Deep in the imagination of many professional sports fans rests the dream of playing in the big leagues. What fan hasn’t pictured that moment running out onto the field to the cheers of the fans and playing the game they love?
Nathan Patterson, a 23-year-old baseball fan, had a taste of competitive playing back in high school. However, he hung up his glove after senior year because by his own account, he “didn’t have a good arm.”
Despite leaving the baseball diamond, Patterson never gave up his love for the game. He liked to attend both minor league and major league baseball games, and during one of those games, Patterson and his brother decided to have a little fun with the radar gun in a pitching cage. To his surprise, he hit in the low 90s on the radar. He playfully tagged the Rockies on Twitter to let them know he’s available to pitch for them:
— Nathan Patterson (@npatterson_12) August 10, 2018
From there Patterson decided maybe he should actually start to train seriously for a shot at the big leagues. He told Sports Illustrated he started posting videos on an app called FlatGround, which gives unknown players exposure to major league talent scouts. He received a lot of feedback and kept working on his pitching form and speed.
Even after getting hit by a car — seriously! — Patterson didn’t give up. He kept pushing himself to make his baseball dream a reality and even posted a video of himself practicing with his left arm in a cast.
In 2019, Patterson went to Coors Field for a Colorado Rockies game and stepped into the pitching cage. This time, his pitch speed hit 96 mph, and his brother’s video of the moment went viral:
— Christian Patterson (@cpatterson_7) July 15, 2019
This time, the Oakland A’s took notice of Patterson’s talent and reached out to talk to the aspiring pitcher. Two weeks later, on Aug. 1, the unbelievable happened when Patterson signed a minor league contract with the Oakland A’s:
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“How can you not be romantic about baseball” -Billy Beane Words cannot describe this feeling and I cannot thank everyone enough who has been part of this journey so far! My family has given me nothing but constant love and support throughout the last 9 months as I pursue a dream of mine that I’ve had since I was a little kid. It’s been a roller coaster to get here with many challenges and overcoming adversity. I’m grateful for all the trainers, coaches, friends, @rsrbaseball and everyone else who has supported me thus far! And for those who tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams, use that as fuel to work even harder. Because those people are the ones that settle. I’m grateful for the @athletics organization for giving me this opportunity! This story is not over. It is not the beginning. I am writing the next chapters and excited for this journey! Time to focus even more, work even harder, and it all starts with your mindset. Go after your dreams and make them a reality!
Patterson has some words of advice for other dreamers out there waiting on a big dream. Go for it!
“And for those who tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams, use that as fuel to work even harder,” he wrote on Instagram. “Because those are the people are the ones that settle.”
Congrats! That hard work paid off!