By Rogelio Macias/PHR National Finalist
Rogelio Macias of Cudahy, Wisconsin, is a 2012 Aquafina Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run National Finalist. Rogelio shared his Pitch, Hit & Run experiences with MLB.com.
Right after I was announced as one of the Pitch, Hit and Run National Finalists on MLB Network on June 24th, I was told that I would be flying out to Kansas City. When I was at the airport I didn't know what to expect or what my week would look like or entail, but I couldn't worry about that because all I was thinking about was that my plane being delayed so I got side-tracked for some time thinking "when are we going to leave the Milwaukee airport?!?!" The next thing I knew the plane was at the gate. My father and I got on the Southwest plane and enjoyed the very smooth ride. I remember thinking "I have to practice! When am I going to practice? Where am I going to practice?" I was starting to get nerves the closer we got to Kansas City. When we finally got to Kansas City it was late, I was tired, my nerves were shot and I was hungry. I practiced hitting and pitching out in the field the next day next to the hotel and later on that day we worked out and went swimming. It was enough to get us through the day and help calm down my nerves.
For our first official activity, we went to a great welcome reception where I met the other finalists. What I liked best about this dinner was that it was a chance to talk with each other both one-on-one and in groups. I met new friends: some my age and some way younger than I am. I got along with all the finalists, which made it easier to compete. At the welcome reception we each received a bag of a whole bunch of goodies such as hats, towels, baseballs, shirts, hard hat and so much more. My dad and I went through all the items later that night, then I laid them out and took a picture that we sent to my mom.
The next morning we went to a V.I.P MLB All-Star Brunch. It was in a fancy ballroom with beautiful decorations. While we were eating, the MLB mascots walked in and goofed around like they normally do, but when Bernie the Brewer saw me, he gave me a big hug. He found out that I was the only Brewer competitor that made it to the finals. He seemed excited for me. It was funny to me because I didn't expect him to know where I was from or which team I represented. It was a great brunch, we got tons to eat and had so much fun. After that we went to MLB All-Star FanFest 2012. I had fun doing the activities they had set up such as stealing a base to get a Taco Bell hat that looked like a taco. I took a picture with the hat on ... I looked good!
Then we went to the Kauffman Stadium to compete. As I walked down to the field, my nerves came back all over again and my hands were sweating. Then it was my turn: I batted, ran, and pitched 3 out of 6. I remember thinking just yesterday at practice I hit 6 for 6 in pitching, but I came to realize I was ok with it. I shook it off and when I found out I was the National runner-up for the 13/14 year old division, I was fine with that too. I was just so happy to be able to experience being in Kansas City, going to the Home Run Derby and taking in all the All-Star Week activities with my best friend, who also happens to be my father. We got to see some of the players and their kids, we took pictures and received some autographs, we got to talk with pro baseball players ... I was so excited, I was just smiling from one ear to the other the whole trip. Last thing we did that day was stay for the Home Run Derby. We got to be in the field and catch the fly balls. I was lucky enough to get one of Prince Fielder's home run balls and at the end of the game I was lucky enough to get 4 signed autographs including Fielder himself. That was a great day for all of the kids involved.
The next day was a big day for the finalists. Our day started off with a trip back to FanFest, but this time we got some much-needed free time. My surprise for the day was the Negro League Baseball Museum. It was so sad to see what they went through and even though they didn't get into the MLB they kept playing even when they we told not to. Their stories have inspired me to appreciate baseball even more. Afterwards we were headed back to the hotel for some free time before going to the All-Star Game that night. During our bus ride back, an announcement was made that they wanted to give away two jerseys to two kids that showed great sportsmanship throughout the whole trip. The first prize was handed out to one girl in the 11-12 year age group, and the boy was from the 13-14 year age group. I was so surprised that it was me! They said I always had a smile on my face and how I watched over the little kids. I was very proud. The last thing we did was go to the All-Star Game. We watched the game and then as we got off the bus to go back to our rooms for our last night and we all said our goodbyes. I said goodbye to all the little ones and the older boys and told them all I'd miss them! What a trip!
Part OneMy name is Rogelio Macias and I live in Cudahy, WI. When I was younger my uncle signed me up to play baseball at Felix Mantilla Little League in Milwaukee. My father didn't really want me to play, but was open-minded to the thought of me playing baseball. I started playing, and to my surprise, I was pretty good. I enjoyed playing for the Felix Mantilla team for a few years, but when I was 9 years old my father decided it was time for me to play baseball in my community of Cudahy. I made the team and at first I struggled with my hitting. I was doing great in the infield and outfield, but I just couldn't hit the ball and I became the team's bench warmer. My father knew I had more to give and after a year with Cudahy baseball league, I went back to Felix Mantilla where I met my current coach Julian Haliga. Julian has helped me become who I am today by taking the time to work on my hitting, catching, running and pitching. He has opened the door for me to many opportunities, such as training with RBI coaches, which has made me better on and off the field.
As my 13 and 14 year-old season progressed, my coach was approached by Javier from the Boys and Girls Club about the Aquafina MLB Pitch, Hit, and Run competition. He wanted all members of the Felix Mantilla baseball team to try out. My team and I competed that day and after I heard the news that I won, I was pleasantly surprised, but very excited. I felt truly blessed to win the first round. About two weeks later another big day came and it was time to try out for Pitch, Hit & Run again, but this time I was going through the Sectional round of competition. I won again and then the news that I was going to compete at Miller Park, for the state-level competition!
At this point I was really nervous, but my dad always reminded me to just relax and focus. A week later I was standing inside Miller Park competing in Pitch, Hit & Run once again. The two other competitors in my division were very talented, but I kept my cool and trusted my skills. Next thing I knew they were calling the winners ... When it came down to my age group my nervousness really kicked in. As they called a name for third place, it wasn't me ... Then the name for second place, it wasn't me either. I was so happy! I won first place at Miller Park!
A few days later I heard the names for the Pitch, Hit & Run National Finalists would be announced on MLB network. So when the day came, we all sat on the couch, watching MLB Network, waiting until the Pitch, Hit & Run announcement finally came on. First they announced the girls and went from the youngest to oldest. Then they announced the boys, starting with the youngest age group and I patiently waited for the 13/14 year olds. Then it came down to my age group, I started having some doubts that maybe I didn't make it, and I could barely stand to watch. Then all the sudden my family saw my name and at that moment all I could hear was my family cheering. I can't believe I'm going to the All-Star Game for the Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals!!! This, so far, has been an emotional rollercoaster ride for me. I know Kansas City is going to be a trip of a lifetime.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.