EVERETT — The dream is almost as old as Ian Parmley himself.
It would come to him in his bed at night as he waited to fall asleep. Or on the ballfield with his friends. Or maybe watching a game on television. For as long as he can remember, Parmley dreamed of playing pro baseball.
So when his name was called in the seventh round of the recent major league draft, “it was probably one of the happiest moments of my life,” said the 22-year-old Parmley, a 2008 graduate of Monroe High School. “It means I get to keep playing the game I love.”
Parmley was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays, who have a Northwest League affiliate in Vancouver, B.C. And on Monday night he had the chance to play his ninth game of pro ball in a familiar setting as the Canadians visited Everett to face the AquaSox.
The game was held at Everett Memorial Stadium where Parmley has played “probably about 70 games” over the years — first in high school, then with Bellevue Community College in games against Everett CC, and then for two seasons with the Everett Merchants semipro team.
“It’s going to be pretty awesome,” he said before Monday’s game. “When I saw that I was coming to play in Vancouver I knew that Everett was in our league, so I was really excited about that. Being able to play in front of my family and friends.”
Parmley is a speedy outfielder who batted .312 this spring in his senior season at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. His speed, his work ethic and his passion for the game drew the notice of the Blue Jays, and he was told before the draft by a Toronto scout that he would likely be picked somewhere between rounds 6 and 10.
The week before the June 4-6 draft Parmley drove home from Virginia, arriving on June 3. He did not hear his name called the first day, but the next day the same Toronto scout phoned to let Parmley know he was about to be chosen.
Moments later he was sitting in front of his laptop computer, following the draft online, and saw his name flash across the screen.
And then a joyous celebration.
“Mom was crying quite a bit,” he said, “but I was just smiling from ear to ear.”
His first pro season has started slowly, which sometimes happens with hitters adjusting from the aluminum bats used at most colleges to the wood bats of the pros. Through his first eight games Parmley was batting .125 with just three hits in his first 24 at-bats, though he leads the team with 14 walks (almost two per game).
“My swing is not where I want it to be right now,” he said, “but I’m just going up (to the plate) and trying to have quality at-bats every time. And I know the hits will come eventually … (because) it’s a long season.”
The biggest adjustment from college ball to the pros is that “the speed of the game is a lot faster,” he added. There are also games almost every day and occasionally long overnight bus rides.
“But our coaching staff is great,” Parmley said. “They’ve helped with the transition really well. They make you feel comfortable, even though it’s pro ball. Since it’s pro ball you think you have to be serious all the time, but that’s not how it’s like. You’re allowed to have fun, so it’s been a pretty easy transition.”
The climb through baseball’s minor leagues is a difficult one, and there are casualties along the way. Organizations like the Blue Jays promote their most talented prospects, but dozens of less promising players are released every year.
Parmley, of course, believes he will buck those odds and make it to the major leagues, as does every other player in rookie ball. That is, after all, the dream.
And for Parmley, so far, “it’s been a dream come true.”