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I come back for my senior year and I'm coming in as the No. End up 9 — 1, or whatever it was, all these strikeouts, and all of these accolades, All-State, and this-and-that — all because of Ray Retzinger. Local scouts tried to figure out just how good this Fogg guy was. Late on the scene, sure, but the kid was seemingly getting better by the start. He'd visited Stetson, as well as some junior colleges in the South Florida area.

And while it seemed like a dream, he had some communication with the baseball program at the University of Florida. Coach Lopez and I are talking on the field. We're probably out there 45 minutes with my dad talking — and all of these guys are on the bus waiting, waiting, waiting. He's like, 'Listen, we want to have you up to Gainesville. How about you come up this weekend? Senior in high school, probably one of the first times away by myself. They pick me up from the airport, they take me straight to the field.

I'm there for less than 24 hours. I go to the field and I'm sitting in the stands. I don't even know who they're playing. It ends up being Tennessee. Friday night, I'm like, 'Are they any good? And then I'm thinking — this guy is the greatest player to ever play the game of baseball! I can't compete with this stuff! Then I get to play with him on my team for a few years later in my life. I told him about it, and he's like, 'I don't even remember that game.

Helton, of course, also played football at Tennessee. He was teammates with Peyton Manning.


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The first pick in that draft was Darin Erstad to the California Angels. Kerry Wood went No. The pick before Helton was the Texas Rangers. They decided to go with Jonathan Johnson, who pitched in just 42 games in the bigs. He went 17th to the Toronto Blue Jays.

And the 28th pick in that draft selected by the Montreal Expos was a catcher named Michael Barrett, who was then playing shortstop. As for Fogg, the future dragon slayer became a Florida Gator. Then I got to Florida and I'm like, 'Screw that. I'm being No. Coach Lopez liked that I had a quick arm. It was a live arm.

At one of my first bullpens at Florida, he said, 'You're going to throw 94 before you leave here. I'm like 'Yeah right! I got no chance! Sure enough, my junior year in college, now I'm getting big-time scouts.

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Guys are coming to see me because I'm closing games and doing a really good job. It was against Miami, and I remember my dad told me. He was in the stands and he's watching how they scout. The guns are up, and I throw a fastball. It's He said you could see people grab their phones and start calling. That was probably when I shot up.

I was probably a middle-teen rounder at that time. I got picked in the third round. When he debuted in the bigs in for the Chicago White Sox, Fogg was a reliever. The next year he started all 33 of his appearances for his new team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished his career with games started in the big leagues.

One of the questions big league pitchers often get is: are you nervous when you pitch? It's a fair question. You're standing on a circular metaphorical spotlight, performing in front of 40,, as well as a television audience, your family, friends But after his crazy journey, Fogg was confident. He felt he belonged. Only six times prior to had there ever been a one-game tie-breaker — most famously in — when Bucky Dent, the scrawny New York Yankee, homered over the Green Monster and, in part of New England lore, earned himself the middle initial F for the rest of time. Win or lose, it would be a historic night at Coors Field, our glorious home venue nestled into downtown Denver.

The city was painted purple. The Rockies would make the playoffs again in their future, but no vibe will ever match Rocktober, this mystical twist of an autumn. It was just this feeling that you cannot recreate or replicate. What a time to be in Denver. In the clubhouse before Game , Troy Tulowitzki spotted Tiny.

Tiny is Mike Pontarelli, a longtime clubhouse manager "who's given more grief to me than anyone in the history of baseball, Ryan Spilborghs said.

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His dad, Dave, is a retired Denver cop and works at the stadium. So Tulo is like, 'Tiiiiiny, what are we having for dinner? And Tulo was like: 'Nah man, we got to have steak and lobster, no matter what. Steak and lobster! And remember, this is after September call-ups, so we have a full house including minor leaguers and minor league coaches. Coors fizzed. The place was brimming with fans. And then he got one right in the back.

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