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Nope. They moved to Bradenton for Dillon, a 17-year-old shortstop. And for Hutton, a 15-year-old second baseman. The family moved to Bradenton to further the baseball educations of the oldest two boys. Dillon, a high school junior, and Hutton, a freshman, are enrolled in the baseball program at IMG Academy. They are full-time students and full-time ballplayers. Dillon and Hutton will not be mowing bumpy municipal ball fields anytime soon, but they take ground balls all year long.
At Souderton Area High, Moyer played golf in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. On warm May days he'd smell the cut grass through the open windows of his world cultures class and fantasize about called third strikes. In the summer he'd work and play American Legion baseball and pickup basketball and squeeze in nine holes at the public course in the fading light.
Moyer lives in two worlds, the world of his memory and the world he's actually in. "I grew up blue-collar, my kids are growing up in a major league environment," he says. "As baseball players I want Dillon and Hutton to have the best possible coaching. Access to experts in nutrition. Weight training. Good competition. Exposure. They've said they want to see how far they can get in baseball. I'm fortunate to have the means to help them."
The thing about the IMG baseball program, or any program like it, is that it can't teach passion. Moyer knows his baseball-playing boys will put in their hours. Like a veteran scout he's looking for other signs. He's looking for the thing that got him to the majors.
One day during spring training the father needed to get Dillon and Hutton in a car, due somewhere for something, as per usual. He couldn't get the boys out the front door. They were watching a tape of the '93 World Series, the Toronto Blue Jays versus the Phillies, a sad Philadelphia story. "C'mon boys, let's go," the father said over the play-by-play. He was louder the second time. Still they didn't hear him. They were lost in Mitch Williams's pitching foibles. The father saw their passion. They reminded him of someone.
OR IS it three worlds? There's the Souderton boyhood Jamie Moyer carries under his cap. There's his everyday life in the bigs. And then there's his wife's world, without borders.
For Christmas last year, at Karen's initiative, the Moyers did not exchange gifts. Instead, the family spent a week in Guatemala, handing out boxes of diapers at Yenifer's former orphanage, delivering gifts at a hospital for children with AIDs, visiting families living in tin huts on the edges of the vast, foul Guatemala City dump, bringing them fresh bread and Christmas cheer in the second language of the Moyer family, Spanish.
Dillon and Hutton were struck by how happy so many of the Guatemalans seemed to be, despite the wretched poverty the brothers saw. They were amused to see their father walk up to a Guatemalan man wearing a Ryan Howard road jersey and introduce himself, not as the starting pitcher in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series, but as a guy who grew up in Souderton and had rooted for the Phillies before he played for them. Both men, it turned out, had gone to the Phillies' 1980 World Series victory parade.
Jamie took a train from Souderton to the city for that parade, and Jamie will take the rest of the Moyer Nine to Souderton on some off days this summer, as he does every year, to visit his folks. He'll show Dillon and Hutton (and anybody else who gets in the car) the borough pool to which he used to ride his five-speed Schwinn. The route he'd walk to school in his hightop Converse All-Stars from the Moyer house on Fourth Street. The places he worked on Main Street. The various bumpy fields of his youth.
The father wants his young ballplayers to know, really know, that good things can come from bad hops and that not every clubhouse has carpeting, air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, World Series photos. But if you get there, if you work your way there, fighting odds and expectations all the while, it's exceptionally cool.