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Five fun facts about Matt Hobgood

Orioles first-round draft pick Matt Hobgood, 18, a hard-throwing right-hander out of Norco High in suburban Los Angeles, signed his contract and was introduced at a news conference tonight at Camden Yards. Hobgood, the fifth overall pick in the draft, received a signing bonus of $2.42 million and will report to Rookie-level Bluefield tomorrow. Here are some things you ought to know about him:

•  Hobgood hates to lose. At anything.

"I get competitive playing a game of Monopoly," he said. "When my (younger) sisters and I play this auto racing game on PlayStation 2, I let them get ahead and then I crush ‘em.

"I like to mess with people, let them think they’re beating me and then go after them. Sometimes in baseball I’ll get a little wild, walk a couple of guys and then tell myself, ‘You’ve got to get it done.’ Then I’ll strike out three people."

•  Hobgood likes to eat. Almost anything.

"I’ve seen him take fourth and fifth servings at a buffet," said D.J. Wood, his best friend from high school. "Matt is a big dude and he can freakin’ eat.

"Once, while hanging out at my house, he said, ‘Dude, I’m hungry.’ So he opened a family-sized box of Fruity Pebbles and had a bowl. Then we went upstairs to watch TV.

"A while later, Matt went back downstairs to get a glass of water. When he didn’t come back, I went down to find the cereal box in the trash and the gallon of milk almost empty. He’d scarfed down the whole thing in five minutes."

•  His nickname is "Arizona" because (1.) Hobgood was born there and (2.) friends say that at 6 feet 4 and 250 pounds, he seems about the size of The Grand Canyon State.

•  At Norco High, where pigskins rule, Hobgood took heat for walking away from football in 10th grade to concentrate on baseball. Here, in Friday Night Lights country, was this moose of a prospect who once stood on the 50-yard line and threw a spiral through the goal posts. So how could he choose not to play?

"We told Matt’s family that he was almost guaranteed a college football scholarship," said Todd Gerhart, Norco’s football coach. Hobgood declined.

"I liked football, but I love baseball," Hobgood said. "I took a lot of crap from the football players for that. But I guess it worked out OK."

The day after the Orioles drafted him, Hobgood said, "the football team was all asking for autographs."

•  As a high school freshman, Hobgood didn’t get much playing time. But that didn’t stop him from trying to get into the game.

Once, in a tight contest, an opposing batter lifted a pop fly that drifted toward the Norco dugout.

"Our third baseman was set to catch the ball," Norco coach Gary Parcell said. "All of a sudden this glove comes out of the dugout and takes it away. There was Matt, with a big smile on his face, proudly yelling, ‘I caught it, coach!’

"I could have killed him."

Norco won the game but his teammates teased Hobgood no end.

"Even this year, every time a pop-up came toward the dugout, they grabbed me to make sure I’d be nowhere near it," he said. "They’ll never let me live that down."

Comments

Now if he could throw it through the goal posts with one knee on the ground, then we could know what kind of NFL career he would have had.

Could you guys please stop telling stories about how much he likes to eat?

Why did we pay this clown 2.5M? Sounds like he's going to look like Sidney Ponson if he ever makes the bigs.

In some ways I can relate to this guy, but talent-wise...well...yowza...this guy is a Freak...in a Good Way!

Welcome to Baltimore, Matt. You'll be a freaking star here! Big Time!

Some people in Baltimore should really take a permanent dip in the harbor. There is so much negative energy. Guys, just cause it says you can comment here, next time, take a pass. Keep it to yourself. Welcome to Baltimore kid. We're not all miserable knuckleheads.

Some people in Baltimore should really take a permanent dip in the harbor. There is so much negative energy. Guys, just cause it says you can comment here, next time, take a pass. Keep it to yourself. Welcome to Baltimore kid. We're not all miserable knuckleheads.

Ok, so the O's drafted a fat high school pitcher who likes to eat and do stupid Steve Bartman things like catching balls when he isn't in the game.

I said from the beginnig this is a terrible pick.

Can anybody say "David Wells" or "Sid Fernandez"?

He is not going to be able to hold up under the Baltimore humidity.

I hope now that he is a professional athlete that the management provides him some tips on nutrition and he realizes that he'll need to maintain his focus and concentration all the time because his caliber of opponent will be consistently higher than in high school. But he seems to be the kind of guy who knows that and also knows that he needs to listen to his coaches so he can maximize his performance.

sounds like a hybrid of kyle boller meets sidney ponson

Can we continue to repeat the lack or knowledge and understanding of participation in sports is HIGHLLIGHTED in Ms Shmuck's DRIBBLED? He does not have enough or anay constitional fortitude to MAKE A RESPONSE!

johnjames, that was brilliantly said. well articulated.

welcome to baltimore matt. we aren't all jerks.

I remember being 18 and being able to eat anything I wanted, those were the days. I have seen his pictures and I certainly don't see a fat kid. I could and can still eat a whole box of Fruity Pebbles and at 6'2" I can't get over 200 lbs so stop hating on the kid and let him pitch. I think McPhail and company have done a pretty good job in the draft so I would assume they know what they got themselves into.Have you seen the list of all the skinny pitchers who have flopped? I bet it is pretty long.

People, there is a difference between being fat and just a big guy. The guy is a beast not a fatty. Just because he likes to eat doesn't mean he's going to be overweight and out-of-shape. When I was 18 I was eating a whole box of ceral in one sitting too and I weighed about 150lbs. Some of you guys just need to settle down and let the kid pitch and see what happens. The talent difference between Hobby and the other so-called highschool "stars" is minimal but the key differentiator is this kid seems to have a good head on his shoulders and just wants to play the game and wants to play now. He doesn't want to hold out just for big money and be a selfish player. I'd rather have a guy with may slightly less talent but be a team player with a good head on his shoulders than a guy who is only worried about himself.

Boomer was 239 and 157. What exactly is your problem with Hobgood having that kind of career?

Sid Fernandez topped 200 decisions in MLB. 114-96 is not what you hope for from a top pick but it isnt a total bust either if that is what he ends his career with.

Since you are picking on fat guys why not point out thtat he also might be like Babe Ruth and win 100 games and hit 700 homers too, yet never cut much of a sartorial figure in his uni.

Wow....ease up everybody!!! He's an 18 year old athlete...of COURSE he eats everything in site. Look, he is in an organization now and I am sure that his conditioning and nutrition will be something that the team monitors, like they would with any player it invests in. Let him go to Bluefield, and lets hope we don't hear about him for 3-5 years when he is ready to help the O's win. Welcome to Baltimore Matt. We wish you the best in what we hope is a long career.

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