Micah Kellogg's earliest baseball memory dates to when he was about 5 and he joined his father, Kerry, in the yard of their Lakewood home for game of catch with an age-appropriate ball.
''I do remember getting hit in the face,'' Micah said, ''and I saw stars.''
While his introduction to the game was painful, the Southwestern Central School and Jamestown Community College graduate, now 22, is just a couple of weeks away from embarking on a professional career as a pitcher in the Detroit Tigers organization.
Micah Kellogg delivers a pitch for the Jamestown Community College Jayhawks in a game during the 2010 season.
P-J file photo by Scott Kindberg
''I'm just getting more and more excited,'' Micah said Tuesday night. ''I think I'm prepared ... so I shouldn't be nervous. I can't wait to get going and see what the new competition is like.''
Micah, who was signed as an undrafted free agent last September, will report to the Tigers' minor league spring training in Lakeland, Fla. on Feb. 11. To get ready for his first pro experience, he has been following the club's offseason workout program for the last couple of months.
''I'm really impressed how much research they did putting it together,'' said Micah, who also pitched at Flagler (Fla.) College after leaving JCC. ''When I get down there, (the Tigers) will create an individual program for me, so I'm pretty excited about that.''
In the meantime, he's been throwing regularly here and says ''I'll be right on schedule when I get to Lakeland.''
The last time he was there, in late September, Micah participated in a one-day tryout, witnessed by 15 Tigers' personnel from behind a batting cage.
''It was nerve-wracking,'' Micah said.
But when it was over, the Tigers were impressed enough to extend him an invitation to spring training.
Like father, like son.
Kerry - also a SWCS graduate - pitched professionally in 1979 and 1980 for the Jamestown Expos of the New York-Penn League. Later, he was the head baseball coach at JCC for 10 years and even served as the batting practice pitcher for the Jamestown Jammers in 2001. Micah, then about 10 years old, accompanied his dad on the team's road trip to Brooklyn that summer.
When the bus pulled up to the brand-new stadium - then known as KeySpan Park - Micah recalled Kerry ushering him into the players' entrance, through the clubhouse doors and, finally, into the visitors' dugout.
Micah admits he wouldn't mind making another visit to Coney Island this summer. He'd love to return to Diethrick Park in Jamestown, too. If that were to happen, he'd be doing so for Norwich, Conn., a Tigers' Class A affiliate in the NY-P League.
''Hopefully, I can get assigned there,'' he said. ''It would be cool to play there.''
Time will tell.