FSNextTV: Tony Anello Interview

FSNextTV: Tony Anello Interview

FSNextTV: Mississippi State redshirt freshman pitcher Tony Anello talks one-on-one with Gene's Page.

I realize that Tony is not a member of this year's No. 2 ranked recruiting class but he has a great story to tell that nobody outside of the MSU baseball team and his family knows about.

The video is premium content but the transcript of the interview is free for all to read.

Last year you tried out for the team not knowing if you had a chance to make it. Why did you decide to try out?
"I came to Mississippi State to go to school here. And I decided to play college baseball. I had a couple of offers from small schools but I didn't really want to go to a school that small. And I wanted a big SEC experience.

"On the first day of school I met with Coach (Butch) Thompson. He asked me what kind of stuff I had pitching-wise. He told me that they had a lot of guys that were real good. He said he couldn't make any promises that I would be here in the fall or spring. But he said I might want to try pitching sidearm and give that a shot since they didn't really have many of those.

"I made a couple of trips home on the weekend. I actually missed our first home football game because I went home to see my pitching coach. We worked on sidearm. I got here for the tryouts and I guess they saw something that they liked because they gave me a shot."

There you were, trying to make the team and throwing from an arm slot that was completely new to you. And I remember you had success in fall scrimmages. What was it like during that period?
"My dad was a college basketball player and my brother was a college baseball player. I just couldn't really live with myself if I didn't give it a shot. I decided to give it one last push and see what happen. If I didn't, then I was still coming here for school."

And you made it happen. How did you find out that you had made the fall roster?
"I first found out that I had made the fall roster. I received an email that said the fall roster was posted on the door of the Palmeiro Center. I rode the bus with one of my friends. He played baseball in high school but he just wanted to come to school here. We rode the bus and I walked up to the door and my name was the third name down."

What was your reaction when you saw your name on the fall roster?
"I felt great but I didn't want to make too big of a deal about it because he loved baseball. I tried to conceal (my excitement) a little bit because I knew he wasn't playing baseball. But my stomach was in my throat. I got back in the bus and the first person that I called was my dad. He probably won't admit it but I think toward the end he was crying a little bit. He was so happy. He had been with me since I was a little kid just teaching me how to play baseball. It has always been my dream to play college baseball. I wasn't even on the spring roster at this point, just the fall roster, but he was so happy that I was doing what I wanted to do."

I am interviewing you and you have the MSU baseball cap on and have the adiddas clothes on. You are on the team. How has this fall being different compared to last fall?
"Last year, even though I was on the team, I was kind of outside looking in. Everyday that I came to the park I was like wow, there are these great players, great coaches and great stands. This year, these players are my teammates, the coaches are my coaches, the stands are my stands. It still hits me when I pull up to Dudy Noble and I see how beautiful it is. But now it is my field instead of feeling like I'm a guest here trying to earn a spot. I'm a Mississippi State baseball player now."

And you have your own locker now. That's got to be a thrill too?
"Yes sir. Last year I just had a little piece of masking tape with my name and number on it and that was where my locker was. This year, when I first walked in, the first thing I looked for was my name plate. When I saw that name plate it hit me deep. It was like, wow, I finally did this. Every little kid wants to play college baseball. And every kid wants to play in the SEC. And they want to play for a team in the SEC that does something. And we have won an SEC (tournament) championship and we made it to the (national championship) finals this year. This is every little kid's dream, and it was my dream. And I'm still living the dream right now."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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