Every little boy wants to be a professional athlete. I know I dreamed for hours upon hours of playing Major League Baseball. There was nothing more I wanted in life. Unfortunately, my dream never came true (I had to settle for the next best thing — being a sportscaster instead), but I’m fortunate enough to be around others — like Carter Capps – who are reaching their childhood goals.
Capps is living a dream right now. The 21-year-old was just called up to the big leagues for the first time. Instead of being one of hundreds of minor leaguers in the Seattle Mariners system, the relief pitcher is now one of 25 players on the M’s big league roster — ready to make his Major League debut.
I was there when Capps stepped foot on Safeco Field for the first time.
“It’s a lot taller than I thought it was,” Capps told me as he looked around the ballpark with wide eyes. “There are a lot of seats. You don’t really appreciate that when you see it on TV, but it’s different when you’re here. It’s nice.”
It didn’t take Capps long to make it to Seattle. He was a third round draft pick last year out of Mount Olive College (a DII school) in North Carolina. He struggled with his control in four minor league outings last season, but quickly took off this year. Capps registered 19 saves and a 1.26 ERA in 38 games with the AA Jackson Generals before pitching one game (he struck out three of the four batters he faced) with AAA Tacoma. He’s now in the bigs – making him only the second player from the 2011 draft to earn a call to the majors (Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Trevor Bauer was the first).
“I thought someone was messing with me, but luckily they weren’t,” Capps said about his promotion to Seattle. “It’s definitely a blessing. I’m really happy about it.”
Capps is a boy among men. He honestly looks like he’s 12-years-old. That’s either a sign of my age own age (31) or it shows just how quickly the kid jolted through the system. No matter what he looks like, Capps is a hot commodity because he can fire a fastball 100 mph with some command. The only advice he’s received so far from his new teammates: “Pound the zone and don’t treat [the Major Leagues] different than any other level.”
“This is what you play for ever since you’re a little kid,” Capps told me. “It’s definitely a dream come true.”
The best part is — we get to be there every step of the way. Carter Capps’ Major League career is wide open. He could become the next Mariano Rivera, or he might be the next Bobby Ayala (Mariners fans understand the reference). I hope I look back on this post 25 years from now and Capps will be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame (nothing like throwing some pressure on the kid, right?), but only time will tell…
Until then, let’s just enjoy the ride with him.
UPDATE: Carter Capps made his Major League debut on August 3, 2012. He pitched against the New York Yankees — in Yankee Stadium (not the easiest of places to debut). Capps allowed two runs (both were scored after he was relieved by Oliver Perez) on one hit over one-third of an inning of work. He also recorded one walk and no strikeouts, but hit the 100 mph mark several times, including his very first pitch in the big leagues. Click here for video of Capps debut.
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