Adley Rutschman guesses he was about 8 years old the first time he and his dad talked about teaming up in the Home Run Derby. As Randy Rutschman threw batting practice to Adley through the years and the son grew into baseball stardom, the idea was mentioned every so often -- enough that when Adley got an invitation to participate in the 2023 Home Run Derby, Adley's call to Randy wasn't so much a request as a formality.
And Randy seemed to receive the news as if was just another round of their shared experience. "He was keeping his cool," said Adley, who expects this to continue when Randy Rutschman throws for the first time in such unfamiliar conditions in the Derby: on a major league mound, in a park filled with raucous fans, the pace of his pitches driven by a clock, with father and son competing against some of the world's best home run hitters.
Coincidentally, Randy had already planned to accompany Adley on the last road trip before the All-Star break, through New York and Minnesota, so they made plans to practice together over the weekend and simulate some of the format, with Randy pumping pitches in his metronome style of throwing. "Catcher-esque," said Adley, describing his father's consistent short-arm delivery. Players will tell you that a lot of those who throw the best batting practice are former catchers.