Reds' rookie Donald Lutz wasn't born with a baseball bat in his hands, even though he has natural baseball talent. The 6'3" 251 lb. outfielder spent most of his youth playing hockey.
Lutz was hit on the fly by Baseball Cupid's arrow when he accompanied his older brother to baseball practice in Friedberg, Germany. He got a bat in his hand and instinctively used it to impress the baseball coaches. He was 16.
Lutz was born in Watertown, New York to an American serviceman and a German mother.
Hockey was the big sport in town.
The 24-year old outfielder took advantage of an injury to join the Reds, who happened to be in Chicago playing an afternoon game the night the Chicago Blackhawks opened the Stanley Cup Finals at home against the Boston Bruins.
The hard-fought game was the most watched Stanley Cup opener in 16 years. A wide-eyed Lutz had a great seat.
"It was an awesome experience," Lutz said. "I had a difficult time describing it to friends. There was so much energy. I've never experienced anything like that. There were 20,000 people and it sounded like 80,000. Hockey is big in Germany but I've never seen it played with that much energy."
Lutz was captured by the National Anthem.
"They stand up and clap before the anthem," Lutz said. "It was a thrill."
Lutz is familiar with the term 'goon' and the connotation that is attached to the hockey player on the team that looks to intimidate the opposing team.
In a tweet by minor league teammate Ryan LaMarre, who played baseball at the University of Michigan that has a rich hockey tradition (former Reds' thirdbaseman Chris Sabo), Lutz was "still a goon".
"I know what it means and I'm pretty sure he (LaMarre) is a hockey fan but he was referring to the group of us players in spring training. We would get into the games in the late inning and called ourselves 'the goon squad."
|Professionally edited by ML Schirmer|
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