Originally Posted July 2016
Several years ago I related a chance encounter in The VVIP Moricle Suite at a Wake Forest football game. I met a young man named Whit Merrifield. He is a baseball player in the Kansas City Royals’ organization. He grew up in Davie County / Advance NC.
We all use “tells” when we meet someone the first time. These “tells” can be from their physical appearance…. their handshake…. their eyes…. or just “a vibe”. Of course the “tells” can be positive or negative but begin a process of forming an opinion about that person. …. with Whit Merrifield the “tells” were all very very positive. He was (is) a very impressive young man.
He received the ultimate compliment from Blondie …. “WOW, we need to introduce him to Kid a/k/a “our daughter”!”
We had a short but very pleasant conversation. I was introduced to Whit by his Dad – Bill – who is an executive with The Deacon Club.
Oh… Father, Bill, was All-American and ACC Player of the Year in baseball at Wake Forest … Mother, Kissy, played tennis at Wake Forest. The Merrifields are WINNERS!
Have I mentioned that Whit was a vital cog in Ray Tanner’s Gamecock National Champions at South Carolina? In 2010 Whit got the winning hit in the 11th inning to give the Championship to USC in Omaha. Whit Merrifield IS A WINNER.
Last week Whit Merrifield “got called up”…. after seven years and 683 games “in the minors”…. Whit Merrifield is LIVING THE DREAM.
Whit joins Jeremy Hazelbaker of The Cardinals in my Good Guys To Pull For In The Big Leagues.
Whit’s first “Big League” hit last week was against The Red Sox’ David Price….. one of the Top 3-4 pitchers in baseball. Not too shabby…..
I don’t know the circumstances of Whit’s “call up” whether it is (1) to temporarily replace an injured player or (2) because The Royals are struggling a bit and are looking for Whit to “provide a spark”. Regardless, professional baseball is all about “producing” when you get your opportunity.
Nothing “just happens”. I was channel surfing on Sunday and found the Royals v White Sox game and THERE WAS WHIT. I started watching and THERE WERE BILL & KISSY and Whit’s Very Proud Grandfather in the stands in Chicago….. Living The Dream With Their Son.
Whit is a “utility player” which should increase his value to The Royals. He can play multiple IF and OF positions. He is doing VERY WELL in his first week…. but, as with Hazelbaker, once the pitchers get “a book” on you and earn the holes in your swing…. it gets tougher. Hazelbaker is hitting a respectable .270 with 7-8 HRs and playing solid defense so he will likely “stick around”.
Here’s a Big BobLee Wish that Whit Merrifield also “sticks around”….. and Lives The Dream in the Big Leagues” for many years to come.
UNC’s Matt Harvey a/k/a “The Dark Knight” of The Mets is having “a REALLY rough year” to be kind. From Darling of The Big Apple a year or so ago…. with Gotham at his beck & call…. to “struggling quite unsuccessfully to get guys out”. Baseball is “all about production”.
NCState’s Carlos Rodon is doing well in the rotation with the ChiSox. Carlos’ teammate with the Pack – Trea Turner – is on schedule to be the shortstop of the future for The Nationals.
Pinecrest HS / ECU’s Seth Maness (Cardinals’ Reliever) is on the DL with an inflamed elbow… his career “at a crossroads”.
UNC’s Andrew Miller is a “stopper” in the Yankee bullpen. Another UNC pitcher Adam Warren is part of Joe Madden’s bullpen corps with The Cubs…. Another UNCer – Kyle Seager is a veteran leader with The Mariners at 3B.
Catawba County’s Madison Baumgartner continues to be The Ace for the Giants.
Dustin Ackley (UNC), now clean-shaven with The Yankees, continues “to really struggle”. His “production” has never approached expectations. Baseball can be “cruel”.
I’m sure there are other “locals” too.