Good Sports: Marcus Walden

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Fresno's Marcus Walden grew up coming to Chukchansi Park, which was then called Grizzlies Stadium. (KFSN)

"I was out here shagging BP Friday night and it kind of hits you," the Sacramento River Cats right hander said. "Like man, I've come a long way since high school and be able to come back to Fresno and pitch in front of my home crowd."

The 25-year-old right hander starred at Central high school and Fresno City College, then spent his entire minor league career on the eastern half of the country until the Oakland A's picked him up in April. His first reaction?

"Awesome," Walden said without hesitation. "Probably a happier day than even getting called up. Knowing that I'm going to go back home, the first thing I did was call my wife and call my mom. And they both were too happy for me. They knew they were going to be able to see me a lot."

And even though he was pitching for the visiting team, Walden said he could feel the support overflowing from the crowd.

"I could hear it," admitted Walden. "I try not to look up at the stands a lot. Not because I don't want to acknowledge the people, it's just that's my time I'm thinking and reflecting on what I did for my day of work for the five days I get to prepare for it."

It wasn't too long ago Walden himself was watching the pros as a teenager with big league aspirations. Now he's a role model for Central Valley youth.

"It depends on what you want to put your mind to," said Walden. "A lot of it is keep working hard, surround yourself with great people, and you'll find yourself in the right position."

With one last message for the hometown faithful that gave him a standing ovation when he exited Monday's game.

"Thank you very much for coming out and supporting me," Walden said. "A lot of them were from the Central area and I really appreciate the support."

It may say Sacramento on his jersey, but Marcus Walden is a Fresnan for life.

Related Topics:
sportschukchansi parkgood sportsbaseballFresno - Downtown
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