Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Former Red Sox Fan Norton Is A Yankee At Heart For Baby Bombers

STATEN ISLAND, NY -At one time, Tim Norton grew up in Northern Connecticut rooting for the Red Sox along with family and friends. A couple of months removed from being selected by the rival Yankees in the seventh round of the MLB Draft, much has changed for the first-year Staten Island Yankee.

"All my life I lived in Rhode Island and now I live in Mass," he explained after pitching five solid innings allowing just an unearned run along with five strikeouts in a no decision during the Baby Bombers' 2-1 victory over archrival Brooklyn.

"So I've been a Red Sox fan- my family, my boys and the day I was drafted by the Yanks, it all went out the window. I'm totally bought in with the Yanks' organization and it is what it is now. That's the past. Whoever I pitch for, I'm rooting for."

The same can now be said for his family which have converted to Boston's nemesis in support of their favorite pitcher.

"They're all Yankee fans," the 23 year-old said. "They jumped right on and that was that. So family first."

Norton spoke highly of his time spent starring at the University of Connecticut where the former two-team captain led his team to a Big East Championship during his college career along with finishing second all-time on the Huskies K list with 226. He was also All-Big East First team and All-New England First Team this past year.

"I had a great time there," he noted. "A lot of what I know now- not just baseball- is from that program...It was a great time there."

That kind of experience helped him prepare for pro ball not just on the field but off it as well.

"All four years, I was surrounded with great people, great teammates, great coaches and it really helped me settle into myself junior year and senior year. It just worked out. It helped me manage my time. Not just baseball but it helped me grow up a little bit and helped me work on my mechanics and get the right guidance and I had the right people around me."

Despite all those positives which helped him mature as a player, the rookie Bomber starter has noticed a big difference facing hitters at this level.

"I think they have better patience cause they're much more patient," Norton noted.

"One team we played. I think it was Pittsburgh affiliate and they had a kid who hit sixth or seventh and he was hitting three or four in college cause I faced him. They just have hitters that you're used to seeing at the top of the lineup who are now at the bottom of the lineup. So it's more even throughout the whole lineup. You don't get to slack with 7, 8 or 9 any longer that you had in college. They're all good hitters and patient."

So far, Norton's done alright adjusting to the changes with Staten Island. In 10 starts, he's 1-2 with a 3.74 ERA, allowing 43 hits in 43.1 innings while K-ing 48.

The results from outing to outing might not always be there but that's not what he's most concerned with.

"I try not to worry about that too much. If I just do my game and do what I need to do and I should get outs. So if I just execute well, do what I need to do and what I want to do."

One thing Norton's particularly encouraged with is his team's position. After they posted an 8-1 victory at Tri-City to kick off a six-game trip Wednesday, Staten Island improved to 29-20 and tied Brooklyn for first in the McNamara Division.

"We've got some great characters and great guys and I think we're a very promising ballclub. Keep playing ball and hopefully we're in the position at the end of the year to make a run and win."

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