April 2, 2012

Congrats, Matt!!!

  Congratulations to this guy:

That's my little brother, Matt.

And why are congratulations in order? Well, because he made this team:

The Kane County Cougars!

And, he'll get to play here:

Pretty cool, huh?

The Cougars are a Low A team located in Geneva, Illinois that are associated with the Kansas City Royals MLB program.

This is a promotion from last year when Matt was playing on a Rookie League team and rehabbing his arm.

We're so proud of Mr. Matt. He's an awesome kid and he works really hard. He had some bad luck his senior season at Western kentucky University. He was having the best season of his life. He broke the all-time wins record at WKU and had been pretty much lights-out the entire season. He's a pictcher, did I mention that? Anyway, he was getting a ton of attention from Major League scouts and it was pretty much a given that he would be drafted in the first ten rounds of the draft. But, during his last game of the season, when he was 1 out away from breaking the all-time wins record for THE ENTIRE SUNBELT CONFERENCE (yes, you can be impressed), his arm gave out. The next few days were a whirl-wind. While the team was preparing to go to the conference tournament, we were finding out Matt needed Tommy John surgery on his elbow. Five days before the draft. And, the bad news is that there were a TON of scouts at the game he got hurt. So, news spread like wildfire that he was injured. Teams started calling him and telling him they couldn't draft him if he was hurt. Which, I think must have hurt him a lot more than his arm did.

But, you know what? That kid NEVER ONCE threw himself a pity party. He had a huge smile on his face every time I saw him and was a great support to his teammates during the tournament and during Senior Day. I know on the inside he was reeling (I know I was!), but he never got down. He had his surgery the day after the season... because, he didn't want to miss any games and be there for his team. There's not a selfish bone in his body. I wish I could say the same about myself.

Long story short, the draft day came. And, it was a long and excrutiating day for our family. What would have been the most exciting day ever was so nerve-wracking because we kept listening and kept listening and we didn't hear his name.

But then. In the 41st round, we heard his name. And, people? I'm pretty sure we cheered louder than we would have if he had been drafted in the 2nd round. Noone cared at all about the round. We were just so happy that a team took a chance on him!

We went out and bought Kansas City Royals hats to celebrate:

(Check out that arm brace!)

We had a signing party for the boy, too.

And, then he left. He went to Arizona for a YEAR to rehab his arm at the Royals facility there. We took a few trips out there to visit him and he came home for Christmas, but that was a long time for him to be SO far away!

Visiting Route 66 on our trip to the Grand Canyon

Last year, as I said, he finally got to play. And, he did great! He played in Burlington, NC for the Rookie League Royals.

Here he is after his very first Minor League win. We were so glad we got to be there for it! It was amazing to see him back in action!

Anyways, I've digressed from my original point. Which is...

Matt, I am SO proud of you!

You're going to do great this season and I can't wait to get out there and see you pitching in person. I miss watching you pitch! But, even more than your baseball ability, I'm proud of your character and your hard work.

You'll go far, I know it.


Elisabeth said...

How exciting! What a great example of perseverance! The Royals are my home team so I wish him well...hopefully he can keep moving up and I can see him play sometime! :)