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Big 12 baseball Q&A: Analyst Jay Payton discusses Sooners' postseason chances, life in Oklahoma

Jay Payton isn't from Oklahoma, but the former major league outfielder has made it his adopted home, now living in Edmond. Payton signed on to be an analyst for Big 12 college baseball broadcasts this season, including a majority of the OU games.
by Anthony Slater Published: May 25, 2013
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Jay Payton isn't from Oklahoma, but the former major league outfielder has made it his adopted home.

After a great career at Georgia Tech and 12 years in the big leagues, Payton now lives in Edmond, moving there to be closer to his 8-year-old son.


And because of the geographic proximity and his baseball acumen, Payton signed on to be an analyst for Big 12 college baseball broadcasts this season, including a majority of the OU games.

During this weekend's conference tournament, Payton sat down to talk about what he thinks of the Sooners, how he enjoys life in Oklahoma, one of his worst baseball memories and more:

Did you know this area at all before you lived here?

Not really, I didn't know much about it. But I like it a lot. It's probably some of the friendliest, nicest people you'll meet. Good schools, safe and a good place to live, grow up and raise a little one.

But Oklahoma hasn't always been good to you. Take me back to the 1994 CWS title game, when you played for Georgia Tech. You guys were stacked, with three future pros (Payton, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek) in your starting lineup. But OU got you guys in the title game. How did that happen?

Yeah, we had a great team obviously. You had Nomar leading off, Varitek hitting third and then I was in the four-hole, we averaged almost 10 runs a game. For us, coming up short, we just ran low on pitching. We had Brad Rigby, who I think was the first pick in the second round, and a couple other guys, but by the time we got to that championship against OU, we just kind of ran out of pitching and they put it on us pretty good.

Is that kind of a big ‘What if …' in your career, that despite that loaded team, you never got a CWS ring?

Not really. I mean, twenty-something years ago it was probably a lot more dear to me, but fact of the matter is, we lost 13-5 in the championship game. Had we lost 2-1, maybe it's one of those things where you sit there and scratch your head about forever, but they whooped us pretty good in the championship game.

A couple of the guys on that OU team are now coaching in Norman. Do they ever give you grief about it?

No, they don't razz me too much. My first few days being around OU, I probably heard it about five or six times, but since then (my broadcast partner) Chad (McKee) will poke me a little bit about it on air, but it's fun, it's all good. Like I said, they had a really good team and it's not always the best team that wins it, it's the hottest and they were the hottest.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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