The Nola brothers keep their parents on the go


Special for Infobae of The New York Times.

SAN DIEGO— The game was over and it was time to catch another flight. This was early in the morning, so maybe he was going to get some sleep after another exciting afternoon of competitive baseball, with constant score changes and alternating streaks.

No, I’m not talking about Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies.

I’m also not referring to Austin Nola of the San Diego Padres.

It’s her parents who have been overwhelmed by logistics, while losing sleep and logging an impressive number of frequent flyer miles this month. As they headed to another airport on Wednesday night, this time to return to Philadelphia after San Diego’s 8-5 win that had “Nola’s” signature all over it, AJ and Stacie Nola already they were becoming as familiar with flight attendants and baggage carousels as they are with skyboxes and counting balls and strikes.

“A whirlwind,” said AJ Nola. “These days have been a whirlwind. I have traveled more than in my entire life.

So far this month, their itinerary has taken them from their home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to New York City to watch the Austin Padres in a wild card series against the Mets. They then took off for St. Louis to watch Aaron start a game in the wild-card series between the Phillies and Cardinals before heading home for a couple of days. They returned to Philadelphia for the Phillies’ division series against Atlanta, then returned home and then traveled to San Diego for the National League Championship Series. And they keep moving.

“It’s been a fantastic experience,” said AJ Nola. “I could go on and on, but it’s amazing. It’s an amazing feeling. The boys have worked very hard for this moment, and I am very proud. Words can’t even begin to describe how proud I am.”

On Wednesday, AJ Nola was wearing a brown Padres jersey with a white striped Phillies jersey over it. The Phillies jersey was open so the San Diego jersey could be seen. Stacie was simply wearing a blue top with blue shorts.

“I’m neutral,” Stacie stated.

Neutral, perhaps, but nervous. Both parents agreed that while AJ is calm and focused on the game, Stacie is the parent who gets upset.

“I’ve always said that if she were a smoker, she would smoke two packs of cigarettes a game watching her kids,” AJ said. “Thank God she isn’t.”

Only five previous times in postseason history has he had siblings on opposing teams. The most recent time was when Sandy Alomar Jr. (Cleveland) and Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (Baltimore) met in an American League Division Series in 1996 and then again in the American League Championship Series. of 1997.

Game 2 of the series here in San Diego was the first time in postseason history that brothers had met as batter and pitcher.

Aaron, 3 1/2 years younger, dispatched Austin by forcing him to ground out to third base in the second inning. But Austin got his revenge and more, when he hit a 0-ball, 2-strike count downstretch pitch to right field on a beautiful hit-and-run play that saw Ha-Seong Kim rocket from first base. base until reaching home plate safely. It was a key moment in San Diego’s 5-run eruption in the fifth inning that changed the game. The Padres sent 11 batters to the plate during that reaction and sent Aaron to the showers.

Austin then hinted that he might already have a Christmas present for his brother thanks to this day, but stated that he had to see how the rest of the series would end first. Before Wednesday, Austin was 1-for-6 against his brother. Aaron struck him out the first time they met and then proceeded to store and wrap up that ball, which he gave Austin for Christmas.

“Austin started laughing,” Stacie said. “He said, ‘I knew you were going to do that.'”

“I think I gave it to my dog,” Austin joked about the ball at a recent news conference.

Both played college baseball at Louisiana State University (LSU). Austin played there four seasons and Aaron three. The Tigers won the College World Series in 2009, during Austin’s freshman season.

AJ coached both of them as kids during their ninth grade in high school. From the beginning it was clear that both had talent. Their careers “really took off at LSU,” he said.

“When I was in high school, I used to watch his Little League games,” Austin said of his brother. “He always dominated, but I was like, ‘That’s because it’s Little League, right?’ There’s no way he can do this at the collegiate level.”

“But then he came over and pitched against us, broke my bat and struck out the next two batters. There I said to myself: ‘This guy is good. He’s really good.’”

Austin is the more outgoing of the two, according to his mother.

“Austin is the great prankster. He is very expressive,” Stacie said. “Aaron is quieter, unless you talk to him about his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter truck. He modified the entire interior, and he, his fiancée and his two dogs travel there. He can talk for hours about it.”

The boys’ parents spent Saturday celebrating the Phillies’ advancement to the NL Championship Series in Philadelphia, then returned to their hotel to watch the Padres play the Dodgers. AJ Nola said it was around 2:00 a.m. ET when he realized the significance of the Padres’ win.

“I looked at my wife and said, ‘One of our guys is going to be in the World Series,'” he said.

Fortunately, AJ owns his own remodeling and construction business and Stacie doesn’t work, so the Nolas have had the flexibility to follow their children’s development into a family dream.

“I think AJ has only worked about three days in the last three weeks,” Stacie stated.

And not to mention sleep.

“Terrible,” AJ said. “I’m betting on a couple of scenarios: If the Padres win, I want the Astros to get the AL championship because we only live about a four-hour drive from Houston.”

“If the Phillies win I want the Yankees to win because then the World Series would just be a train ride.”




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