April 21, 2014
Dan Olinger is in his fifth year with the Gopher baseball program. He is in his fourth year playing after redshirting his true freshman season. The native of Great Falls, Mont., has been in the lineup as a first baseman and designated hitter this year.
Q: Playing first base, have you had any good conversations with baserunners over the years?
A: Yeah, I’m a pretty talkative guy, so I talk to pretty much everybody. Occasionally I meet some really nice people. Occasionally not. I talked to a guy at Michigan. I told him I was going to get the next ball hit to me. He didn’t believe me, and then the next ball was hit to me. It’s always fun to be right.
Q: Heading into this season, you were coming back from an injury. What was that process like, and how nice was it to get back on the field?
A: It was a long process, still not complete. I kind of had some setbacks. It’s a thing that kind of tests your love for the game, because it’s a lot to go through just to play a game. I think after it was all said and done, it’s what I needed to do to be happy.
Q: What have been some of the highlights of your career so far as you go through your fifth year?
A: The highlights are just the guys you meet along the way. I’ve gotten to play with a ton of really, really great people and great baseball players, both on the Gophers and summer teams. Those are the highlights for sure. Getting to travel with the guys every weekend is a blast.
Q: A lot of the guys on this team are into the outdoors, hunting and fishing. You are in that group, correct?
A: Oh yeah. The first job I applied for was a job for a fishing company. I love to hunt. I love to fish. I like to camp and hike.
Q: There have to be lots of opportunities to do that in your home state.
A: That’s basically what we do in Montana. We go out and enjoy the outdoors. So it’s nice that there are guys on the team who also share that passion and I can talk to them about it. There are guys a lot more passionate than me about it, so it’s fun to pick their brains and hear what they have to say about it.
Q: Have you had fun helping run the team’s Instagram account?
A: Yeah, it is fun. I’m not as artsy with the photographs as I thought I would be. I feel like I keep taking the same pictures over and over again. But it’s been fun and interesting and kind of a chance to see that side of college baseball.
Q: Looking back on your decision to come to Minnesota, what are some of the best things that have come from that decision?
A: First and foremost, I’m going to get a degree from an awesome university. That’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m going to play four years for a coaching staff that has forgotten more about baseball than I’ll ever know. It’s just been an incredible, incredible place to be. I learned more about baseball. I learned more about how to be a man and how to take of myself and take care of my responsibilities.
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