Jackson Holliday talks about playing his first home game tonight

Jackson Holliday has been at Camden Yards before, but not as a player in the starting lineup. Tonight the 20-year-old No. 1 ranked prospect in baseball will play his third MLB game and first in front of the hometown Baltimore fans.

“It’s a pretty awesome place to be able to play,” he said this afternoon to a crowd of reporters, adding that he remembered being here before.

“I think it was when my dad (Matt) was with the Cardinals. Me and my brother came out here and shagged (BP fly balls). I remember thinking this is a really great place to hit.

"I remember being able to almost rob a home run because the wall was shorter before they moved it back and raised it about 100 feet. I do remember it and it’s very special be here,” the kid said showing he retains a sense of humor amid a flurry of interviews he has been doing.

“To be able to come to the ballpark and have a locker here, it’s definitely a little bit different. When I was with Aberdeen and Bowie, I came down to eat every now and then. But it’s definitely a different experience knowing this is home for now.”

He has wanted to play in the majors for a long time and now the dream has come true.

“About as long as I can remember. It’s been awesome, been everything I could imagine," he said of his first two days with the Orioles.

Holliday is 0-for-8 with two runs scored, four strikeouts an RBI. He feels that the first hit is close.

“Yeah, I feel comfortable,” he said.  I feel like I’ve taken some good at-bats. Obviously, I haven’t had some of the swings that I like. But I feel like I’ve controlled the zone somewhat well and taken pitches early in counts that I know I can’t really do much with. It’s just a matter of time.

“It’s definitely a little different (from spring training). Guys are pitching a little differently rather than working on things. They are trying to get you out. It’s going to take some time to adjust but I take pride in be able to adjust pretty fast. Looking forward to keep learning and growing my game.”

At some point he will enter a big league clubhouse and not be the center of attention.

“Looking forward to that. But it’s awesome. Obviously doing something right if you have all this attention, but just excited to play,” said Holliday.

On the MASN telecast last night, O’s Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. said Holliday called him to talk about wearing uniform No. 7.

“I heard that they wanted to give me that number. I was able to reach out to him and thank him for that opportunity. It’s really special for me to be able to wear that number and to honor his dad, it’s really neat," Holliday said.

He added that his family is still with him, following him from Boston to Baltimore.

"To be able to share those moments with them, my debut the last few days, it’s been pretty special to have them there. For my brother to be able to come during the season and to have my dad there, it’s been awesome."

Has Holliday been able to step back a bit and soak it all in yet?

“No I am. I am able to definitely take it it. An unbelievable experience so far."

He was asked about being a player getting such attention that some fans bought tickets tonight likely to just come and see him play.

“I think it comes with all that I’ve had going on in the past few years. Being the first pick and a top prospect, That comes with it with every affiliate. But I’m definitely excited to go out there and play in front of a bunch of fans," he said, handling yet another interview session with ease. 

Jackson and Jackson: Holliday and another Jackson, Jackson Chourio of the Brewers, are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on top 100 prospects lists by both Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com. Chourio, from Venezuela, has played 10 games for Milwaukee and is 11-for-39, batting .282/.326/.462/.787 with two homers and nine RBIs.

Chourio (20 years, 32 days) and Holliday (20-130) are currently the youngest players in MLB. And they will be on the same field tonight with Holliday batting eighth at second base for the Orioles and Chourio batting leadoff in right field for the Brewers.

Click here to see the two stud prospects getting a photo taken together here before the game. 



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