McClung heads home for holidays
Brewers pitcher returns to cold climes of Lewisburg, W.Va.
MILWAUKEE -- Right-hander Seth McClung appeared in just about every role possible for the Brewers in 2008. He started the year in long relief, moved to the starting rotation, then into short relief to end the year.But his final regular-season performance is the one that probably stands out to Brewers fans. On Sept. 26 against the Cubs, McClung delivered four scoreless innings in relief of Jeff Suppan and held the Cubs to one hit in a 5-1 win that gave Milwaukee a one-game lead in the race for the National League Wild Card with two games to play.
"By far, this was the biggest game I've ever pitched in," McClung said that night. "For a lot of us, this is the biggest game we've ever played in."Now his role with the Brewers is uncertain again. McClung will be back -- he's arbitration-eligible -- but it remains to be seen how he will be used. The Brewers have only four other big league starters at the moment, and McClung was 4-4 with a 4.24 ERA in that role last year. But the team also needs a closer, and McClung, who has a power fastball and had a 3.67 relief ERA last year, could fit that bill as well. For now, he's enjoying his offseason work with the West Virginia Rush, an athletic program that McClung founded several years ago for kids in his home state. He exchanged e-mails with MLB.com between basketball practices. MLB.com: I saw snow on the field for one of the University of West Virginia's recent football games. What's the weather like there at Christmas time? Seth McClung: The Christmas season back home in Lewisburg, W.Va., is typically on the cold side. It could be anywhere from the negative to the low 40s. It is rare for it to be much warmer than 45 during this time of year. MLB.com: What are some of your favorite holiday memories or traditions? McClung: I have to say that giving out the Christmas stockings in Ronceverte, W.Va., has to be up there. I remember waiting in line for my very own stocking as a child, and now I take great pride in giving to this program and help in handing out the stockings. MLB.com: What is the best gift you've ever received? McClung: I remember the Christmas when we got the first Nintendo. I'm not sure how old I was, but I know my brother, Marcus, had the Nintendo for about a month before Christmas. He was keeping it so my younger brother, Sam, and I wouldn't find it around the house. His safe-keeping included playing it while he was at school at Virginia Tech. When Marcus came home for Christmas, he kept on playing the game system in his room. Marcus would just lock the door so we wouldn't find out. Needless to say, I heard the famous Super Mario Bros. theme burst through the door. Marcus let me stay up late with him and play it as long as I wouldn't tell Mom and Dad he had opened it. I guess this was my favorite gift because we got to spend time together and it was just my brother's and my secret to keep. MLB.com: What is the best gift you've ever given? McClung: I am not really sure. I would like to think I give pretty good gifts. A couple years ago, I got everyone joke gifts and it was very funny, but outside of that, I am pretty consistent with nice gifts to my friends and family. MLB.com: If you could give any teammate a gift, who and what would it be? McClung: I think we will stick to Christmas cards for the teammates. I'm sure Santa is going to be nice to all of them. MLB.com: Do you make New Year's resolutions? McClung: Nah, I am not too big into that. MLB.com: Any year-end message for Brewers fans? McClung: Last year was a blast. Every game, the fans where great and their passion for this team is something that I will always remember. I just would like to say on behalf of all my teammates and myself thank you for all the support and we look forward to next season.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.