors on winning their first NBA title.
Seriously, for his first AB, it has to be, “Let’s get this party started.” There’s nothing like throwback Black Eyed Peas that gets people going.
During his at-bats in Omaha, I bet he’s saying, “Extra bases, or let’s be prepared to sweat.” It’s no secret that Omaha’s summer humidity is killer, so someone who has made three straight summer trips to Omaha is probably familiar with that.
If there’s a guy in scoring position, he’s probably saying, “Just tap it into the gap.” I don’t know if Jung is a big Sandler fan, but Netflix released the first relatively funny Adam Sandler movie in a long time this past Friday. Happy Gilmore is also one of the classic comedy films for our generation, so I have to imagine that he’s tried to hit a baseball long like Happy did regularly in the film.
When he’s up with the winning run in scoring position, he has to be telling his bat, “A hit here gets us laid tonight.” Texas Tech football hasn’t been the same since Mike Leach left, so I have to assume that baseball has to have risen to the second biggest show in town after making the College World Series four out of the last six years.
Against the Arkansas Razorbacks, he’ll probably be saying, “Do we really want to spend the rest of the summer in Spokane?” Spokane is home to the Texas Rangers’ short-season Single-A team, so that’s probably where he’ll finish out the 2019 summer once his Red Raider tenure ends.
Texas Tech lost their first game against Michigan and have to stave off elimination against the Hogs at 2 PM Eastern. If you’re able to duck out of work early or watch ESPN from your phone, pay attention to Jung as he tries to motivate himself and his bat to stay alive in the College World Series.