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Up to the challenge

The Baltimore Sun

The Calvert Hall baseball team is stockpiled with talent, but shortstop Patrick Blair might be the best overall prospect with the Cardinals. The junior has already garnered interest from Maryland, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina and LSU. Blair, a first-team All-Metro selection last year, carries a 3.6 grade point average and scored 1,620 on the SAT. He's also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Calvert Hall and plays for the Oriolelanders fall showcase scout team. After college, he hopes to play professionally. If not, he would happily own his own business and start a family.

When did you first pick up a baseball glove?

I probably started when I was 3 or 4, throwing the ball around with my dad in the backyard. I started organized when I was 5. They got me in there early. What's your favorite part about being a shortstop?

It's a challenging position, and I like to have that challenge. I see it as catcher, shortstop and center field are kind of the leaders of the defense.

What did you think when Baseball America named you guys the No. 1 team in the country?

I think it was a surprise, more. Obviously it was a great honor, but to not have a great showing in California kind of was a little discouraging. Even though we still have a great team, it was kind of a surprise to us. We enjoyed it while it lasted.

What's your favorite part about playing baseball?

I'd say the competitive nature. It's also a mentally tough game. You have to stay mentally tough throughout. You'll go 0-for-your-last 15, and then the next day you'll be on a tear, so that's what I love.

What are your thoughts on the steroid controversy in the major leagues?

It was a surprise to me because a lot of my favorite players were obviously on steroids, but I think this is the start of a new era, where it's going to be now, not the home run hitters but more of the average-type hitters. The smaller guys are going to shine.

Explain the FCA and why you joined it.

We meet every Thursday and it's like a group study. It's a lot of the athletes at Calvert Hall, and we come in and kind of talk about God and Jesus and the path that he wants us to go on and talk about life outside of school and the decision-making process. Being a Catholic athlete, I felt like I needed to take my faith to the next level and thought that this was a good way to do it.

What's it like playing with the Oriolelanders?

[Coach] Dean Albany is a great guy, he's got a lot of connections, so that's mainly why I did it. It's out of the best kids around Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, so you get to meet up with a lot of new kids, and it's a fun experience. You travel all over the place and get to see colleges; a lot of college scouts are there, so it's a lot of fun.

What songs do you listen to before a game?

"Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2 and what's that song by Rick Ross? Oh, "Push it to the Limit." That kind of gets you pumped up and ready for a game.

If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring three things, what would they be?

I'd probably bring my iPod; that's a necessity. I'd probably bring Eva Longoria; very, very good necessity. I would bring my glove ... I gotta say my glove (laughs).

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