The kid of the class
Indians' top rookie has plenty to adjust to outside of baseball
To get to know him is to find he's just another 23-year-old kid.A kid in a long-distance relationship. A kid looking to buy a dog. A kid with '80s music on his iPod. Oh, and he's also a kid pitching lights-out baseball in the Indians rotation. It is, at times, still hard for Jeremy Sowers to believe he is where he is. Why, the third batter he ever faced in a Major League game was likely future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. That wasn't exactly the most mundane moment he's ever experienced on the mound. "I was thinking, 'I played this guy's video game when I was 10 years old,'" Sowers recalls. "That was just weird." But Sowers doesn't identify himself solely as a rookie pitcher. Baseball, you see, is what he does, not who he is. So who is he? Well, he's Ashley Duffy's fiancée, for one. The two met at Vanderbilt when Sowers was a sophomore and Duffy was a freshman. He played baseball, of course, and she played soccer. And though they shared a college, their respective schedules and separate hometowns (he lives in Louisville, Ky.; she's from Ashburn, Va.) dictated a lot of time apart. "We're used to the whole idea of phone conversing, which I'm terrible at," Sowers says. "I'm just not like that. She'll talk about what she did during the day in every detail. And I'm like, 'What did I do today? I woke up, ate breakfast and came to the ballpark.' I'm more concise." Yes, his phone conversations are like his pitching performances -- quick and to the point. A bit more complicated are the wedding plans. The two intend to get married on the Outer Banks at the end of 2007, though that's about the only part of the plan in which Sowers is getting his say. "There's all sorts of stuff involved," he says. "I'm definitely a yes man when it comes to that. Her mom is probably going to do most of the work. I'm probably going to be alleviating a lot of stress by not getting involved. I'm not very particular. I can't close my eyes and visualize exactly what I want to see, but there are certain things that aren't hard to agree on." One of those things, sadly, is not the music. Sowers, you see, is an '80s music junkie. He's probably one of few people in their early twenties who lists Journey as a favorite band. He'd like to incorporate his obsession into his wedding reception. That might be a tough sell. "I'm trying to push for some sort of '80s cover band," he says. "I just don't want to hear, like, pop-type stuff or 'The Chicken Dance' or 'The Electric Slide.' But I'll probably end up losing that battle." For now, the couple is battling the difficulties of distance. Duffy's been staying on the Outer Banks with her parents this summer, but she has plans to move to Cleveland to be with Jeremy sometime soon. The problem, however, is finding work for Duffy, who has a communications and political science degree, in the Cleveland area. "Right now, it's more important for us to be together than for her to follow her career elsewhere," Sowers says. "Fortunately, we're in a [financial] position where she's able to look around and not feel obligated to find something right away. But at the same time, you don't want to throw away a Vanderbilt education. She's worked very hard to try to find something."
: : : This Edition: April 04, 2007 : : :
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.