08/10/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/10/2020 15:18
August 10, 2020 4:00 pm
By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
WEST FARGO - Andy Young put his former high school baseball teammate Matt Strahm in somewhat of a tough spot on Sunday when the pair of former West Fargo Packers shared a major league ballpark.
Strahm's San Diego Padres were playing Young's Arizona Diamondbacks. Young was up to bat in the top of the ninth inning with the Diamondbacks trailing 9-1 when he slugged an 0-2 pitch off of Padres' reliever Luis Patino 419 feet into the Padres' bullpen just beyond the left-center field bullpen - almost exactly where Strahm was sitting.
It was Andy Young's first career MLB home run, which capped off his first full week in the big leagues after debuting on August 1.
'I was in the bullpen when he hit it,' Strahm said. 'I saw the ball at its peak and I was like 'Wow, it's literally going to land in my lap.' It bounced between mine and Cal Quantrill's feet. It was crazy.'
The two-run homer came at the expense of one of Strahm's fellow Padres pitchers and during any game - especially one in a 60-game shortened season against a divisional opponent - that hasn't been officially decided Andy Young and the Diamondbacks were the opponent.
'I'm a professional and I like to keep my competitors my competitors so you can't really celebrate another player getting a home run off of one of your teammates,' Strahm said. 'Obviously Andy is a good hitter and we continue to be good friends. I'm happy for him.'
The Padres ultimately won the game 9-5. Strahm retrieved the ball and wasn't going to let it out of his possession until he found Young after the game.
'The bullpens are stacked up on one another and one of their players stood up and said 'hey we'll take that ball for our teammate' and I was like 'Nah I'm going to make him get it from me after the game,'' Strahm said.
Strahm, with the milestone ball in hand, eventually found Young and the two shared a brief conversation after the game.
'I joked with him before I gave him the ball that he and his dad owe me a little time in their tree stand this upcoming hunting season,' Strahm said.
The moment of Strahm handing the ball to Young was captured with a photograph that no doubt made many in North Dakota smile. Strahm and Young were on the same 2010 West Fargo High School varsity baseball roster - Strahm a senior pitcher/first baseman and Young a sophomore shortstop. The fact that both players would share such a serendipitous moment 10 years later in a Major League Baseball game no less seemed like a cosmic validation of the amount of hard work both players have put into their respective careers.
'I can't find the words to describe what it was like for two kids from West Fargo sharing a big league field in San Diego,' Strahm said. 'It's crazy. I'm still in awe of it and I'm sure Andy is too. I'm sure if his first week in The Show (big leagues) is anything like mine was, it's a feeling that you don't want to end. Andy has always been a great baseball player with a good feel for the game. I believe he is here to stay for a long time.'
In the three-game series between the Padres and Diamondbacks Strahm and Young did not appear in the same game so a showdown between them is still something North Dakotans and baseball fans alike will have to wait for.
The Padres are 9-7 and 2 ½ games out of first place in the very competitive National League West. Strahm is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 6 ⅔ innings pitched with two strikeouts and a 0.600 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched).
'The pitching staff as a whole is a fun group with a lot of deadly arms,' Strahm said.
Thus far, the Padres have successfully navigated operating as a team during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
'Our routine hasn't really changed much,' Strahm said. 'The biggest thing to adjust to is playing games with no fans and the atmosphere that they help create. We have to get it done somehow and entertain our fans through television for now, but I think everyone in the dugout wants to get back to having fans in the stands. It will be nice to get back to that eventually.'
MATT STRAHM'S BASEBALL BIO
High School (Graduation Year): West Fargo High School (2010)
College: Neosho County Community College
MLB Draft: 21st Round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Kansas City Royals
MLB Debut: July 31, 2016 with the Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers
MLB Career: Kansas City Royals (2016-2017), San Diego Padres (2018-Present)
MLB Career Stats: Games/Appearances - 139; W-L - 13-23; ERA - 3.76; IP - 239.1; SO - 256; K/9 IP - 9.6.