Stevenson Ranch resident Hunter Greene had just spent three days filming a day-in-the-life piece for MLB Network, hours studying for high school finals and an afternoon espousing anti-bullying at a speaking engagement in Compton.
A pitcher/shortstop at Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, he had a playoff game to get to in Redlands the following day.
Still, the UCLA signee graciously opened his home to his hometown newspaper.
On May 22, days before graduation and weeks before Monday’s MLB First-Year Player Draft, in which Greene is a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick, Greene discussed life in the public eye, a few of his favorite things and whether he feels he’d be missing out on the college experience by going pro.
Q: Since you appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated last month, have more people recognized you in public?
A: Oh definitely. … It’s been a lot of people. It’s been cool, though. I’ve enjoyed it. I probably sign 10 magazines every day.
Q: What’s the weirdest encounter you’ve had with a fan in public?
A: I went to lunch with my mom like a week ago, and there was someone with a magazine there, and it was weird because they had no idea I was going to be there. At least, I don’t think so.
Q: For those of us who don’t throw 100 miles per hour, what does it feel like when a fastball leaves your hand at such a velocity?
A: It’s effortless. It’s easy. I never throw 110 or 120 percent. Everything is pretty easy. I train for that too with my bullpens. It’s effortless. It feels good.
Q: Who’s your favorite current big leaguer?
A: I’d say Andrelton Simmons. He’s pretty fun to watch (at shortstop) with the Angles.
Q: Who’s your all-time favorite player?
A: I’d say Rafael Furcal. I loved watching him play shortstop for the Dodgers. I used to sit third-base side sometimes with my dad, and he’d be at shortstop, and he’d run in the five-six hole and come up and hose a guy at first. That was pretty cool.
Q: If you weren’t pursuing baseball, what would you be doing?
A: I’d want to be like an R&B rap singer. I love music. I go to a lot of concerts. I like to have an intimate connection with the singer or rapper or whatever, so I like to go to a lot of concerts.
Q: Do you have a good voice?
A: No. But if I did have that gift like baseball, I’d like to pursue that.
Q: What’s the last concert you’ve been to?
A: I went to Coachella, so I saw Kendrick Lamar. I saw A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane.
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge to balancing life as a teenager and baseball star?
A: Going to Notre Dame, it’s a lot more rigorous than a lot of public schools. So it’s a lot of homework. I’m in finals right now, so I’ve been studying all day for the last couple days and over the weekend nonstop. Whereas, I see a lot of other people on my Snapchat or Instagram going out and messing around or doing whatever even though they are in finals. It’s a full-time job for school.
Q: What’s your favorite memory of playing youth baseball at the Hart complex?
A: It’s those really, really cold days. Remember those packets you put in your hands and shake them up. And then the chili cheese fries are by far the best. I don’t know if they still serve them there. I hope they do.
Q: Sticking with junk food, what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
A: Carmel cookie crunch Talenti ice cream. It’s like gelato.
Q: Getting ready for your last high school baseball season, with all the possibilities that loomed at the end of it, did you worry at all about getting hurt?
A: It’s always something I think about just because I’m throwing so hard, and I have a lot going on (Greene later added, “That’s why I always take care of my arm and I don’t shortcut my routine”).
Q: You said you’re going to the MLB Network studios for the draft on Monday, why’d you decide to experience the big night in person?
A: I think it’s important, especially for high school guys, to be able to experience that. After you get drafted, it’s really time to go to work. All that press and social media stuff kind of goes away, and it’s just time to go work out and you’re in the middle of nowhere where there’s not a lot going on and you just have to start your career and stuff. To be able to enjoy that last real cool moment before entering the big leagues is important.
Q: What can you do, if anything, to prepare for life in the minors?
A: Doing your laundry and cooking for yourself and just being able to be independent and practicing that stuff before heading out is important. I don’t have my license yet, but driving and stuff like that is important.
Q: Have you just not had time to get your license?
A: The time has been really difficult. I’m just going to wait till I’m 18 so I can go and take the test, because the permit stuff, and being younger than 18, you have to go through a whole online course that takes forever. So I might as well just go and take it when I’m 18. That’s in August so that’s pretty soon.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in the last year?
A: You’re never as good as they tell you, and you’re never as bad as they tell you you are. I like that quote. It’s actually from Dave Roberts, (the manager) of the Dodgers.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “Step Brothers.” Funny as hell.
Q: If you sign with a pro team, what’s the first thing you’ll buy?
A: I want to pay the house off. That’s something we’ve talked about as a family just so I always have a place to live and my family always does.
Q: Any hobbies outside of baseball?
A: I love drawing. I’m in an AP art class at Notre Dame. I love doing paintings and stuff like that, doing my own remixes on album covers.
Q: When did you first think, ‘I could be really good at this?’
A: I committed to UCLA before playing on the field my freshman year, so I knew I had that intact: I was good enough to go play in college. When I knew Major League Baseball was an option was after my sophomore year because I was throwing 92 to 93, touching 94 here and there. … After (games, scouts would) come and say, ‘What’s your name? What school do you go to? Do you want to play Major League Baseball?’ That’s when I started to figure it out a little bit.
Q: If you sign, do you feel like you’ll be missing out on the college experience?
A: I think anybody would. That’s definitely a great experience you have to have, and I want to do that after my career, if I do decide to play pro first. I might not get invited to all the parties because I’ll be like 40 years old or something like that.