SURPRISE, AZ - Last December, Major League Baseball held its annual Rule Five Draft for minor leaguers and surprisingly, the Texas Rangers drafted Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. This past week, Wilson made the trip to Surprise and suited up with the Rangers for a day of major league baseball training camp.
Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson wearing a baseball uniform?
“I'd like to see a dual sport, that'd be pretty cool," says Seahawks fan Mike Sparks, adding, “He needs to go over to the Mariners though.”
Wilson finally got his chance to put on a major league uniform, and it was something he won’t soon forget.
“Yeah, I thought it was an unbelievable experience,” Wilson said. “Better than I could ever imagine, to be honest with you.”
And so did thousands of Seahawks fans who made the trek all the way to Surprise stadium just to catch a glimpse of their Super Bowl hero.
“The Seattle Seahawks fans, the 12th man fans are out in the outfield, they're on third base line, first base line, chanting ‘Seahawks’ the whole way. Hopefully the Dallas fans didn't get too mad,” Wilson said.
While Seahawks fans were enjoying the chance to see Wilson up close, the Rangers clearly enjoyed the fact that merchandise sales skyrocketed with the Wilson jerseys and shirts selling out early in the day.
“Ah, the uniform, I'm definitely hanging this up," Wilson said. “I'm going to get a few of these hung up in the house somewhere.”
Even former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner thought it was a fun idea.
“Russell's a young kid who's got a great head on his shoulders," Warner said. "He's handled everything extremely well, so I look at it and say 'why not?' You know, why not enjoy it and I think he did a good job with it and like you said, just a day to kind of experience what this would be like, but again, not very many people get that opportunity, so if I was that talented I would have taken advantage of it, too."
But even though it was a day to remember, Wilson says, his focus is still right where it should be.
“My focus is on football. I just won a Super Bowl and the goal is to win another one, so you know, I was blessed enough to be drafted by the Seattle Seahawks and I'm blessed to be a part of this organization, a championship style of organization and it's an honor," Wilson said. "Do you ever say never? You know, I've always had the dream of playing two sports...you know, if it somehow was a miracle that it could work out I would consider it.”
But honestly, did he think about how much fun it would have been to actually get into the game against the Indians for even just an inning?
“How much did I want to play an inning?” Wilson chided. “How much did I want to play the whole game is the question. That's the real question.”
With football commanding all his attention, does he miss playing baseball?
“I always miss baseball,” Wilson said. “I mean that's one of those things that I played it ever since I was 4 years old. You know, I go to baseball games all the time and I love the game but at the same time I know that God made me 5'11" for a reason and he wanted me to go against the odds of everyone telling me no in football.”
So after the experience is behind him, what’s harder, football or baseball?
“Hitting a curve ball, man the ball's so small”, Wilson says. “You know, like today, I'm taking ground balls and you know, Ron Washington, we just started, it's like, we started at 8:15, it's probably 8:17 and he's rolling me ground balls and I'm just looking at the ball and it looks like, you know, a pea. It’s so much smaller than a football. It's not easy. The game of baseball's not easy but, you know, I love it that's for sure. Getting hit by a 350 pound guy isn't good either.”
And how about the fans, do they really want to see their star quarterback play baseball?
“I want his focus to be all on football. I really don't care about the Rangers to be honest with you," Seahawks fan Scott Waldron tells us. “In fact, I don't care about the Mariners in that regard. If I could have a dynasty out of my Seahawks, I'd prefer that.”