Good Sports: Bruin Cody Decker
Baseball is better in blue
Published Jan 1, 2008 8:00 AM
Cody Decker, the incumbent UCLA first baseman, has been up since 5:45. He's already completed his daily weight-lifting/conditioning session and taken some hacks in the cage. The history major still has to finish a paper on colonial Latin America before his next class. Later, he'll return to Jackie Robinson Stadium for practice.
He's a little worn, but his energy surges when he starts talking about becoming a Bruin — despite being born a Trojan.
“It looked like for a while I was going to go to USC,” he said, with his “big USC family” pushing him across town. “(But) I didn’t like what USC was telling me, they weren’t really honest with me.”
Things went a lot better in Westwood, though. “UCLA was very honest with me,” the slugger says. Going to UCLA “was the best decision I could have possibly made. I love it here and I really like playing against USC.”
And we like watching him. Last season the 5-11, 230 lbs. slugger homered in all three games at USC, batting 7 for 13 with 10 RBIs as the Bruins swept the series. Decker hit .307 last year while leading the Bruins with 14 round-trippers. And he’s a baseball player, so inevitably, he’s got his superstitions. “I have a very strict routine when I go to the plate,” Decker explains of the twitch-and-stretch choreography he performs before entering the batters box. “I do the same thing every time and I will never stop.” He’s a “clear my mind and hack” kind of hitter, he admits, and the rite is how he focuses at the plate.
In 2007, UCLA advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals, but Decker thinks the club should have gone deeper into the playoffs. “It was actually the most unsatisfying ending to our season possible,” he sighs. But “I think we’re a better ball club now than we were last year.” Decker adds. “We’re jelling together really well, everyone is playing hard. In scrimmages we’ve got guys sliding hard into bags, diving for balls, going into walls. I think it’s really going to pay off going in to the season.”