When his academic days are over and his college degree secured, Thomas Lindauer eventually hopes to become a teacher and coach.|
In reality, the interview process starts in a few weeks.
Still a junior on the Illinois baseball team, Lindauer knows this is an important stretch in his playing career. Once this season ends, he is eligible to be selected in the Major League Baseball Draft in June since he will be three years removed from high school.
So the time is now for the 2010 Moline graduate to leave an impression with a potential employer.
"I've put a little bit of thinking into it," Lindauer said last week. "I'm hoping for the best."
Practice started last Monday as the Fighting Illini work toward their Feb. 15 opener at Tennessee Tech. Lindauer is slated to start at shortstop for a second consecutive year and hopes to improve his consistency to help Illinois reach the NCAA Tournament for a second time in three years.
Along the way to those goals, Lindauer knows some extra sets of eyes will be watching.
"I've been playing the game my whole life," Lindauer said. "Every day, people are watching. I want people to watch me and feel like, 'Man, that kid can play.' I'm looking to play my best every day. I just want to bring as much energy as I can to the field."
Lindauer admits to having a quiet presence on the field, using his defensive skills and hitting prowess to do the talking.How he approaches the game carries confidence, but there were holes he needed to fix in order to open more eyes.
One area was inside the batter's box. As a freshman, he constructed a .178 batting average in 73 at-bats as he was named to the All-Big Ten Conference Freshman Team. One season later, he increased his batting average by 100 points in 52 games.
Raising his batting average is another goal this season, as is getting more stolen bases. Lindauer also wants to improve his defensive range and arm strength.
All that, in his mind, can be done. It takes one thing for that to happen.
"To be more consistent," Lindauer said.
That approach will assist Lindauer in helping take the Illini where they want to go as well as taking him to where he wants to go.
Without hesitating, he said it's the majors.
"I have a preference on where I'd like to be drafted," Lindauer said without disclosing the round. "If I'm around there, I'd be happy to go to the next level. That's not up to me."
What's up to Lindauer is making sure his quote-unquote job interview goes well over the next four months.
"I'm excited. It's a nervous excitement," Lindauer said. "I'm the type of kid who likes to compete. You get that feeling and you're excited to see what happens."