One of the great things about this job is getting a chance to tell stories that aren't often told.
I've been intrigued by reliever Chaz Roe since spring training. I assumed he was just a guy to absorb innings in the spring and may not even make the Triple-A roster if he didn't pitch well.
But Orioles manager Buck Showalter kept running him out in exhibition games and he stuck to the end of the spring. And then, after going to Triple-A and starting off slow, he became one of the best relievers at Norfolk, putting him in line for a call-up to the majors.
And when he received that in late May – while the Orioles were in Miami – I still assumed he'd pitch a couple times and then by designated for assignment. He was out of options and couldn't be sent back to the minors without going through waivers.
He was great, though, going six outings without allowing a run. And Showalter kept putting him into tougher spots. And he kept surviving.
"I've put him in some pretty tough [situations]. Some of it was by design, some of it was by necessity," Showalter said. "But he handled it, so I keep giving him a little more and he's handled all of it. I feel as good with him in a game as any of our guys."
That intrigued me. And so did the guy's look: the tattoos, the mullet, the quiet nature. I had a chance to do a couple interviews with him and I was even more intrigued. He's funny in an understated way. He has a story of perseverance that included a year in independent baseball and a suspension for taking Adderall without a prescription.
There's also other things about him.
He was the Rockies' supplemental first-round draft pick in 2005, the club's second pick that year behind Troy Tulowitzki, who was taken seventh overall.
Roe went to the same high school in Kentucky as major league outfielder Austin Kearns and former big league pitcher Joe Cowley, among others.
His dad played three years as a defensive end/linebacker at the University of Kentucky, once tackling Herschel Walker. Roe's great uncle is baseball Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski, who was the 1960 World Series hero for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
So here's the story on Roe and here's a look at one of the best pitches I've ever seen, a nasty slider he threw to Russell Martin in Toronto last month. It's one his teammates are still talking about.