Tanner Dodson just got drafted! Monday night the quiet kid who grew up in West Sac and went to high school at Jesuit went 71st overall to the Tampa Bay Rays.
This is Pat….I first met Tanner when he was a freshman at Jesuit. Tanner was shy and soft spoken. His older brother, Hunter, was playing baseball for Christian Brothers (yep, brothers at rival high schools…more on that later). Hunter was in his senior year and a good catcher. My son Lucas was a sophomore at Christian Brothers, pitching and playing on the same team as Hunter. It was Hunter who took Lucas under his wing, showed him the ropes, and was always encouraging (even when Lucas would have a bad outing). That summer Hunter, Lucas and Tanner played on the same Legion ball team. My favorite memory from that summer wasn’t a particular play, hit, run or win. It was Tanner. Besides having talent beyond his age, he had great game insight. During one game Tanner’s older brother Hunter struck out his first two times at the plate. Both times without so much as taking the bat off his shoulder. He was up for his third time and from the dugout Tanner, age 15, skinny, mouth full of braces and high pitched voice squeaked out, “Hey Hunter, just swing the (expletive) bat!” There was silence for about 3 seconds and then everyone just cracked up. That’s Tanner. (for the record Tanner was the next hitter and belted one against the right center field fence).
Tanner’s dad, Bo, played at Christian Brothers and was drafted into the majors right out of high school. Bo spent 10 seasons in pro ball. Later in life Bo became a local hitting coach. The last 2 years my son Lucas was in high school he went to Bo for hitting lessons. Every time Lucas had a lesson, there was Tanner. Tanner would be doing homework and waiting for his turn to hit in the cage with his dad.
When you go to Jesuit you don’t like Christian Brothers much. But in baseball with summer leagues, camps, and private coaches, you run into the same young men and families over and over. Lucas’ senior year (Tanner’s junior year), at the big rivalry game, Jesuit vs Christian Brothers, Lucas was pitching for CB and Tanner was the hitter for Jesuit They were smiling at each other and trying not to laugh. They had figured out that they had way more in common than differences.
Tanner completed a stellar high school career and went to Cal to play ball. This year he set a record for most saves by a pitcher in Cal history. And when he wasn’t pitching he was Cal’s starting center fielder. Hit, pitch, throw, run, field….Tanner is what pro scouts call a 5 tool player (and there aren’t many of them). Monday night the call came from Tampa Bay. They were taking him.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 5, 2018
Sunday there’s a going away party for Tanner. I’m lucky enough to have been invited. My son Lucas is going to . He and Tanner will smile, laugh, and reconnect. And then Tanner will be on his way to start his professional baseball career. He’ll do just fine…as long as he remembers the advice he gave his older brother. Just swing the bat!