Bobby Wahl has played a lot of baseball. In doing so, he's heard the National Anthem a few times, but he's never heard it while wearing the baseball uniform of Team USA before playing a game in Cuba.
“When we got to Cuba, playing a country like Cuba that Americans aren't really allowed in, when the National Anthem came on, we fully grasped what it meant. It was much more than just a song. It took a while to set in. I don't really have to words to explain it, a feeling you only get in certain moments, goose bumps, a chill, it was pretty cool,” the rising Ole Miss junior said.
Wahl is back in his hometown of Springfield, Va., with a little down time before returning to Ole Miss for what could be his last season of college baseball. Given his freshman to sophomore jump, Wahl could have a year in 2013 that would have him drafted high enough to skip his senior season.
In 2012 he made a big jump as a college player after a strong summer showing in the Cape Cod League.
This summer he was used primarily as a closer for Team USA, which lost in the semifinals and finished third in an international baseball competition in the Netherlands. The USA players were competing against the top, much older players from other countries.
While interacting with opponents, one of the Cuban players gave Wahl tips on throwing a cutter and sinker. Might be fun to watch how that develops.
While the baseball was important, one of the other highlights for Wahl this summer was bargaining with the Chinese players.
“We were in the hotel, and we were all trying to get the Chinese team to trade with us. I took my iPhone out and got on my Google translate. I walked down the hall and was playing it, and some of the guys came out, and we started trading. We were trading gloves, shirts all kinds of cool stuff.
“The Chinese team is known for colorful gloves, blues, reds and all that stuff. I really wanted a red glove. I thought that would be so cool. I found a guy that had one, and I was offering up everything. He kept saying no, kept saying no. It was making me mad (laughing here). Finally I gave away the glove the US team gave me, a regular old Wilson glove, and some jacket, and I ended up getting a pretty sweet red glove. It's got Chinese writing on it. It's pretty cool.”