March 4, 2014 in Sports

Day on the diamond

But 12th Man fans don’t let Wilson forget football success
Alan Eskew Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson enjoyed his day in the Texas Rangers camp Monday, but he’s ready to get back to football.
(Full-size photo)

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Russell Wilson has enjoyed spending time with the Texas Rangers. Yet the Seattle Seahawks are never far from the young quarterback’s mind.

While Wilson sat in the Rangers’ dugout Monday, fans yelling “Seahawks” filled the spring training stadium.

“I couldn’t expect anything less,” Wilson said. “The 12th man fans were unbelievable today. They’re everywhere. 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 threw for 3,357 yards and 26 touchdowns and helped the Seahawks rout the Denver Broncos 43-8 in the Super Bowl last month.

He also happens to be a pretty good baseball player, drafted three times and hitting .229 with a .350 on-base percentage in 93 games in 2010-11 in the low minors in the Colorado system. But he’s had instant success in the NFL.

“You never say never,” Wilson said. “I’ve always had the dream of playing two sports. If somehow it was a miracle that it could work out, I’d consider it.

“At the same time, my focus is winning the championship with the Seattle Seahawks and hope to be playing for a long time.

“For me, it only being my second year, yeah I won a Super Bowl and all that, but that’s not enough for me. It really isn’t. My goal is to be one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, if not the best. I’ve got a long ways to go.

“I make sure I get up earlier than Tom Brady and Drew Brees and they’re on the East Coast.”

The Rangers picked Wilson for $12,000 in the Rule 5 minor league draft in December. In the Rangers’ camp Monday, he took ground balls in morning drills and brought the Rangers’ lineup to the umpires before the game, but did not play in the 6-5 loss to Cleveland.

“How much did I want to play an inning?” Wilson said. “How much did I want to play the whole game is the question.”

He spoke at a Rangers’ dinner on Sunday night for sponsors, suite holders and players and addressed the minor leaguers Monday night.

He said he would leave today for Seattle and “turn my focus back to football.”

So what is most difficult, hitting a curveball or being hit by a 300-pound defensive end?

“Hitting a curveball,” Wilson said. “The ball is so small. It looks like a pea.”

Wilson worked on throws and pivots at second base in a group with young infielders Jurickson Profar, Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor.

“He surprised me for not being out on the baseball field for a while,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I might have burned his legs up a little bit, but he made it through all the drills and did a fantastic job. He’s got tremendous aptitude. That’s why he is who he is. You give him something and he knows how to apply it.”

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said Wilson is athletic enough to make it in baseball.

“He’s got pretty good hands,” Andrus said. “I’ve got to see him hit so I can answer that, but so far what I saw today it was pretty impressive.”

The Surprise Stadium shops selling official Major League gear, predominantly displayed Wilson’s Rangers No. 3 jersey.

The one on Wilson’s back, however, will not be sold.

“The uniform, man, I’m definitely hanging this up,” Wilson said. “I’m gonna get a few of these and put them up around the house.”

© Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus