Sunday discussion: Orf mania in Milwaukee

Published: Jul. 8, 2018 at 8:46 PM CDT
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At 28 years old, Nate Orf finally made his Major League Baseball debut after patiently waiting in the minors for years.

The former Baylor Bear was hitless after his first six at-bats before connecting on his first hit -- an eventual game-winning solo home run -- July 4 off Minnesota Twins' ace Jose Berrios in the Milwaukee Brewers' 3-2 win.

That was his only hit in nine at-bats before being optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs July 7, only to be recalled by Milwaukee the very next day.

KWTX chatted with Brewers radio broadcaster Jeff Levering regarding the undrafted Brewers signee's unforgettable week with the Brewers.

TYLER BOULDIN: "Jeff, take us back to before (Orf's) debut July 2nd. Did you have a chance to see him in the clubhouse? If so, what were his nerves like?"

JEFF LEVERING: "His nerves weren't bad at all. He almost expected to be up in the big leagues and the way he had been playing over the last season and a half, especially this year at Triple-A. He had been waiting for all the other people that had come through Triple-A. He keeps looking for a manager to say, 'Alright, come into my office, I'm going to give you the call.' He finally got the call and put his head in his hands and said, 'Okay, it's about time. Let's go.'

"I had an opportunity to talk to him before the game on our pregame show. He was just excited. He's become a household name in Milwaukee having been on the Major League roster for spring training the last couple of years and playing in exhibition games in big league ballparks, so just to see him get the opportunity it's been so fun to watch over the last week."

BOULDIN: "About a minute after Orf hit his first homer on July 4th, you said that was one of your favorite moments of the season. Why is that?"

LEVERING: "There have been a lot of great moments with this team -- a first-place club in the NL Central. Nate Orf epitomizes the guy who works his tail off to get to where he wants to go. The underdog story, non-drafted free-agent signee that signed for $500. It could've been a thousand. He told the guy that was going to sign him, 'Hey, man, I would've signed for a Snickers bar.' So it cost (the Brewers) an extra $500.

"To see a guy like that work his way up -- him not being a first-round pick, you don't get preferential treatment. He's had to earn everything he's had. That turns into a big league hit, a big league home run, and he's back in the big leagues. It's great to see and the curtain call that he got, riding out on the shoulders of Jose Aguilar and Manny Pina, something that he probably had a tough time doing. Just a great scene at Miller Park on the fourth of July."

BOULDIN: "Yeah, Orf is a humble guy. You've been in Milwaukee for a couple years. How memorable was the crowd when they reacted to him first being called up, to his first hit?"

LEVERING: "There's been a hashtag #FreeNateOrf that's been going the past couple of weeks or past couple of months because he's been playing really well. The crowd has been wanting to see him. Again, he's a household name in Milwaukee.

"Now that they have an opportunity to see him every time he comes to the plate, the crowd starts chanting 'Orf' for him. For a guy that has, what, eight or nine major-league at-bats, now? That's unheard of. It's really cool to see this fan base really embrace him and hopefully he's around for a really long time."