If I told you that Mike Seander was raised in Rhode Island, went to Duke on a baseball scholarship, was a freshman all-American closer before blowing out his elbow, and is preparing to use his final year of NCAA eligibility as a sports management grad student at Georgetown, I know what you'd be thinking: future rap star. Am I right?
"It's absurd," said Dan Capeless, a Hoyas teammate and part-time promoter for Seander, who raps under the name Mike Stud. "People are going nuts. DJs are screaming his name. Very outlandish."
You don't say. Before we get any further, might as well solicit a musical review from Seander's new coach, Georgetown's Pete Wilk.
"I think I'd rather clean my sock drawer," Wilk offered.
Very well. But look, 'tis the season of athletic hip-hop items in D.C. Just within the past week, Wizards rookie Kevin Seraphim rapped in Creole for reporters, and Redskins linebacker Chris Wilson released one of his tracks through Twitter. So when you find a kid named Mike Stud whose hiphop stylings are being played at Rhino and at Third Edition and at the school's Midnight Madness, you can't just ignore it.
"We know how outlandish it is," Seander recently told me before dropping some rhymes for a Washington Post videographer. "And the last thing I want people to think is that I'm trying to be something I'm not. I've been at Duke, go to Georgetown and play baseball, and none of the three are connected to rap or hiphop in any way, and I know that....But I honestly, I think it's good. I mean, I do. I think it's good."
So here's the quick story. Seander, a former Rhode Island high school player of the year, had a 1.61 ERA and 9 saves -- second-most in school history -- during his freshman year at Duke. Arm issues and subsequent Tommy John surgery submarined most of the next three years. Meanwhile, midway through his senior year, Seander and a few baseball friends started screwing around with recording equipment.
"I'm literally in a closet in one of our apartments with a Mac computer and a hundred dollar mic," he recalled.
The tracks were played at baseball parties and the like, and Seander just laughed when people told him he was good. Then, over the summer, he got a call from a Rhode Island R&B singer named Gerven, inviting him to be a part of a song that eventually earned some Providence radio plays. (See video below.)
"He has a cocky flow when he's rapping, but he's entertaining," Gerven told me this week. "To be honest, I see a future in music for him."
He didn't advertise himself to his new Georgetown teammates as a budding musician -- "I wasn't gonna be like, 'Hey, by the way, I'm a rapper,' he said -- but they heard his music, and many of them wanted to make this thing bigger. So they got his music to school DJs, and agreed to let him create some music for the team this spring, and talked enough that word filtered back to their coach.
"I just told the kid if he loses his focus on baseball, we're gonna have some issues," Wilk said. "If not, then have some fun."
That doesn't seem like it'll be a problem. Seander -- who will compete to be the Hoyas' closer this spring -- has significantly upgraded his equipment, and is constantly jotting down potential lyrics on his phone. He has a Web site -- www.MikeStudMusic.com -- and is planning a mixtape release in January or February. And he still gets a thrill when his stuff comes on at local bars.
"You look around and no one blinks an eye, and it's right in the mix of all the top 40 songs, all the songs people are dancing to," he told me. "It's awesome."