GRANVILLE, W.Va. – West Virginia Black Bears shortstop Ethan Paul joined the team later than most players after winning a National Championship with Vanderbilt this summer.
And it’s built him a solid fan base that pays attention to his success even though he’s no longer in Nashville.
Black Bears fans see the potential he has. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt fans are actively following his journey in the minors on social media.
“I think that just comes with the program itself, and how Coach Corbin runs it. Even the guys that leave the program, they’re celebrated by the fans, and former and current players. Yeah I definitely appreciate that a lot. And it goes a long way to know that former fans are keeping up with me and pulling for me. And it just makes you appreciate where you come from a lot more,” Paul said.
Paul debuted for the Black Bears on July 8, almost a full month after Opening Day of the 2019 New York-Penn League season. And even though he hasn’t been with the team that long – still less than a full month – he feels himself getting more comfortable.
“Just playing every day. I mean, even in college baseball and D-1 baseball you don’t play every single day. So you’ve got to carry that mindset and know that you’ve got to be able to flush things, and move past things quickly because you’ve got a game the next day. So that’s probably been the biggest adjustment so far,” Paul said.
And even now as he’s getting settled in at the top of the lineup in the batter’s box, and up the middle, defensively, he’s not concerned with any outside expectations.
“I don’t think I place any expectations on myself, personally. You have minute goals or things like that that you want to accomplish, or you want to check boxes off and develop as a player. But no I don’t have any real expectations for myself. I just want to continue to develop and and be the best version of myself,” he said.
One of the boxes Paul has already checked off is his first home run, which sailed into the Black Bears bullpen in just his eighth game in the minors.
The ball was sitting in his locker waiting for him after the game.