I stayed up late tonight to continue diving into my story for ESPN The Magazine—which I am—but I keep getting distracted by Molly Knight's Twitter feed. She's tweeting about Jerry Sands, the new LA Dodgers callup who, in his first game, is becoming a fan favorite. Doubled opposite field in his first major-league at-bat. (With a "huge toothy grin," Knight wrote.) Drove in his first run with a sac fly his next plate appearance. And now Knight just tweeted that Tim Hudson threw behind his head.
Not saying the dude is going to become a legend or anything. But if first games are any indicator, Jerry Sands is starting one heck of a career. Before he stepped into the box and before Hudson threw behind his head, he was introduced to the song "Enter the Sandman." Apologies to my dear, sweet mother for the language, but there really is no other more fitting reaction to that than F--- yeah.
It kind of sucks that he's doing it against the Braves, which are kind of the only professional team I feel any sort of fandom toward.* They're losing right now, 4-0, to the Dodgers, and with Hudson throwing behind the head of the new guy, it seems the Sands will be partying quite hardy this evening to celebrate his first major league win.
* Well, them and the Carolina Panthers. But that's just depressing to think about, so we're not.
I freaking love this. See, I played against Sands in college. That alone tells you much. One, that nobody has a clue who he is. A recent LATimes.com blog—entitled in part "For these Dodgers, a desperate move with Jerry Sands..."—introduced Sands as "not some jaw-dropping prospect. He was a 25th-round draft pick out of a small NCAA Division II school called Catawba College in North Carolina."
I remember Catawba. It was a nice field, but not awesome. Brick outfield walls. Sweet bullpen. I spent lots of time there, as my career was not going swimmingly. Although I did also catch one of our few wins there, at least I think I did. My memory's not awesome; I'm trying to keep those years blurry as I can, save the good times.
But I do remember a few things quite vividly, and none moreso than the Jerry Sands bombs. The dude could absolutely crush. I always wondered if he had what it took to make it to the bigs, but I never doubted his raw, unquestionable power. Sure, some of us more jealous types swore he just had to be taking steroids, or something. And who knows, maybe he did and got away with it.
Until then, I'll doubt that. And in the meantime, I'm going to keep geeking out hardcore about this. What a freaking great story. Division II nobody, 25-round draft pick, doubling to opposite field in his first major league plate appearance, getting thrown at in his third.
The Dodgers defended their new stud soon thereafter. Ted Lilly threw behind Nate McLouth. The benches were warned.
I'll tell you two things, though:
1. The rest of that LA Times blog post title read, "...is a risk worth taking." Good call, blogger Steve Dilbeck.
2. If I'm (somehow) on the bench for the Braves and things do get rowdy and the benches do clear, I'll tell you the one guy I'm definitely not going after without my catcher's gear on. Jerry f----- Sands.
Except that I know I wouldn't have to worry about Sands. The dude is a killer in the box and seems like a great teammate. He'd likely defend his brothers. But deep down, he doesn't want to hurt anyone. I've met him a few times, my younger brother's met him a few times, a few of my buddies from college grew up with him, and they all say the same thing. He's a good dude. Huge toothy grin and all.