For many, rooting for the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl was about Peyton Manning finishing his career on top. Michael Wacha had a different player he was solidly behind–Von Miller.
“100%–it was good to see him get out there and just dominate that game and get the MVP,” stated Wacha. “It was well-deserved. He’s always been working hard at A&M and puts himself in the position to go out there and get that Super Bowl. It’s always good to see that coming from an Aggie, nothing but good stuff for that guy.”
While a handful of NFL teams began honoring their fans as the “12th Man” beginning in the early 1980s, the history of Texas A&M referring to their loyals as the “12th Man” can be traced to a game in 1922.
“It’s a different atmosphere for sure,” said Wacha. “If you don’t go to school there, you probably don’t understand the full magnitude of it. Whether it’s a football game or baseball game, it’s Aggies everywhere. They’re traveling on the road, it’s a pretty awesome thing. I was pretty lucky to go to that school.”
“There’s Aggie fans all over the country,” continued Wacha. “One of the big giveaways is the Aggie ring. Once you’ve had so many hours at the school, you can get your Aggie ring. I see Aggie rings all over the place, whether I’m in the grocery store or wherever. Just to give the friendly ‘Gig ’em’ or just a little ‘Howdy’ or something.”
To earn the ring, one does not have to have graduated from the school but must’ve met several requirements such as minimum 2.0 grade point average and completing at least 45 of 90 undergraduate hours at A&M.
“I would love to go back and get that degree,” stated Wacha, who has his ring but needs about 30 hours to graduate. “It’s definitely something that’s on my mind and something I want to do for sure, just I’ve got to find some time.”
“Our Octobers are a little busy,” he added with a smile, which quickly turned more serious when the subject turned to winning a World Series.
“It’s something that I tasted my first year,” said Wacha. “Just getting beat out in Boston–it’s not a very good feeling and the next couple years coming short as well. It gets tired not being in first place at the end of the season. It’s something you think about quite a bit. Something you want to accomplish.”
For his part, Wacha is confident that his 181.1 innings pitched in 2015 is a foundation to build upon this season.
“I think it’s a learning process from year to year,” he said. “You can’t just throw anybody out there and expect them to get 200 innings and just rack up inning after inning. I think it’s a progression that you have to work towards, so hopefully this is the year that I can make it there and stay healthy throughout the whole thing. That’s what I’m praying for.”
photo credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports