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ESPN - David Nail Feature
Country Singer David Nail "tries" out for Cards
Breakout country singer David Nail's new single is called "Turning Home" which is apropos considering his recent experience "trying out" for his beloved St. Louis Cardinals this spring and having it documented for a web series on CMT.com.
"In my family there was no beach or Disney World for vacation -- just baseball," said Nail, who grew up three hours south of St. Louis in Kennett, Mo. "We'd get a cheap room as close to the stadium as we could, catch a game watching my faves like Willie McGee and Vince Coleman, and then go for a swim in the Holiday Inn indoor pool. It was great."
Nail, who played catcher in high school, became friendly with Cards manager Tony La Russa when he began volunteering for his animal rescue foundation, which prompted La Russa to grant him the look even though he claimed he was more "suspect than prospect."
Nail showed up to their spring training stadium in Jupiter, Fla., without a glove but a grin until he stepped up to the plate against former NL Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter. "He put that first pitch about four inches from my knee and it was scary as hell," Nail said. "I only took about 10 balls and then told pitching coach Dave Duncan I was done."
Nail managed to have more success in the batting cage, making contact with a few lobs under the tutelage of hitting coach Mark McGwire who jokingly surmised that Nail might have a shot with the company softball team.
His one regret was not spending much time with MVP Albert Pujols. "I think number five takes his craft pretty seriously and doesn't have a heck of a lot of time for country singers," said Nail, 31, who lives outside of Nashville with his wife Catherine and their Goldendoodle Charlie.
Nail, who will throw out the first pitch at the Cardinals game Sunday, said the best part of being with the team was the clubhouse down time where pitcher Adam Wainwright would break out into Nelly's "Down Down Baby" in his Georgia twang on the behest of his teammates and when shortstop Felipe Lopez requested that Nail freestyle some country for him.
"I didn't realize Lopez was as stout as he was until meeting him," Nail said after admitting he was a little scared. "I told him I would do whatever he wanted me to do."