New York Yankees prospect Sean Carley caused quite a stir during this year’s MLB Draft and, in the process, became one of the more popular players selected.
Not too shabby for a guy taken 422nd overall.
You see, Carley is the West Virginia University pitcher who broke the internet because of his striking resemblance to Kenny Powers from HBO’s “Eastbound and Down”. Turns out, he’s more than a mullet and goatee…dude out together a solid collegiate career with the Mountaineers and, before that, Air Force.
HOVG: Over the past few years, you’ve gone from pitching for Air Force to becoming an innings eater for West Virginia and now, a member of the Staten Island Yankees. What was it like getting that call on draft day…walk us through the whole thing.
CARLEY: You play this sport your whole life waiting for a professional baseball organization to call you to play for them. I’ve only been playing baseball since I was 13 years old and until the past couple of days, I didn’t realize how special being drafted really was. I cherish waking up every day and going to the ballpark and putting on my Yankees team gear, and I have a lot of people to thank over my baseball career for getting me to this point.
HOVG: And just how excited were you to get selected by the Yankees…a team that spends their spring not too far from where you grew up in Melbourne, Florida?
CARLEY: One of my goals in the draft was the play closer to home. When I was at Air Force, and even West Virginia, it was hard for my parents to watch me play. Having the opportunity to play close to home means the world to me. When the Yankees called me and told me that they were selecting me, I knew that all the hard work that I put in throughout the years, including recovering from Tommy John surgery, had finally put me in a position to chase a dream.
HOVG: Following the draft, social media exploded, comparing you to fictional fireballer Kenny Powers. Before we get into that, for those of us who didn’t follow your career in Morgantown…how would you describe your game?
CARLEY: My game is very simple…command my fastball on both sides of the plate and throw my offspeed pitches with aggression. I take the mental side of baseball very seriously, and I work pitch to pitch while staying in routine and throwing strikes. I began the season as a starting pitcher, however as our bullpen began to show signs of shakiness I transitioned to the closer role to give my team the best chance to win.
HOVG: But, yeah, back to the whole Kenny Powers thing. It really seems like you have fun with the comparisons…any thoughts on the whole thing?
CARLEY: The comparisons were fun, but in the beginning, it wasn’t my intention to mimic his look. I simply wanted to grow my hair out after coming from a military academy where I had to shave and maintain a clean-cut look. I have thick hair…so as I grew it out it didn’t look good on top, so I cut it, which eventually turned into the mullet. Everyone I was surrounded by seemed to like my haircut and I embraced it. A mullet isn’t a haircut, it’s a lifestyle. There’s expectations that come with a guy that rocks a mullet and it just so happened that I looked like Kenny Powers. The mullet made me stand out. Some would argue that maybe it wasn’t the best way to stand out, however, I am a firm believer that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. And with all the attention I received across the nation from being drafted as a Kenny Powers look-alike, the mullet seemed to pay off.
HOVG: I know you’ve since lost the goatee and mullet, but can we still call you “La Flama Blanca”?
CARLEY: Absolutely. I may not look like Kenny Powers anymore, but nonetheless, the mentality is still there. I’m fucking in, you’re fucking out.