Mark Appel and Me

Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Mark Appel pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the Phillies 4-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves back on June 29. At first glance, the average viewer might not know how special that one inning of work by Appel really was as it was a big moment for the 30-year-old. It was not just his season debut but his Major League Baseball debut.

Mark Appel was the ‘IT’ thing during his early years of baseball. He originally got drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He decided to go the college route and attend Stanford University.

Appel struggled his freshman year as reliever but would bounce back once he moved into the starting rotation. His sophomore year, he went 6-7 and had a 3.02 ERA across 110 1/3 innings pitched. Prior to his junior year, the baseball world started to recognize the abilities of Appel. He went on to go 10-2 with a 2.56 ERA and won National Player of the Year. He got drafted yet again in 2012 with the 8th overall pick of the first round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He turned down the Pirates and returned to the Stanford Cardinals for one more season. His fourth and final year as a Cardinal, he went 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and struck out 130 batters in 106 1/3 innings pitched. This would propel his stock and get him drafted number one overall of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros.

Mark Appel never panned out for the Astros and instead of making their MLB team, he would ultimately be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in December of 2015. His time with the Phillies was mostly plagued by injury and Appel could hardly find a way to bounce back.

After being designated for assignment by the Phillies in November 2017, Mark Appel decided to leave baseball altogether that following February. But that would not be the end of Appel in baseball.

Last September, Appel took to Twitter to share about how he was on the road back to the show which started in March of 2021.

He rejoined the Phillies organization and started the comeback off with the Reading Fightin Phils before being promoted to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs after just 8 appearances. Appel didn’t play great between those two stints. Between the two teams, he combined to go 3-6 with a 6.06 ERA. He gave up 48 earned runs over 71 1/3 innings.

His MLB hopes were dwindling but Mark Appel came out in a huge way in 2022. This season for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, he’s gone 5-0 with a 1.61 ERA and 0.929 WHIP in 19 appearance. This would ultimately lead to that MLB promotion on June 25 and later his scoreless debut and first MLB strikeout on June 29.

That moment from and for Mark Appel was a moment we all can look at for his dedication, hard work, and appreciation for something he truly loves.

Seeing this moment got me thinking.

It truly is never too late to work toward your dreams and make them a reality.

For those that do not know me, my name is Xavier Sanchez. I am 24-years-old and a 2020 graduate of Loras College. Throughout all my years of schooling, I was very studious and involved in a variety of activities. I knew if I continued more and more opportunities would come about. And they have. I’ve been able to do a lot of cool things from my time in scouts, after school co-curricular activities, running a radio station, and several area of my life. I always felt if I stayed the course and continued to put in the work, the next big thing would be one its way. That is not always true.

Right now, I am still in limbo in life. I currently work at a local grocery store which I enjoy what I do in the moment as it does have plenty of worthwhile perks. But that does not make it something I want to do forever as I hope to find a position in the fields of marketing, media studies, and/or public relations. All three fields I have spent my college years studying and practicing my skills in real life situations. Graduating when I did, surely did not make the transition from college to the working world any easier. I ultimately went with the safe route as I awaited for a job in my field of study.

Nothing wrong with taking the safe route as a paying job is a good job. Also, the pay is fine, the hours are great, and to be able to put in days when I need them off has always worked out. You can’t beat that. But I think I want to do more.

Over the last two years, I worked while filling out several applications and took a handful of job interviews. I unfortunately have struck out each and every time so far. This is disappointing and leaves me a bit bummed out at times. It may be goofy to say this as I’m just 24 years of age and have plenty of time but sometimes it just can leave me down and discouraged.

Much like Appel, the feelings of walking away and doing something different always looms in the back of mind. But also, like Mark, it is time to get back and push toward making my own dreams happen.

So now, I must get back to applying to even more jobs and continue my other ventures in the meantime. I have gone ahead and attached the below tweet in hope to gaining more eyeball toward by work.

I know if stay dedicated and do the hard work, the next big opportunity will be waiting for me.

Also, for more on Mark Appel, follow his Twitter account as he share his life and opens up to his journey to the world.

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