IronBirds Christian Walker’s Celebrity Status
By Catherine Winchester
The Aberdeen IronBirds have 2,743 Twitter followers and counting. However, IronBird Twitter followers can’t quite light a match to infielder Christian Walker’s 11,344 Twitter followers; well over half as many as the IronBirds.
Walker’s numbers of followers are more than any fellow IronBird team member. Walker attributes his fame to his time spent playing for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and says that Twitter followers would build as games progressed, adding, “90% of my followers are Gamecock fans, once you get a couple hundred followers you have people who follow them and that spreads pretty quick”.
Teammates joke about Walker’s fame, Outfielder Will Howard even tweeted to Walker and said, “Glad I can be your 11,291 follower #honored #celebrity- I’m happier than you are”.
Walker has been playing in front of a crowd of 8,500 at South Carolina since his freshman year and says that the fans at South Carolina may have prepared him for life as an IronBird, stating that playing baseball at South Carolina “Definitely prepared me and got me used to the games. As far as the lifestyle and all that, it’s pretty similar, come to the ballpark and do what needs to be done and the only major difference is that there is no class or no schoolwork”.
Having a chance to play in the College World Series allowed Walker to bump up his fan base even more and humbly stated that, “you get out there for Media Day and end up with even more Twitter followers”.
At South Carolina, in 2012, Walker posted a .321 average with 48 runs score, 12 double, two triples, 11 homers, a .450 on-base percentage, and a .525 slugging percentage. He was also named to the College World Series All-Tournament Team, the Golden Spikes Award Watch List and Earned first-team All-SEC honors. Walker attended Kennedy-Kenrick high school where he hit .588 his senior season and was rated the number one best high school player in the state of Pennsylvania by PG Crosschecker. Walker was drafted in the 49th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2009 MLB Draft and selected in the fourth round by the Baltimore Orioles in the past June’s First-Year Player Draft.
Walker is enjoying his experience at Aberdeen with the IronBirdsand says, “Guys on the team, the first day I got here, were just curious about what college I went to and all that”. Walker then realized that Outfielder Anthony Vega (Manhattan College) even traveled to the University of South Carolina for the NCAA Regional’s at one point. Walker goes on to say, “Overall it’s been great, we have a great team, great staff and great fans. There is an adjustment period but coaches and staff have been more than helpful with working on my swing and defense and all of that”.
“The objective is to be called up and you have to start somewhere, start small. It’s definitely a reality check just trying to get used to everything, the new lifestyle and all that, similar to college but at the same time there are some differences. It’s definitely been good, it’s been a learning experience and I’m excited to see what else there is,” says Walker.
Walker has a good enough start to his objective, already attaining a major league fan base and obtaining a spot on the IronBirds roster, “the call” is Walker’s next step.