FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — In the summer of 2008, Jason Donald was 23 years old. He was a minor league baseball player for the Double-A Reading Phillies.
“You’re pushing to get to the big leagues,” recalls Donald. “And that’s what all of our goals were, trying to get two hits that night and not, certainly, Olympics.”
Little did he know, Jason Donald was on the watch list for USA Baseball. And he found out shortly after the Futures Game that he was going to Beijing.
“When we got on the plane and then when we landed, I think that’s when it started to hit that this is a completely different atmosphere,” he said. “I remember the Hungarian women’s water polo team, and they were way bigger and in way better shape than any guy on our team.”
But they did not medal. The U.S. baseball team did, winning bronze. And Donald led the way: a .381 batting average and a .571 slugging percentage, both team highs.
“Looking at that medal, it’s, you know it’s just something unique that’s part of my story,” said Donald. “It’s part of my career.”
And now, after a 12-year absence, being an Olympic baseball player will be part of someone else’s story. Part of someone else’s career.
“That is something that I definitely will be watching just because one, hopefully, they show some highlights of us winning a bronze medal,” smiles Donald. “But it’ll be cool, and it’ll be fun to have my kids watch it with me too because as they’re watching it will kinda make it more real for them, ‘what Dad did.'”