From Hot Air Balloons To The Major Leagues, Parker Markel Joins The Pirates

Richard Rodriguez was placed on paternity leave Saturday which opened up the spot for at least a few days on the roster

Matt Harkins
August 03, 2019 - 7:25 pm

© Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Prior to the game Saturday night, Richard Rodriguez was placed on the paternity list and the Pittsburgh Pirates called up Parker Markel from Triple-A Indianapolis to take his spot in the bullpen.

Markel has appeared in 5 games in major league baseball out of the bullpen in the 2019 season with the Seattle Mariners as he has pitched 4.2 innings while allowing 10 hits, 9 runs (8 earned), 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. 

He also made 22 appearances with Triple-A Tacoma and was 2-0 with an 2.60 ERA, allowing 21 walks and striking out 44.

Since the Pirates have claimed him off of waivers, he has appeared in 2 games with Indianpolis and Markel is 1-0 in 3 innings pitched and 5 strikeouts.  

"I've been throwing the ball well all year, the only time I've really struggled a little bit at the big league level," said Markel. "Which, you know, it's completely normal I feel like a lot of guys go through it. So, it's easy to relate with a lot of guys here just to talk about it when they first got called up. It's just one of those things, it's a learning process, I've learned so much in the last 5 days of being in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization than I have in a while. So, it's really cool just to have an opportunity again to do my thing."

During his career in baseball thus far, coming up through the minor leagues since 2010, Markel has had a wide variety of off-season jobs to help make a living for himself and his family.

"There was one off-season, this is my 10th year in pro ball, so a lot of minor league years. So, with that a lot of off-season jobs," said Markel. "One of the off-season jobs was working at LuLu for one, it was just one off-season, but with Black Friday there that I can't even compare, that was the hardest day of my life probably, Black Friday there was tough. But, yeah you know the Hot Air Balloon thing, my brother got me hooked up with it for easy cash during the off-season, defintely paid the bills and all that." 

Markel went from being out of professional baseball to making his Major League debut with Seattle in 2019 and it has all been a complete whirlwind for himself and his family.

He has learned a lot from the adversity he has faced and it has helped him grow as a player during his career.

"I feel like I used to put way too much pressure on myself with baseball," said Markel. "You've got to find a good balance in life I feel like between the game and regular, normal life. With everything I've been through the last 3 or 4 years, the last 10 years, kind of helps me deal with just everyday normal life stuff, good or bad. It's definetely grown me up, defintely more mature from it, but yeah man I'm ready to go, I'm excited."

Listen to Parker Markel's entire conversation with the media before the game Saturday below:

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