The Orioles' constant search for a power-hitting first baseman or corner outfielder in the minors brought them to Jon Knott, who signed as a free agent after five seasons in the San Diego Padres' system. Knott, born in Manassas, Va., led all Triple-A players with 113 RBIs last season, but received only three September at-bats with the Padres. He attended Venice (Fla.) High and graduated from Mississippi State, the same school that produced former Orioles Rafael Palmeiro and Will Clark.
How does a guy drive in 113 runs and barely get a look in the majors? -- They [the Padres] were in the hunt, and at my positions, those guys were doing really well, so it was just one of those things. Wrong timing, I guess.
Do you focus better with the bases loaded, given that you hit .409 in those situations? -- Maybe so. Last year, it seemed like I had the bases loaded quite a bit, too. That was always nice, having those RBI opportunities.
Were the Orioles more appealing to you because their Triple-A team is in Norfolk, Va.? -- Not really. A big part of signing with the Orioles was being on this coast. I haven't played on this coast really at all. I'm living in Florida now, and that's where most of my family is. And the Orioles really had a need for right-handed bats when I was looking for a team.
What would you be doing if you weren't playing baseball? -- Probably something in investments, financial planning, something like that. I got my master's at Mississippi State, and this past offseason I got registered as a licensed broker. Probably something along those lines.
How big is the culture shock going from Florida to living in Starkville, Miss.? -- A big difference. It's a little tiny town. It was awesome, though. I loved it. Going away from home, it was, like, a 12-hour drive, so you weren't just going to go home for a long weekend or anything. But I loved every minute of it. It was a different experience. You could go there and still feel at home. It was like a big family. Every guy who played there, even if you didn't play with them, they were like part of your family. It was a really cool experience.