The players are not supposed to be better at asking questions than the reporters, but when Tommy Hunter noticed several reporters interviewing T.J. McFarland today, he jumped in and provided some solid help.
He asked McFarland who he got out for his first major league strikeout last night and then gave him some grief for not instantly remembering it was Trevor Plouffe in the top of the fifth.
Hunter: “How many (strikeouts) did you have?
McFarland: “Was it five?”
Hunter: “Who was the first person you called after the game?”
McFarland: “My sister and my brother.”
Hunter: “Who was the first person?”
McFarland: “I don’t want to say my sister or my brother. Both at the same time. Yeah, conference call.”
Hunter: “Are you the youngest?”
McFarland: “Yeah, I’m the baby.”
Hunter: “What kind of feeling was going through your stomach when the phone rang, did you get that feeling like everybody else does?
McFarland: “Yeah, I get that feeling every time.”
We actually got in a few questions also and I asked the lefty if he took some mementos from his first major league game?
“I did. I have a dozen balls authenticated and then have my first strikeout ball as well,” he said the morning after his 3 1/3 inning outing where he gave up just one hit and fanned five over 40 pitches.
“My parents just got in (to Baltimore) yesterday. They were in Tampa for the whole series and didn’t see me pitch there and decided to come for last night’s game and it worked out that they could see me make my major league debut.”
McFarland also said his sister was watching a few states away and may have converted a few fellow bar patrons into Orioles fans last night.
“Funny story, they were all in Nashville when it happened,” McFarland said. “My sister just by chance was at the same bar as my friends. They were all watching it on TV and all rooting for the Orioles. Think there are some Orioles fans in Nashville now.”
McFarland had to wait for the fifth game to make his debut but he said that was not really a long wait.
“No, not at all. I was prepared every game if the situation came up,” he said. “I got in and just wanted to do my job and keep the game close and eat up some innings. Give our team the chance to win.”
Hunter said the O’s bullpen pitchers have not forgotten which player their first strikeouts came against.
“We actually went over who our first strikeout was in the bullpen and there was one person that didn’t remember: (O’s bullpen coach Billy Castro). He said it was too damn long ago.”
Thanks for that and for the help today, Tommy.