Drew Storen, Reggie Miller and Gordon Hayward
Next week, Nats reliever Drew Storen will auction off a date with himself to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The Monday night live auction -- which supports Nats communications manager Lisa Pagano's Woman of the Year campaign also includes lunch with John Lannan and Craig Stammen at ESPN Zone, a golf outing with Tyler Clippard, a professional portrait with Ryan Zimmerman, and an in-studio segment with Mike Wise, which I thoroughly plan on winning since he never invites me on his stupid show.
But date night with Storen at Clyde's seems like a particularly large step for a ballplayer to take.
"Usually it's the other way around, usually I have to pay people to go on dates," Storen joked. "I know it's a good cause and I know how important it is; it's easy for me to help out. And if the company's bad, at least the food will be good."
To help prepare the potential winner for some non-awkward conversation -- and go buy tickets, by the way -- I figured I'd provide a few talking points that don't involve Storen's baseball career.
He's pals with Reggie Miller
Look! There's photographic evidence! Drew is on the left, "rocking a pretty sweet USA jersey," as he noted.
Storen's father, of course, was the sports director of the local CBS affiliate in Indianapolis, so that meant Drew got to meet some of Indiana's biggest athletes. Reggie Miller was atop that list. Storen would often play H.O.R.S.E. with Miller when he would accompany his dad to early shoots at Market Square Arena
"We actually never played H.O.R.S.E., we would always play R.E.G.G.I.E.," Storen corrected himself. "I got waxed every time. He's not a bad shooter."
Reggie and Fred Hoiberg actually showed up for Drew's 8th birthday party and played around with the kids in the swimming pool and on the basketball court.
"At the time, I didn't realize what a big deal it was, because it was just Reggie," Storen said. "Looking back, though, it's kind of ridiculous."
He's pals with Gordon Hayward
Ok, you've probably heard this one before, but still. Storen grew up a couple doors down from the Butler star, who's projected to be a late Lottery pick in this month's NBA draft. Hayward was a year younger, but they were high school teammates, with Storen a shoot-first point guard and Hayward a quiet shooting guard who never demanded the ball.
"I got in trouble for shooting too much," Storen admitted. "The funny thing is, he's a star, and he's a pretty shy player. He showed siggs of what he can do, but he's a very unselfish player. He didn't care; it was mainly the coach. But he's one of the most humble, down-to-earth kids. Talk about someone who has their head on straight. Just an unbelievable kid all around."
They were about the same height when they first became teammates, but then Hayward "decided to grow a foot and become a superstar," Storen said. "Once I realized I wasn't going to get any taller, I figured I'd stick with baseball. Worked out ok."
Throughout his basketball career, Storen also played against Michael Conley, Greg Oden, Josh McRoberts and virtually every other star to come out of Indiana.
"I guarded Eric Gordon," he said. "Or tried to. I held him to 30. Had no chance."
He gets asked about Stephen Strasburg more than himself
"100 percent," Storen said. "I joke with Strass that I should be getting a cut from our PR department, because I've done so many interviews about him. But that's part of it. I'm glad. It gets me more attention. I'd probably just fly under the radar without him. The fact that I've been in his shadow gets me more attention."
Storen then pointed to the example of Reds rookie pitcher Mike Leake, who's 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA.
"Compare the press that he's gotten to me," Storen said. "I haven't done anything close to what he's done, but you don't hear much about Mike. It's just a different dynamic, but I don't mind it. It'd be different if I didn't like Strass. He's such a good guy and I like him, so I don't mind talking about him."
He has no idea what Tuesday night will be like
"I can't imagine," he said, of Strasburg's debut. "It was nuts in the minor leagues, and the minor leagues don't get like that. People don't go nuts to see a player in the minor leagues, they go nuts for cheap beer and fireworks, so I can't imagine what it's gonna be like at this level.....
"We want Strass to do well, but we want to win, and we want to play well once those fans come out, so we can get them to stick around. We have a great stadium, we have a great team, and we want to become a consistent draw, instead of just once every five days for him."
(Awesome photo via Storen's childhood friend Hunter McDowell, on the right.)
June 3, 2010; 1:48 PM ET
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