Feb. 23, 2011
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Tyler Everett has every reason to be nervous Thursday afternoon.
It’s not every day that a Florida State pitcher knows in advance that the batters he’ll have World Series rings and Major League All-Star game appearances.
That’s likely the scenario Everett will encounter at Clearwater’s Bright House Networks Field, where the Seminoles take on the reigning National League East champion Philadelphia Phillies in an exhibition game. Everett gets the starting nod and the likelihood of facing a lineup of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, right out of the box.
“To actually know I’m going to pitch against a big league club is really exciting,” Everett said.
There will be plenty of excitement to go around among the Seminoles, even before the first pitch of the very first spring training game is thrown. Mike Martin’s team will have the chance to get a close-up look at the Phillies during batting practice.
“It is going to be just a great memory for our young men,” Martin said. “We are going to go down there and enjoy ourselves. We always have a big time playing a professional team, because we just relax, kick back and play and have a big ol’ time.”
Everett did just that last year, retiring the Phillies in order during his relief stint in a 13-6 win by the big league club.
“It was very thrilling,” Everett said. “You don’t know how you’re going to do against them. … If they were in mid-season form, maybe it wouldn’t have gone that smooth. It’s definitely one my top three moments, along with going to two College World Series.”
He wasn’t alone.
“I remember just as recently as last year when (James) Ramsey and (Stuart) Tapley went deep back-to-back,” Martin said. “I remember the Tony Thomas lead-off home run [in 2007]. If I am not mistaken, we had a five-run lead down there at one time last year.”
Senior All-American Mike McGee said just the opportunity to share the field with some of the best players in the game is an honor.
“It’s great to get down there with the fans and to just play on the same fields as those guys,” McGee said. “It makes you feel good. You walk out there and you see them taking BP and it just makes you happy to be a baseball player.”
It’s also an opportunity to learn from the best, even if the Phillies don’t roll out any members of their vaunted starting rotation of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.
“You get a little perspective,” McGee added. “You get some understanding of just how good they are because you don’t realize how well they do everything. Every rep they take in BP, they take it the right way. They are pretty spot-on with everything.”