Saturday February 4th, 2023

Interview with Resmondo pitcher Andy Purcell by Bob Ellis

Andy Purcell
by Bob Ellis
For at least the past ten years, there is but one name you hear when talking about the "Best"—-Andy Purcell.   Let's face it, guys, when you are talking about pitching at the highest level of softball you think: (1) Andy Purcell, and (2) Whoever pitches at that level must be crazy!!
I have met, spoken with and now interviewed Andy Purcell, and he is not "crazy".   Actually, I found Andy to be pretty normal, has a sense of humor (at least with my jokes) and definitely knows softball.   Nothing new here….but when bringing up certain subjects, Andy got interested, and we did go over a few subjects:

Umpires.  Those in the know, or have seen the Major teams play, know there is a sense of gamesmanship at that level; you need every bit of an advantage that you can get.  When you are arguably the best ever to step on the hill in softball, this "gamesmanship" can go to an "art form"… the "Picasso of Pitching" knows all too well. Just ask his competition.  Seeing Andy at the USA/Canada Border Battle last year, there was a play at the plate, and Purcell was called out at home on a very close call.  Now, how many of you who watched that game thought AP would jump right up and argue the call?  ALL OF US…but, he did not—which tells you Mr. Purcell knew the severity of this huge match up between the best in the US, vs the best from Canada. He was representing the United States of America…that's why.
Oh, in USSSA, he would go crazy you say?  It's called "Gamesmanship"–and any pitcher playing the upper levels of softball would do the very same thing, for the most part.  Come on, now, we all KNOW that pitchers are a "different breed"—you have to be to have 110 mile an hour rockets buzzing your head, and still come back out every inning. No disrespect to any other position, but good pitching beats good hitting…everyday.  "I would be crazy not to get every advantage I can get; when I might complain about one pitch, it could be another pitch I am trying to get the call on".  Tells you a lot about the competitor in Purcell.  Also, being Andy Purcell, some umpires won't give Andy strikes that other pitchers get, as some umpires will try to "even the playing field".
Hitting.  At this writing, for conference players with more than 175 plate appearances, Purcell leads the conference in hitting with an obp of .807122 runs scored, 40 hr's and 127 rbi's. I asked Andy how much he hits per week: "I hit at least three times a week, but usually 4 depending on when we leave for a tourney"; It is amazing how much it's helped me over the last four years to hit bp as much as possible—yeah it's underhand but you still have to practice".  To that I say…if it's just underhand, how come everyone does not hit .800 plus?
His career.  Won a baseball National Championship playing for Lewis & Clark State, and after he was done with baseball, started played league ball….and fell in love with the game, and the competition it brings out.  When I asked Andy how many rings he has won, he said: "I truly dunno, I just want to win every tournament my team plays in".  I think it's safe to say that Mr. Purcell has won a bag of rings…
Best softball player he ever saw play:  " That's a real tough one–if you mean all around softball player, it would have to be Todd Martin—he could do absolutely everything and made the game look really easy; for a hitter, Jeff Wallace has to be one of the top five hitters of all time", and "Junior is the best shortstop I have ever seen" 
Favorite baseball team/player: "I pretty much root for the Giants and the A's, but now I root for Colorado, because I actually coached their shortstop from nine years old through high school." (Author's note: Troy Tulawitzki)
Favorite saying while playing: "I say YESSIR a lot when good things happen for our team"–I will go out on a limb and guess you do NOT want to hear Andy say that against YOUR team.
Advice for up and coming players: "I would always tell anyone about playing to ALWAYS PLAY HARD, give everything you have for that 2 hours, and it will make you a better player and earn the respect of your teammates……also: "NEVER QUIT"
"Never quit??"  I am thinking a fair amount of softball players cannot wait until Andy Purcell finally calls it quits………but don't hold your breath

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