Pitching in The Majors

Everything I could ever tell you about Huston Street on pitching in the bigs

NAME: Huston Street | AGE: 22 | HOMETOWN: Austin | QUALIFICATIONS: Relief pitcher for the Oakland A’s, with a 1.72 ERA / 2005 American League rookie of the year / Played in three College World Series while at the University of Texas at Austin

•   Forget about the name on the back of the batter’s jersey. I’m not pitching to Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter. I’m pitching to a left-handed guy with an open stance who has certain tendencies.

•  I don’t believe that pressure exists. I can understand why some kid on the mound feels pressure if he’s thinking about 45,000 screaming fans or the runner on second or that A-Rod is at the plate. But if you’re thinking about a fastball on the outside corner, you’ve done that 10,000 times in your life. So do it again.

•  When I got the closer’s role, it allowed me to relax. When the phone rings in the bull pen in the seventh inning, I know they’re not calling me.

•  I didn’t feel nervous when I pitched for the first time in the major leagues. I swear that to this day. But my adrenaline was going boom, boom, boom. My teammates were asking me if I was nervous as I was taking a sip of my drink. And my hand was going like this [shakes hand wildly back and forth]. I didn’t even know it.

•   Sammy Sosa was my first big-league strikeout. I think I get asked about that more than anything. All I know is that I was just trying to throw a slider, and he swung and missed.

•   My girlfriend is hard on me. I called her earlier today after I had finished playing Ping-Pong with my younger brother in the garage. She asked, “Did you win?”

•   When I was growing up, my parents taught me that winning is being the best that you can be. And to remember that they’d love me regardless. My dad [James], who was a star quarterback and pitcher at UT 35 years ago, told me, “I’d love you even if you went to A&M. Well, maybe.”

•  I’ve been in love with baseball my whole life. I’ve known since I was twelve years old at Hill Country Middle School that that’s what I wanted to do. When I was at UT, I did put all of my eggs in one basket when it came to turning pro. But that’s me. I’m not afraid of failure; I’ve just always thought that I could do it.

•   When I do blow a save, I’m not mad at myself. There’s going to be a tomorrow—unless it’s game seven of the World Series.

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