Needless to say, there’s something extra special when an athlete gets a chance to play for his hometown team. It's a chance Adrian Sampson is getting with the Mariners organization.
“It’s very emotional for me," Sampson said. "It’s the big leagues. It’s where I grew up in Washington watching the Mariners play.”
The 24-year-old pitcher from Skyline High School and Bellevue College was traded to the M’s last July and started seven games in Tacoma. He was a non-roster invite to the M’s Spring Camp this year.
“I’m trying to live in the moment. I’m trying not to be awed, drooling everywhere. I see Edgar and Dan Wilson around all the time,” Sampson said.
Added M's manager Scott Servais: “You know, he’s a young pitcher. He’s learning a lot this camp. Watching the other guys and how they go about their business. He’s getting an opportunity to pitch in some games and we’ll see how he does. Good experience for him though.”
A devoted Seahawks fan who owns three Marshawn Lynch jerseys - one of which hangs in his locker - Sampson spent two months this offseason working out at Safeco Field.
“Everyday you just picture yourself running from the bullpen or if you’re a starter, walking from the dugout. I can already imagine the friends and family that are gonna be there in the crowd,” Sampson said.
And eventually, Sampson will see himself face to face with one of his biggest childhood idols: “I’m just hoping (Ken) Griffey (Jr.) can make an appearance here and shake his hand and meet him – that’d be huge for me.”