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Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Cubs mailbag: Mike Olt

By Jesse Rogers

CHICAGO -- Cubs third baseman Mike Olt answers your questions in this edition of ESPNChicago.com's Cubs mailbag:

Mike, congrats on your first HR. I too had a vision problem for a time many years ago in high school and I had kept it to myself. Once I had my vision corrected it actually took a while to readjust to seeing so clearly and it actually (for a very short time) hindered my at-bats. When your vision problems were fixed, did it take you a bit to readjust to actually seeing well? I know it sounds weird, but it was my experience. Again, congrats and good luck this season. -- Bucky (Phoenix City, Ala.)
Mike Olt:
It was more right away. It just became getting my timing back but as far as seeing the ball, I saw it better right away. It was a 180-degree turn.

Mike Olt
Mike Olt speaks to power hitting, overcoming vision issues and more in the Cubs mailbag.
What were you experiencing when playing when you were having vision problems and how are you fully recovered now? -- Ed (Dixon)
MO:
At the plate, just blinking once it took me a while to re-focus my eye. And it became an issue in the field -- just picking up the ball was hard. That’s when I knew we had to take some action.

Hey Mike, welcome to Chicago! What type of music do you listen to prior to games? -- James (Romeoville)
MO:
I like everything. Depends on the mood of the day. Nice summer day I could do country. On a cold day it might be hip hop or something to get me going a little bit to get the blood flowing. I can do anything. I don’t get to choose the clubhouse music. I’m a rookie so I stay away.

Hey Mike, First of all, congrats on making the team! We're super excited to have you in our lineup. As a power hitter, is it possible to narrow your line of vision to certain areas of the strike zone and only swing at those pitches? Is that your approach? Thanks and good luck! -- William (Eau Claire, Wis.)
MO:
You always want to look for one spot early in the count, and when you get two strikes you try and expand it a little bit and put the ball in play.

Thanks for agreeing to take questions Mike. Cubs Nation is glad to see you make the team and we are all hopeful that you will be a staple in our lineup at the hot corner for years to come. Given how high up on many prospect rankings you were in 2012, and how badly you were effected by your injuries last season, what is your personal goal for this season? I always feel that part of being a professional in your field is having realistic expectations. I would love to hear you say .300/.400/.500, but in being honest with yourself, what would make 2014 a successful season for you personally? -- Joe (Chicago)
MO:
I guess to get back to where I left off in 2012. I want to get back to being an aggressive hitter. Someone that can do damage in any count. It’s not about numbers it’s about getting better. It sounds cliché but that’s how I measure myself.

Growing up, and even today, what players do you try to model your game after? -- Michael (West Lafayette, Ind.)
MO:
Being from Connecticut I would watch Derek Jeter. Half of us were Red Sox fans, half Yankees fans. Every player would probably say him but it’s really true. Just the way he goes about the game and the way he is as a person. I try to model myself after that.

Since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have taken over the Cubs, fans have heard a lot more about player development at the minor and major league levels and making sure players are hitting development goals along the way. Do you notice anything different in the Cubs way of doing things then you have seen or know of from other organizations, and how do the Cubs prepare players socially and philanthropically for what lies ahead? -- Jay (Chicago)
MO:
They do a good job of letting us go about our business. It helps us as players because we feel obligated and push each other rather than if we’re forced to do it in certain ways. They aren’t coddling us at all. It’s a professional environment.

Do you guys ever wonder what it would feel like to win the World Series for the Cubs? -- Ryan (San Diego)
MO:
I noticed it even when I came up for the convention. I had grandparents telling me, ‘Please just win the World Series.' You could almost see them breaking down in tears. Just seeing that, it’s going to be special when we do come around and become contenders.

What's the first thing you did after finding out you'd officially made the Cubs' major league roster? -- Chris (Cincinnati)
MO:
I called my parents and let them know. My phone was going crazy all day. To be honest with you, I went to Chili’s. I love chips and dip and watching games. I went there and kind of relaxed.