Bryant Nelson is 38 and has seen it all during a 19-year career in which he has played in four countries and for seven affiliated organizations. Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 44th round of the 1993 draft, Nelson reached the majors nine years later with the Boston Red Sox, batting 9-for-34 (.265) while appearing in 25 games. From 2007-08, he played with four different teams in the Mexican League and also appeared in 91 games for the Ducks. Nelson began last season with Rimini of the Italian Baseball League before signing with the York (Pa.) Revolution, which he helped win an Atlantic League Championship.
How did the opportunity to play in Italy come about?
"I went over there with the Long Island Storm in 2007, and I did pretty well. They offered me a contract last year, and I said, 'Hey, why not?' It was a great experience off the field, but baseballwise, playing only three games a week was an adjustment."
Compare the Italy experience to your time in Japan (with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in 2003).
"Japan is pretty much the closest thing to the big leagues that you will get. Forty thousand people a night; it was crazy."
What was it like making your MLB debut at Fenway Park?
"My family was there, and I hadn't envisioned being a defensive replacement, but going out on the field and just being there was like living a dream.
Your most talented teammate?
"Rickey Henderson. I actually lived with him for the few months I was with the Red Sox. He had a nice condo, and he told me, 'Hey, put your little peanuts away and come live with me.' "
The nastiest pitcher you've ever faced?
"Roy Halladay. He threw in and out, up and down, cutters and sinkers. You never know what you were getting, and he's about 6-5, so that doesn't help."
What keeps you playing minor-league ball at 38?
"Well, I'm pretty good, so there's always a chance when you can switch hit and play six positions. So there is always an opportunity for a guy like that."
"I have to let my son [8-year-old Prince Bryant Nelson] watch me, so he can grow up in the clubhouse. He loves it. He's an awesome kid."
You were a thorn in the Ducks' side last year, going 7-for-15 in the league championship series. How does it feel to be on the opposite side of the rivalry?
"This is one of the first places I wanted to come last year, but they had a full roster. But once I'm on the field, I don't have any friends, so I just had to take it to them. I was just doing my job."