Crowd Gives Beautiful Response to Army Vet Player at His MLB Debut
Chris Rowley made his debut as a major league baseball pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays on August 11, and he had a pretty incredible outing. The newcomer pitched through 5 1/3 innings and gave up only one run to the Pittsburgh Pirates, all in all helping lead his team to a 7-2 victory.
And while that would be applauded by most sports fans, the crowd at the Rogers Centre was cheering for another reason.
Rowley Spent The Last Two Years In The Army
Rowley, 26, is the first-ever West Point graduate to make the major leagues. He graduated from West Point in 2013 and signed with Toronto that same year, playing for their minor league team. In 2014 and 2015, however, Rowley served as a first lieutenant in the United States Army, even spending some time overseas.
In January 2016, Rowley received an exception from service, but he is currently on Individual Ready Reserve. That means, of course, that Rowley can play baseball.
Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons Is A Fan
Rowley did his team proud and even received praise from the club’s manager.
“I thought he looked very confident out there. There’s no doubt [that the Army helped Rowley]. That’s just how they groom ’em. He’s been through some things,” Gibbons said after the game.
Rowley’s Standing Ovation Was A Truly ‘Special’ Moment For Him
The crowd that day was incredibly enthusiastic about Rowley’s debut, not just because of his talent on the mound. The new pitcher received a standing ovation, an inspired moment of gratitude for his many years of military service.
“Walking off and all those people standing, that was something really special for me. I don’t think anybody really expects to experience that in their life,” Rowley said. His parents and his sister were amongst those in the crowd that day.
The Toronto Blue Jays are currently nine games out of first place, but could be Wild Card contenders depending on how the remainder of the season shakes out.
— NH Fisher Cats (@FisherCats) August 12, 2017
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