This week, I caught up with Orioles reliever, and Rule 5 pick, T.J. McFarland after he lost a game of pool to first base coach Wayne Kirby. We talked about his billiards play, his major-league debut, some of his interests, and more.
Q: How exciting was your debut on April 6?
TM: Oh, it was great. Running out on the field and having the fans cheer, and just being involved in an environment that has 40,000 people, I never experienced that before. It was an incredible feeling.
Q: How nervous were you for that appearance?
TM: The nerves were there. I had a lot of adrenaline and I think that's what carried me through that outing. I was able to calm myself and since then I have been able to calm myself and throw strikes, and that's what I've been doing.
Q: Can you tell how much better the competition is in the majors from the minors?
TM: Oh yeah, big time. This is the top players of this sport, [that] are up here. To compete here and get to do well, it's a hard thing to do.
Q: Do you feel like your success in Cleveland's Class-AA and Class-AAA teams last year (combined 16-8 record) really helped prepare you for this?
TM: Yeah, that's the whole point of having a farm system is for guys to get three, four years of experience, especially pitchers, so they are able to truly understand what kind of pitcher they are so it prepares them for when they do try and make it to the big leagues.
Q: I saw you playing pool earlier. Are you a big pool guy?
TM: I am, I enjoy playing pool. I had a pool table at home growing up, so I'm kind of used to it. Nothing this nice or nothing this big, but, yeah, I like pool.
Q: Are you pretty good at pool?
TM: I'm OK, I can compete but I'm not like extremely good.
Q: Who's the best pool player in the clubhouse?
TM: Well, I get beat by everybody.
Q: How about Wayne Kirby? I saw him beat you earlier.
TM: Yeah, Kirby, me and him have had some good matches. He's beaten me a couple times, but it's fun.
Q: If you weren't a baseball player, what would you be doing?
TM: I don't know. I like to play golf, so I'd like to say maybe I'd try to pursue that.
Q: What's your favorite kind of music?
TM: I like everything, it depends what kind of mood I'm in. I'm a big '90's alternative [guy], though, just relaxing music, something that you can just sit down and relax to and listen to.
Q: Who was your favorite baseball player when you were growing up?
TM: Well, I grew up in Chicago, southside, so I was a White Sox fan. And I always admired Mark Buehrle. I always looked up to him, especially being another lefty, he was kind of like a role-model type figure when I was growing up.