It never gets old watching a kid’s dream come true.
And that happened for one local baseball standout.
Brady Singer is a big league baseball player!
A graduate of Eustis High School, big-time contributor on the University of Florida’s 2017 College World Series championship team and the 18th pick in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft, Brady learned recently that he earned a spot on the Kansas City Royals’ major-league roster with a solid spring training back in February and March, and then an even more impressive summer camp.
Not only has he earned a roster spot, but according to his mom, Jacquelyn, Brady will make his first big-league showing Saturday in Cleveland against the Indians at Progressive Field.
And on cue, Kansas City manager Mike Matheny confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Singer would, indeed, make his debut Saturday against the Indians.
Game time is set for 5 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on MLB.TV, available by subscription at MLB.com.
How many of us stood on a makeshift mound as kids in our backyards and struck out the last hitter to win the seventh game of the World Series?
How many of us hit a home run in the backyard to win the World Series?
I know I did.
All of the above.
Well, to get to the World Series, we needed a major league debut, even if it was just imaginary.
Certainly Brady had the same dreams.
And he’s about to live it out.
I’m know I’m envious.
I’m 61 years old and I still dream standing on a major league mound and staring down a big-league hitter.
Brady will get that chance.
What will be going through his mind before he throws that first pitch, as he digs out a hole in front of the rubber?
How about as he heads back to the plate while dabbing some resin on his pitching hand before turning around and facing the business end of the game — home plate while a hitter digs into to batter’s box?
I’m breaking a sweat just thinking about it.
And Brady gets to do it!
Brady’s certainly not the first big-leaguer from Lake County. In fact, currently there could be as many as four players with local ties playing Major League Baseball — Montverde Academy grad Francisco Lindor at Cleveland, East Ridge’s Shane Greene with Atlanta are locks to earn roster spots and longtime big league catcher Jonathan Lucroy from Umatilla has turned in a solid spring training and summer camp with the Boston Red Sox.
But, there’s just something about a big-league debut.
For starters, it only happens once.
You can play for 20 years and set a whole mess of records.
But, you have only one real debut.
To meet Brady is to like him. You can’t help but like him.
He’s never asked for special treatment just because the baseball gods blessed him with a lightning bolt for a right arm.
Truth be told, Brady will be the first to say he’s a big league pitcher because he listened to his coaches and not those who said a kid from little ol’ Lake County couldn’t reach the mountaintop.
He never stopped dreaming and never stopped working.
And now he’s a big league pitcher.
One of those coaches, who will almost certainly be with Brady on Saturday — in spirit — is legendary Eustis High School baseball coach David Lee.
“Skip” as he was known to many, passed away in 2019 of congestive heart failure, but coached Brady in his senior season at Eustis and was his biggest fan — outside of family — during the Gators national title run in 2017.
He saw Brady get drafted, but never saw him pitch as a professional.
Need proof of the relationship between coach and player?
Brady was one of only a few non-family members allowed to see him. Unfortunately, according to Tina Lee, David’s widow, Brady planned to visit with Lee, but the coach passed away the night before.
“Brady was one of the first to text me (the morning after David died),” Tina Lee remembered. “They had a very special relationship. David always called Brady before and after a game, and Brady always answered.
“Brady still checks in with me. He sends me Happy Birthday messages and sends messages on David’s birthday, saying ‘Happy Birthday to Coach in Heaven.’ He is a special young man.”
Take your time running for the tissues.
I needed a few minutes, as well.
Even if you didn’t know him before, how can you not want to see him strike out the side in the first inning on Saturday?
With apologies to Francisco Lindor, who will almost certainly dig in Saturday against Brady in the first inning, I want to see the kid retire the side in order.
Now, I haven’t lost touch with reality.
It’s not always going to be pretty.
Brady will take his lumps this season. That how it goes in the big leagues.
Hitters will adjust to him and he’ll have to adapt to how they respond.
That’s life in the major leagues.
The best baseball players on the planet.
And Brady Singer is one of them.
Write to Frank Jolley at email@example.com.
Note: Singer went 12-5 with a 2.85 ERA in the minors last year, splitting time between Class A and Double-A.
“Brady has done everything to show us he’s ready for whatever we give him,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “We feel good that Brady gives us a chance to win.”