It wasn't too long ago when Tyler Moore was getting ready for his only season with the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Moore was preparing to talk to a room full of people excited for the upcoming baseball season on Saturday as he was the special guest for MSU's First Pitch/Fan Day celebration at the Palmeiro Center.Â
"It's a huge honor for me," the current Washington National said. "Whenever (coach John) Cohen called me or text me, it was crazy that he even considered my name. I'm very, very blessed to be in this spot."
Fellow major leaguers Mitch Mooreland and Paul Maholm have been the speakers at the last two events.Â
Moore was born in Brandon and played high school ball at Northwest Rankin. He played two seasons at Meridian Community College before coming to MSU in 2008 for his only season with the Bulldogs.
Coming back to campus has given Moore a chance to see all the changes the university has undergone.Â
"It feels good," Moore said. "We were actually driving up thinking about a bunch of memories coming in, (and) laughed a lot. It was pretty cool. It looks like they've done some changes to the some of the facilities. I think the basketball complex is new. It feels kind of like home still and it was awesome coming in."
Moore was drafted three times by the Nationals three times before taking them up in 2008 after being drafted in the 16th round.Â
It took Moore four years to make it the big leagues and even then it wasn't simple to stay up there.
"I got called up I think after 25 games in AAA," Moore said. "I stayed up there for about a month, but I was only getting about 15 at-bats off the bench. One of our catchers went down. We needed a catcher bad, so they sent me down for I think three days. Our catcher got well and they sent me back up. The second time I came back up, I was able to get my groove up under me and it felt more like myself."
Moore took advantage of his second chance with the Nationals. Moore hit .263 with 10 home runs in 75 games. He also had 29 RBI.Â
"It's great," Moore said of being in the major leagues. "It's definitely a different experience. It's everything and more that you expect it to be. It's a business up there and they're all about winning. It's great to compete and it's a fun time. It really is a dream come true."
The Nationals won the National League East and were the No. 1 seed on the NL side of the bracket.
Moore's experience in the playoffs was something he has wanted for a long time.Â
"It was an unbelievable feeling," Moore said. "The veteran guys use to tell me that's what you play for. Seeing it last year, that was literally what you want to play for everyday. It's just an unbelievable feeling. People on their feet from the first inning on. It's crazy."
Down the stretch, Washington D.C. rallied behind the Nationals and made Nationals Park the place to be every night.
"It was electric. It really was," Moore said. "We have a bunch of young, good players. They're fun to play with too. The city wrapped around us. It was just a bunch of energy every single night. It felt like we were playing in a huge baseball town, which I feel like D.C. can get to."
Although Moore is pretty focused on his career, he still takes time to keep up with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. MSU has seen a good amount of preseason hype.
Moore has paid attention to the Bulldogs this offseason and thinks things are heading in the right direction in Starkville under Cohen.
"I'm excited for them," Moore said. "I think they're ranked No. 5. It was special what they did last year. I've seen them a couple years before that when Cohen came in. It seems like they have done nothing but get better and better. It feels like baseball's back in Starkville where it should be. I'm excited for the season."
Moore reports to spring training on Monday. His expectations for the Nationals in the upcoming season are simple.
"Hopefully (we can) win a World Series," Moore said.
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