Karl Alzner Is Living Right
Karl Alzner was out to dinner with Jeff Schultz and Eric Fehr last night, and said that baseball wasn't part of their evening plans. Then they saw the lights at PNC Park. As all residents of Half Street can attest, that's hard to resist.
"We just wanted to check out the park," he said.
They bought cheap-o seats. Then they traded up with some Caps staffers, and wound up in the lower bowl on the third-base side, within shouting distance of the field. A foul ball landed one section over. The drama began.
"I told Schultzie and Ferhsie that we were gonna get one," Alzner said today. "And sure enough, a couple batters later it was coming for us. And I said, 'Schultzie, this one's mine,' and it bounced probably six, seven eight rows in front. I didn't even move one hand. Right in my chest." (See also here.)
Of course, he texted a photo of himself holding the baseball to his girlfriend, and to Hershey teammate Sami Lepisto. Lepisto accused him of buying the baseball and staging the photo. Alzner, though, didn't catch the ball by accident; he was a star catcher in youth baseball for years before giving it up for hockey, even though his mom thought he was more natural on the diamond. And he never wanted to be a catcher, either.
"Because I hated squatting down all the time between pitches," he explained. "I just didn't like always having to get up and down, up and down, I'd see the other guys in the field just standing there, and I had to do all the work. I think I was jealous."
He wanted to be a third baseman, because he "wanted to have the balls coming to me." Should have just bought a ticket and sat down the third base line.
Anyhow, this is an odd time for Alzner. He's emotionally invested in the Hershey-Wilkes-Barre series, in which he's played, but he's here with the Caps in Pittsburgh for a series in which he hasn't.
"I was thinking about that last night, it's kind of funny," he agreed. "Down there you're so into it, you're one of the guys, and then here you're not. But I obviously understand the situation. All these D are pretty unbelievable, and they've proven themselves. I'm a young guy; why not put a guy who's a little bit older?....It's fine. I've had a smile on my face since I've been here and I love playing those games after practice, too. Because I see the guys play them all the time and I never do it, so it's cool. The quick shots, the breakaways, the last pucks, those kind of stuff."
in other words, yeah, he's not having a bad time.
"I was on top of the world just being around the building," he said, "seeing how intense everybody was, the media, the security guards even. Everyone was so into it, talking-- good luck, do great--all this stuff. I was like, 'Thanks, I'm in my suit, but thanks anyways.' "
I asked him if he had trouble sleeping the night after Game 2, and he said sort of, though it was actually harder the following night. See, he and his girlfriend have brought their miniature wiener dog Murphy down to D.C., and when Murphy hears the other hotel guests rising and shining around 6 a.m, he just can't stay quiet any longer.
"He growls, even though he's little," Alzner noted. See, this is another advantage to road games.
Anyhow, right now Alzner is napping and preparing for his normal routine, because he's told there's a chance he'll be needed tonight. As for the baseball, it's on the floor of his hotel room.
"I tossed it there," he said. "I don't know, I'll bring it home and we'll play baseball with it."
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