'What are we doing on our couches?' Pfaadt brothers road trip for Game 7

October 25th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- Once Brady and Brett Pfaadt learned their brother, Brandon, would start Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, they knew they had to drive from their homes in Louisville, Ky., to be there in person.

The only decision left was where they’d stop for meals along the way.

“Two Wendy’s,” Brady said, smiling.

Late Tuesday, they couldn’t remember the cities -- or states -- where they stopped. That didn’t matter. Here’s what did: They left at 7 a.m. They arrived at Citizens Bank Park around 6:30 p.m., about 90 minutes before first pitch. By the time the night was done, their brother was a newly minted postseason hero, and his D-backs were on their way to the World Series after a 4-2 win over the Phillies.

Brady is the oldest son of Brian and Staci Pfaadt. Brett is the youngest. Brandon played with both of them at Bellarmine University, a Catholic college in Louisville with fewer than 3,000 undergraduates.

With their backgrounds in the game, Brady and Brett experienced the successes and failures of Brandon’s 2023 season right along with him -- from his May 3 debut to two subsequent demotions to Triple-A Reno.

As recently as three months ago, Brandon was still in the Minors.

“In MLB, when you miss, they hit it,” Brady said. “He’s always been able to throw strikes. Now it’s about getting people to chase. It just took a little fine-tuning. He had the stuff. He’s always had the stuff. We knew he had it. It was just a matter of getting to those 1-2 counts and being able to put guys away effectively.”

If Brady sounds like a catcher, that’s because he was one at Bellarmine. He once caught his brother’s immaculate inning.

On Tuesday, he watched with Brett as Brandon began the night by striking out Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper in the first inning. Brandon ended the night having allowed two earned runs over four innings.

“It was unreal,” Brady said. “We were just hugging each other the whole time.”

Brett added: “He’s so good at calling pitches. He sits up there and says, ‘Oh, the fastball’s coming. The slider’s coming.’ He knows exactly what Brandon’s throwing, because he caught him all these years."

Brady and Brett texted Brandon before the game to wish him good luck, but they didn’t call. No need to bother him before Game 7. They knew they’d be able to catch up after the game. Their parents made the trip, too.

One viewer back in Louisville was foremost on the brothers' minds: their grandfather, Bob Pfaadt, a legendary pitcher at Bellarmine who still works at the university as a history professor.

“If you talk to anybody in Louisville who went to Bellarmine, they know who Bob Pfaadt is,” Brady said. “He’s a staple of the Bellarmine community. My dad went there. Both of my aunts went there. [All three of us] went there. We’ve always been around Bellarmine as kids.

“[Grandpa] doesn’t forget a name. He knows everybody. I don’t know if one person would say a bad thing about him. He’s that type of person.”

Now, Bob’s grandson has boosted the notoriety of the university and baseball program he loves so deeply.

“Hopefully,” Brett said, “this puts us on the map.”

Speaking of maps, Brett and Brady have another trip or two to plan. They watched Brandon’s postseason debut in Milwaukee but watched his next start (against the Dodgers) from home.

They quickly decided that would be the last time that happened this month.

“I texted Brett and said, ‘What are we doing on our couches?’” Brady recalled. “We’re not going to miss another game that he pitches. We’re going. A lot of people play in the league for 15 years and get this opportunity once. Maybe never.”

Their brother will find out what it’s like to pitch in the World Series -- as a rookie. Brady and Brett will be there to see it, wherever and whenever it happens, cheering him on with pride.

“He’s the most genuine guy you’ll ever meet,” Brett said. “He deserves it.”