Photo by Gary Branec, Altoona Mirror. | Graphic design by Steve Push Designs.
Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:
This story actually starts with the Detroit Tigers having really sucked in 2017. They sucked so bad they wound up with baseball’s worst record, which brought with it a particular reward: the 1st overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.
As a Pirates fan, I know that the #1 pick can be screwed up, and often is. It’s not the relatively sure thing the #1 pick in the NFL draft is, or the NBA. Luckily for Detroit, this guy named Casey Mize spent 2017 slicing through college hitters like an Erie hailstorm through vinyl siding.
Mize had just turned 20 years old during the 2017 season, and everyone in baseball assumed the Tigers would take him at #1. They did. Quick aside: what were you doing at 21? Slugging quarter drafts at Park Place in some pre-ripped jeans and a backwards hat, terrified of hitting on girls for fear of rejection or worse – having one get in your dumpy old car that smells like farts on the way to your dumpy old apartment? Just me? The #1 pick afforded Mr. Mize a $7.5 million signing bonus, which probably helped with his car, apartment, and confidence at the bar.
Back to baseball. This was the Tigers’ highest draft pick in 20 years, a time that includes major league talents like Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson – who are on the Mount Rushmore of Erie Seawolves. The Casey Mize hype began building immediately, but baseball careers progress slowly. After over a year of dominating some lower levels of pro ball, Mize was just promoted Monday to the Erie Seawolves for a start at the Altoona Curve.
How would he adjust to better competition? Would the big spotlight of, uh, Altoona rattle him in his first game at the AA level? Well, he did hit the first batter he faced. Mize then recorded 19 consecutive outs on his way to a no-hitter. A no-hitter! Not rattled. Two days later, he turned 22 years old. Too bad Park Place is a thing of the past.
So, you’ll want to see this dude play. It is no exaggeration to say he probably won’t be in Erie for long, and once he moves up he’s probably not coming back. Even better, our Seawolves have a bunch of other talent this year. Their 2015 and 2016 first round picks are also on the squad, in the starting rotation, and throwing pure smoke.
In fact, Alex Faedo is the Eastern League pitcher of the week after combining with Drew Carlton to no-hit the Bowie Baysox just last week. Hell, even if you’re not a baseball fan, the crowds all these stars will bring to the park will make for a great atmosphere.
Casey Mize throwing a no-hitter in his welcome to the Erie Seawolves is something good to happen in our town. The rest of the team playing standout ball is great, too. In fact, a competitive baseball game on a clear summer night in Erie is about as good as life gets, if you ask me. Don’t let it pass you by.