Gary Lee of the Washington Wild Things, was selected for his first All-Star appearance this week.
This season, the right-hander is 3-3 with a 2.27 ERA, the lowest of his professional career since it started with the Aiken Foxhounds in the South Coast League.
"I want to thank God, thank the team, without my defense behind me I wouldn't be able to do it," said Lee. "Without those guys behind me I would be able to keep my ERA as low as it is. It's definitely exciting, I have my family coming out."
The selection comes just a day after he came within an inning and a third of throwing a no-hitter for the Wild Things against theRockford River Hawks.
Gary and wife Jessica also recently celebrated the birth of his first child, a daughter, Kirsten on June 26, the beginning of a whirlwind week and a half for Lee and his family.
"This is probably one of the most exciting weeks of my life," Lee said. "I mean, not this many things have happened all at once to be at such a high level of excitement. It's definitely been unreal. I just thought, ‘man, what else could happen today?'"
As he stepped to the mound on Monday night, he had a keepsake with him that, little did he know, would provide a bit of luck for his evening's performance.
"My wife gave me a piece of her blanket from the hospital that I kept in my pocket," he said. "So did that give meany good luck? Maybe."
After the birth of Kirsten, Lee was able to spend a few nights at home with his newborn and his wife to get a quick taste of parenting before being whisked back to baseball.
"It hasn't been bad, she's been great.The first two nights were kind of tough; she woke up a lot just getting into the swing of things," Lee said. "The next three nights I was at home, she would sleep four or five hours at a time, so we got a good chunk of sleep. So the parenting thing, knock on wood, has been pretty easy so far. I know there will be some trials in the future and I have a lot of mentors that I can go to. "
Once back in Washington,he found he was actually able to get into that pitching mindset quite quickly.
"Well, getting on that plane was hard. It's always hard leaving my wife, and now I have a little girl. Luckily her family is back home," he said. "But if I can't be back home with my wife and my baby I would want to be here. I was a little nervous, not nearly as nervous as when I was in that delivery room, but I was nervous and had a little adrenaline going but it was fun to be back out there. "
His new approach this season has consisted of committing to certain pitches before the catcher even throws down a sign, and not wavering when he sees something he doesn't want.
"We've talked about having that conviction about each pitch. If you go up there and shake ‘yes' on a pitch you don't want to throw, nine times out of ten it's not going to go your way," he said. "It's funny how your body and your mind work; when your mind isn't together with your body things aren't going to work out how you wanted to."
The All-Star Game takes place on July 11 in Normal, Illinois,at the Corn Crib. The home run derby will be on July 10, something that will also be a first for Lee.
"No I don't think I would be able to make a good showing for my team in the home run derby," he said with a laugh.