Carson Sands has traveled the world the past two summers to play baseball. His latest journey over the weekend to Chicago might top his list of favorite stops for two reasons.
No. 1, Wrigley Field.
No. 2, Bryce Harper.
“I was like, ‘Holy cow, is this really happening?'” said Sands, who returned to Tallahassee on Sunday. “It was pretty cool, such a great time.”
Sands, a senior left-handed pitcher at North Florida Christian, participated in Saturday afternoon’s Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field.
The Florida State verbal commitment, who is also considered one of the top pitching prospects in the 2014 MLB draft, faced six batters in relief and had three strikeouts.
With his fastball topping out at 93 mph, Sands surrendered one hit — a soft single to fellow FSU verbal commitment Nick Gordon, out of Olympia High School in Windermere.
Gordon’s older brother, Dee, is a shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers; and his father, Tom “Flash” Gordon, pitched 21 years in the big leagues.
It was in the bullpen Saturday when Sands took a moment to soak in the atmosphere at Wrigley Field, the second-oldest National League ballpark. The game was also televised live nationally on the MLB Network.
“Wrigley was awesome, old school, and nothing has really changed over the years,” said Sands, who also pointed out one of the park’s most unique features — the ivy-covered outfield walls.
“It was fun seeing all that history.”
Sands also got to shake hands with living history in Harper, the 20-year-old outfielder with the Washington Nationals.
Harper, drafted No. 1 overall by the Nationals in 2010, met Sands and other players in the All-America game prior to the Nationals’ game against the Cubs on Thursday. Sands also got to watch Harper hit batting practice.
“It wasn’t hard talking to him at all,” Sands said. “It was crazy. He was a pretty cool guy. Watching him hit was awesome. His forearms are huge. He has a pretty violent swing.”
Sands, also a two-time Team USA selection, isn’t done traveling just quite yet.
He is scheduled to fly to New York City this weekend for a workout for the Mets. He also plans to play this fall in one or two national showcase tournaments.
“Summer went way too fast,” Sands said.