Yankees draftees Holder, Lindgren placed in dream scenario
BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -
Two Mississippi State relievers who throw nauseating breaking balls are from the Mississippi gulf coast.
One of them is Jacob Lindgren, who, three years after being selected in the 12th round by the Chicago Cubs, was picked Thursday in the second round of this year's draft by the New York Yankees.
The former St. Stanislaus Rock-a-Chaw celebrated the next day by relaxing at The Bridges Golf Club in the bay.
It was also an opportunity for his Starkville teammate and former Gulfport Admiral Jonathan Holder to calm his own mind and keep it from spinning out of control waiting to hear where he might go since he was projected to be picked up on day two.
"Steve Lindgren, Jacob's dad, just said, 'Hey, why don't you go golfing with us,'" Holder said. "I said, 'Yeah, absolutely.' It helps keep you relaxed instead of sitting there at a computer screen and maybe being disappointed if you don't go where you want to."
Holder wanted to keep from being distracted as long as possible, but even with his cell phone in silent mode, he couldn't ignore any phone calls because one particular ring could've been the one in which he's been waiting for a long time.
While he was on the seventh green, Holder received a call from the Yankees organization that he'd been selected in the sixth round with the 182nd overall pick.
"I really didn't have any words to say," Holder said. "I've never been in this situation before. When I saw that it was the Yankees that were going to take me, my first thought was, 'Hey, you know, I might get to still be throwing partners with my boy (Jacob Lindgren). It was exciting and I'm happy to be a Yankee."
"When it happened, we just went crazy and jumped around," Lindgren said. "Holder was running circles out on the green. He was going crazy. It's just an exciting time. It was the first time he got drafted so he was stoked. He was pumped."
Both Holder and Lindgren sported adjustable, faded navy blue hats with the famous Yankees cap logo on the front during their shortened day of golf. In a few years, those hats may be fitted with the MLB logo on the back.
While that scenario may not play out for a few years, the throwing buddies have a chance to go from the most intense college baseball rivalry, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, to the most historic rivalry in Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
"God was preparing us for something later on down the road by putting us in the Mississippi State and Ole Miss clash," Holder said. "I was a part of that rivalry for three years and maybe sometime down the road we could be in Yankee Stadium playing the Red Sox."
The intensity among the fans is also unmatched when it comes to any athletic matchup between Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Lindgren and Holder both stated that they do intend to sign with the Yankees despite having one year of eligibility remaining, but they will always remember the fans in Starkville that helped them reach the level they've attained now.
"I feel like without all the fans, the coaches, family and friends, I wouldn't be where I am now," Lindgren said. "I've had good support. They've really supported me and I'm very thankful."
"The (Mississippi State) fans mean the world to me," Holder said. "It's not every day where you get to be welcomed in by 18,000 Mississippi State fans that come to watch you play in a regional. Being supported like that, along with (pitching) coach (Butch) Thompson and (head) coach (John) Cohen, they've really pushed me along and got me to where I need to be."
They definitely didn't forget about their brothers with whom they fought the same battles -- both in high school and college.
"You can't pitch without an infield and outfield," Holder said. "All the love goes to them after all the support they gave to me."
"Growing up in Bay St. Louis and going to St. Stanislaus were big parts of my life," Lindgren said. "I grew as a man and a ballplayer. When I went to Mississippi State, I grew even more. I'm excited to see what happens now."
According to Lindgren's past and future teammate, it's also a day that will be No. 1 on the list of top life experiences. That is, until it's time to welcome the next generation's baseball (or softball) player.
"I heard that maybe when you have a kid one day that that's probably the best day of your life," Holder said. "This has got to be a close second."