He is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the Rays organization. Here is 22-year-old Jason Standridge on his future, faith, fears, phone bills, the vice president and the Crocodile Hunter.
RM: Does it scare you when people talk about expectations of you?
JS: Sometimes it's scary. But, I like that. I like the fact that they see me as a guy they are going to go to. If it happens like that in the future _ being the guy _ then that's great. That's part of being a competitor. You want the ball. Looking ahead is a neat thing. But I'm an impatient guy. Baseball has taught me a lot of patience, but I'm still impatient.
RM: What's something people don't know about you?
JS: I guess people out there don't know how much of a Christian I am. I think they will be surprised about that. I grew up in a great Christian family. I wear it on my sleeve, but I guess people out there don't know it. That's the most important thing to me. My faith outweighs everything, even baseball.
RM: Afraid of spiders?
JS: I don't like spiders. I really don't like spiders. I don't know why. They're creepy, man, real creepy. Snakes are fine, but spiders? They are small and you can't see them and they can be so dangerous. I'm not paranoid and I have never been bitten. But I never want to be.
RM: Does it matter to you that Dick Cheney has heart problems?
JS: You know what, it does matter to a certain extent. If something should happen to President Bush, God forbid, then Cheney's the guy. You want him to be healthy and you want him to be able to run the country, don't you?
RM: How many cars is too many?
JS: I only have one car. It's a GMC Yukon and I love it. You can only drive one at any one time. Who's to say what too much is? If some guys have four or five cars, it's not ridiculous. If they want to have cars and that's what they want to invest in, then that's fine. For me, I would never have more than two cars.
RM: Spare time?
JS: I talk to my girlfriend (Joy Dunn) on the phone.
RM: Where is she?
JS: Back home in Birmingham (Ala.), and it's tough having a long-distance relationship. We've been dating for a year and four months and it's tough. She did a great job last year with me being away and stuff like that. Sometimes, she'll call and she'll be crying and telling me, "I miss you!"
RM: Worst phone bill?
JS: My gosh, you're not going to believe this, but one time it was $800. Yeah, that was last year. That was ridiculous. We talked every day. I talked to her like four times a day sometimes, an average of at least three times a day.
RM: You're hooked, aren't you?
JS: I can admit that, no problem. The guys mess with me a lot and tell me that I'm already a married man. I can admit that I'm whipped. She's a great girl.
RM: Don't you think Tonto was jealous of the Lone Ranger?
JS: I don't know if he was jealous or not, or if he just looked up to him. Maybe he was jealous a little bit seeing that the Lone Ranger always got all the credit. You know the whole thing of "Who was that masked man?" You're right. He didn't get any props. But I just don't think he was jealous. I think he respected him and was glad to be his sidekick. I'm sure there were times when he said, "You know what? I did a lot today, and I didn't get anything for it."
RM: What about Robin? Batman always stole the limelight.
JS: But Robin admired Batman. Batman could do a lot more stuff than Robin. Robin had to realize that Batman was the man.
RM: What annoys you?
JS: When people drive with their blinkers on. It just drives me absolutely crazy. I just can't stand it. I think, "My gosh, what are they doing?" They got their blinkers on, and they're not turning for 10 miles and they're going 10 miles under the speed limit to top it off. The other thing that I can't stand is two-faced people.
RM: Creation or evolution?
JS: Evolution is strictly a man coming up with an explanation and trying to think like God. It says in the Bible that we can't comprehend what God can do. There's no way. That's what it's all about. I absolutely, 100 percent believe that there is no connection between the two. They say we think that this is what happened, but there's nothing to prove. They say they have proof of evolution, but that's a bunch of baloney.
RM: Is there anything you wonder about?
JS: I wonder, sometimes, how God can allow kids to be killed or die. My neighbor across the street, she was one of my teachers from high school, and she had a 5-year-old son and he got hit by a car in the neighborhood and died instantly. I wondered why. Why did that happen? That's something I'm going to ask (God) one of these days.
RM: Your nickname is Stallion?
JS: Yes, it is. I have to be careful how I answer this. It originated from a couple different things, but for most people it's because I work real hard, and I'm always moving, like a horse. We'll leave it at that.
RM: What's the deal with the Crocodile Hunter movie?
JS: Nobody knows about this, but me, my cousin, my brother and my best friend made a Crocodile Hunter (amateur) movie. It is the most hilarious thing you'll ever see. We made it last off-season in the woods back home (Birmingham), and I'm this creature called the Mongolian Stomper _ some Cro-Magnon man. My cousin (Shane Barnett) plays Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. They're hunting me. It's full of all kinds of crazy crap. I love that show, man. Some of the things that that guy does are crazy. Swimming around with those crocs? Picking up poisonous snakes? He's awesome.
RM: Man's greatest invention?
JS: The telephone, for obvious reasons. And air conditioning.