I want to start out this blog by talking about this week’s one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing and all the people who were affected by it. Having lived in Boston while my dad was playing with the Red Sox, I learned what a special city it really is. The way that the people rallied around each other to help make the anniversary a way of thanking all the heroes and celebrating the lives of those we lost is something that will be remembered in the city forever. I personally want to thank each individual person who had an impact in bringing the city together and making the anniversary something people will never forget.
In my last blog, I spoke about how special my teammates are to me and how they are all the main reason I have enjoyed my college baseball experience. This week I want to highlight one of our relief pitchers, Robert Whaley. Robert is a junior-college transfer whose fastball sits anywhere from 90-94 MPH. He came to App State for the chance to have a major role out of the bullpen and the chance to win a Southern Conference championship. He credits pitching coach Michael Rogers for helping him make his decision to come to App because he wanted to pitch for a guy that he knew believed in him.
When I asked Whaley why he believed App was the perfect fit for him, he talked about its proximately to his hometown of Hickory, N.C.
“I wanted to be somewhere close to home so my parents could come watch me play,” Whaley said. “My freshmen year, I played at the Naval Academy and it was hard for them to be able to come.”
Whaley also says the opportunity he had to make an immediate impact on the program was a factor in his decision to attend App State.
One thing special about Whaley is that his dad, Bobby Whaley, served in the United States Navy and has taught him a lot about handling adversity. Anyone who knows the game of baseball will tell you that there are many times where adversity will smack you right in the face. Whaley credits his father for helping him through tough times,
“Not letting one little thing get to me is something he has taught me a lot about,” Whaley said. “Persevering and fighting through troubled times is what is going to define you as a person and a ballplayer. With the confidence he put in me, I know that when I am at my best there is nothing a hitter can do to beat me.”
I can’t end this blog without talking about someone who I know is a regular reader of my blogs, although he would never admit it.
Steve Roth is a self-proclaimed “super fan” for the Elon University baseball team. During my entire college career, whenever we’ve played at Elon, I knew I was going to hear his loud, screeching voice from Section 1, Row 8, Seat 15 for the entire game. Although Roth has since graduated and no longer attends Elon games, he still takes time out of his busy day to send me encouraging tweets throughout the season. Playing this past weekend at Elon certainly wasn’t the same without him and I know I’m not the only player Roth has tried to crack during his reign as Elon’s “Super Fan.” Hope you’re reading this, Steven.
Playing for the dogpile.