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That blessed right arm?
He swings it around to the plate at about knee-level, prompting ribbing from teammates that he’s a glorified softball pitcher. Throughout his career, his fastball has averaged just 86 mph.
That collegiate baseball career?
He went to the University of Florida on an academic scholarship and was cut from the baseball team as a freshman walk-on. He tried again his sophomore year — after developing a funky side-armed delivery refined in a summer beer league — and eventually became the Gators’ closer.
That major league career?
He was signed as a fifth-year senior, luring him away from plans to be a plastic surgeon or a veterinarian. He has been waived by three organizations. And he’s had to overcome a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder in 2008, a torn labrum in his hip in 2011 and, most recently, soreness and tingling in his fingers that cost him most of this month before cortisone injections last week helped him return to the mound Thursday.
Oh, and that beautiful blond wife?
That’s Fox News reporter Elizabeth Prann, whose career may be more high profile and hectic than her husband’s. In some circles — like when she introduced him to the country’s former first couple, George W. and Laura Bush — he’s Mr. Elizabeth Prann.
Dust off the baseball stereotypes and there’s so much more to O’Day — from that unconventional pitching motion to his fans joyously chanting a surname that, technically, isn’t even his.
To paraphrase a popular beer commercial, O’Day may be the most interesting man in the baseball world. At the least, he’s one of its brightest dudes with one of its most refreshing stories.
“He is different than everybody because he is smarter than everybody,” says fellow Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter. “I think I can honestly say that. He is just flat-out smarter than everybody else. That’s what makes him so unique.”
“A fake Irish-Polish man”
Start with the name: Darren Christopher O’Day.
A good Irish boy from Florida.
The name is on his birth certificate. It’s the melodious ole-rhyming surname fans chant — “O’Dayyyyy, O’Day, O’Day, O’Dayyyyy” — whenever he enters a game.
But his family name is not O’Day. It’s Odachowski. It was changed decades ago.