Yeah, I Actually played Ball with Tigers Catcher Alex Avila

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I’m a baseball fan. I love baseball. For as long as I can remember baseball has been my favorite sport. In fact, my first celebrity crushes were Madonna and Geena Davis in A League of Their Own: a movie about women playing baseball.

By H. Jose Bosch

geena_davis1But I didn’t know what true love for a sport was until I met Alex Avila. Yes, the one who made his Major league debut for the Detroit Tigers in August of 2009. He played one season for my high school baseball team in 2003, his sophomore year and my junior year.

(I would like to point out that while the future Major League catcher was on my team, I was the starting catcher that season. Sure, he was our best pitcher, hitter and overall player but that’s neither here nor there.)

Anyway, to say Avila enjoyed baseball would be to say Amelia Earhart got lost on the way to the airport. He lived baseball. There were the extra batting practice sessions and the longer hours in the weight room. Heck, he sniffed baseballs to find a good one before playing catch. In short, Alex was what I wanted to be.

I remember one afternoon where my baseball coach gathered the team in a classroom. We had filled out a survey earlier about our future goals. Naturally these included playing college baseball. Our coach, weathered by life, knew that was rubbish. He ripped us apart, telling us that no one in the room was working hard enough to play college baseball. Well, no one but Alex. madonna

The fact is our coach was right … sort of. Alex wasn’t the only one from that team who went on to play in college, but he was the hardest working player on the team.

So finally seeing him on television making his Major League debut wasn’t much of a surprise. What surprised me is that six years after I last saw him play, the guy still had the exact same approach and stance at the plate.

He lightly taps the plate a few times, coolly brings the bat back behind his left ear and leans back on his left foot. He just dares the pitcher to give him something to hit. I saw him do that eight years ago in high school! How cool is that?

I couldn’t help but think about my one season as his teammate because a.) I was the starting catcher that year (last time I brag, I promise) and b.) I remembered his unadulterated love of the game and it made me happy to see that the hard work finally paid off and he made it to the show.

I have a greater appreciation for this Major Leaguer because I played side by side with that passion and talent and know what goes into making a Major League ballplayer.

He might be a fluke (I don’t think he will be) or he may end up having a long and productive career. Either way I’ll hold on to that season with pride and I will be cheering just a little bit louder every time he comes to the plate.

That is, until I cover him for a living, I hope. Then maybe we can recreate the final sappy scene from The Sandlot.

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Comments

  1. Peter Christian says

    HJB has his first published man crush! You’ve still got a ways to go before you top Some of the other bromances here at the Sports Bank (David Kay and D-Wade, PMB and Juice Williams, mine on Patrick Sharp and David and my mutual crush on Riggins from Friday Night Lights, yes I’m leaving out the David Kay-Peter Christian bromance because that can never be topped) at least you have a realistic chance to take yours to the next level (whatever that may be)

  2. paulmbanks says

    This is awesome! I think the bromance/man-crush thing has potential for a column of its own. I know Melissa would be the perfect one to organize and write it, I still remember how excited she was when I told her I got interview my original man-crush Deron Williams (yes, you have to be an Illini star with the last name Williams, that is the main prerequisite)

    but seriously, how cool is that for you? We all grew up with surrounded by idiot parents who acted psychotic about their children’s baseball games because they were convinced that THEIR kid was going to the show, and you grew up with someone who actually did.

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