Scherzer excited for homecoming
D-backs right-hander grew up a diehard Cardinals fan
ST. LOUIS -- Max Scherzer considers himself to have been a Cardinals fan at birth. He attended the 1985 World Series, although he couldn't have told you much about it at the time. That Series came just a few months after Scherzer's first birthday.
"My mom had me dressed up and carried me in for Game 4," Scherzer said.
Now, Scherzer is 24 and about to pitch for the Arizona Diamondbacks in his hometown, against the club he grew up idolizing. Scherzer draws the start for the Diamondbacks on Wednesday and will be matched against Adam Wainwright.
"It's a dream to be able to pitch in Busch Stadium," Scherzer said. "I started going to Cardinal games as a little kid. That's how I developed my love for the game, by watching the Cardinals every day. I grew up as a diehard Cardinal fan."
Scherzer, who attended Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield before going on to become a star pitcher at the University of Missouri, had left 55 tickets for family and friends at last count.
"There's probably going to be another 30 people coming on top of that," Scherzer said. "It's going to be pretty cool."
Scherzer was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 43rd round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft coming out of high school. The decision to attend college and develop his skills there paid huge dividends when Scherzer became the 11th overall selection in the 2006 Draft.
By the time Cardinals manager Tony La Russa took over in 1996 and began producing a cluster of playoff teams, Scherzer was old enough to take everything in at the original downtown Busch Stadium.
"My father had season tickets and we sat in section 240," Scherzer said. "Row 12, seat 12. The Cardinals always played the game right. When you're in middle school through high school and seeing the great players go through there, it leaves a big impression on you."
Scherzer's favorite Cardinal was Ozzie Smith.
"We'd watch a Cardinal game and then go out in the backyard and try to play like Ozzie," Scherzer said.
Besides pitching in his hometown before friends and family, Scherzer will be trying to help keep Arizona on the Dodgers' heels in the National League West.
"It's special in a lot of ways," Scherzer said. "But when I step on the mound, it's all about helping the Diamondbacks win a baseball game. That's what I'm here to do."
Bob Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.