Over at Wichita State they are preparing to play baseball and not just for the upcoming Shocker season. To be one of the boys of summer there is work to be done in the winter. Koyie Hill and Kevin Hooper are Shockers, friends and pro baseball players. They have achieved their childhood dreams of playing in the big leagues.
"To walk in that stadium for the first time, it's kind of like you came here for the first time. You are overwhelmed and excited. There's so many emotions running through you. You walk out there, or run out there, on the field and play for the Dodgers, or now the Diamondbacks, it's a remarkable feeling," said Koyie Hill, catcher, Arizona Diamondbacks.
"I fought the odds all the way growing up and I'm still not the biggest guy around. But I work my tail off at what I do and it all paid off that day. It was July 4th and I got called to the big leagues. It was a special time for me, my family and friends," said Kevin Hooper, second baseman, Detroit Tigers.
Shocker baseball brought these two together. Even though pro ball took them their separate ways they still live in Wichita and team up in the off season.
"We know each other, we push each other and we don't let each other slip," said Hill. "We know that, if I have him watching my back and he has me watching his, were going to be right where we need to be going to spring."
"We go to the 'Y' and just hang out and lift together and crack jokes all the time then we end up going and taking to each other on the racquetball court," said Hooper. "It's fun because were so competitive."
To them, everything is a competition and whoever wins always lets the other one know.
"The last two days he's put it to me, like playing pig and stuff. He makes sure and lets me know about that all the time -- that he got me on the basketball court," said Hooper. "My deal is racquetball. This guy is good at racquetball so every chance I can get him on the racquetball court he's going to hear it from me, that's for sure."
"I think it's basically what he's saying, you know. Anytime that -- like he's a really good second baseman, short stop -- so when I'm out there turning double plays I'll ask him if he saw how good that was. So its just kind of what he does good and what I do good -- we do something where we get it over on them one time -- we let them know about it.
So they were together as Shockers, now they're together as friends and we'll hope to see "The Koyie" and "Hoop" together in the big leagues this spring.
Both Hill and Hooper played in the big leagues last year. They head to camp this year planning to make the opening-day roster -- Hill with Arizona and Hoop with the Detroit Tigers. Both are headed to big league camp next month.