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Joe Saunders went 27-7 while pitching for Virginia Tech, but many of you may remember him for the six innings of shutout ball he threw as a member of the Los Angeles Angels on April 20, 2007, days after the tragedy. Given special dispensation by Major League Baseball to wear a Tech cap that day (you can see him in the above photo), I will never forget him going behind the mound before the game and drawing a VT on the back of mound. His performance that night was one small moment of happiness in an otherwise horrific week.
From the Angles website about that game:
“I was really nervous before the game and right when the game started for the sheer fact of what this game meant to me,” said Saunders. “I spent the best three years of my life at Virginia Tech. This was the first time I’ve ever had to do something like this, and hopefully it will be the last.”
“He really battled out there,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “It was a tough week for Joe. He has a lot of connections to Virginia Tech, and he showed his sentiment tonight. He is just a classy guy.”
Kind of says it all, right?
Saunders will start today for the Baltimore Orioles in their one-off Wild Card game against the Texas Rangers (TBS, 8:37 p.m.) as the Birds try to extend a pretty magical season. I know many of you are O’s fans (Yes, we hear you yelling O during the National Anthem, an issue for another day), so you should have extra incentive to root for the team with former Hokie Saunders on the mound.