WHO: Major League Baseball player Rick Ankiel; USA Today Minor League Player of the Year 1999, Sporting News MLB Rookie Pitcher of the Year 2000.
WHAT: Kir Royale cocktail with Moet Imperial paired with Romano Carpaccio of thinly sliced prime beef and shaved Parmesan, Back Nine Salumi Board with assorted Italian charcuterie and imported cheeses, East Coast Oyster and Gulf Shrimp Shooter, and A Trio of Creme Brulee, with honeybell orange, chocolate espresso and white chocolate.
WHERE: The new iClub Piano Bar at PGA National Resort & Spa | 400 Avenue of The Champions, Palm Beach Gardens | 561.627.2819 | PGAresort.com
1) The first thing I bought with my signing bonus money was: every music CD that I ever wanted. From rock to rap, to country, I went to the Treasure Coast Square Mall in Jensen Beach and just started buying them up. I was definitely feeling the flow.
2) The moment it really sank in for me that I was a 20-year-old kid in Major League Baseball was: the moment I got called up. I was in Memphis (Cardinals AAA affiliate), and both Adam Kennedy and I were called into the manager’s office where he told us that we were both going to join the Major League club. For my entire life, that was the dream, and suddenly in that moment it was REAL, and it was happening.
3) Something most people don’t realize about the life of a Major League Baseball player is: the amount of time we actually spend at the ballpark, the actual grind of every game. For a night game, you show up by 1-2 p.m., and you’re there until well after the game is over. Most people think that we just show up around 6 p.m., and that is definitely not the case.
4) The moment I realized that something was actually wrong with my pitching was: my second start of the 2000 playoffs, once I was taken out of the game. When I was out there I was just focused on making pitches, just trying to get guys out. But I knew something was wrong once I came out of the game and actually had time to reflect on what had just happened.
5) Reflecting on my baseball career, the thing I’m most proud of is: that I found the courage to NOT give up, to actually continue on and come back as an outfielder when everyone and their mother believed that I couldn’t.
6) As a baseball player, and as a human being, I hope that my two sons will know that their dad: had the will and the understanding to follow his dreams, and that he hopes that despite what others may say, they will always follow their heart, and pursue their own dreams.
7) If I had the chance to start over, and do it all over again, I would probably: have played just as much golf as I did baseball when I was younger to have possibly become a professional golfer. In golf, the glory days never end. In baseball, your playing days are numbered.
Having spent his Major League career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Houston Astros and New York Mets, Rick Ankiel joins the iconic Babe Ruth as the only players in MLB history to record 10 or more victories as a pitcher and also hit 50 or more home runs. Ankiel and his wife, Lori, reside in Jupiter, where they are raising two young sons.