Akil Baddoo was surprised to even be invited to spring training by the Detroit Tigers, but to make the regular season team? A pipe dream. But after having a scorching hot spring training with the Tigers that pipe dream became reality. Baddoo was selected by the Tigers this year in the Rule 5 draft, where one team can pick unprotected players from another team, in Baddoo's case the Tigers snagged him from the Minnesota Twins. Baddoo played 4 years in the depths of the Twins' minor league system, suffered career hampering injury and did not play at all last year due to the minor leagues' covid cancelled season. So, Akil was a long shot at best, but his storybook start could not have been written better, with his very first major league pitch in his very first major league at bat.
The fact that his parents got to witness what Akil did with that first pitch is the icing on the Baddoo cake.
Baddoo gave the bat a little flip, and his excitement was obvious as he rounded the bases. He said after the game he didn't remember what exactly was going through his mind.
"I couldn't tell you," he said. "I was just so happy that I was able to put a good swing on the ball and hit a home run."
The Tigers host a series versus the Minnesota Twins this week. Will Baddoo be extra motivated to beat the team that overlooked him? Stay tuned.