SAN DIEGO — The sport was over and one other flight awaited. This one was a red eye, and perhaps there could possibly be some shut-eye after one other exhilarating afternoon of high-wire baseball, lead changes and momentum shifts.
No, not for Aaron Nola’s Philadelphia Phillies.
And never for Austin Nola’s San Diego Padres.
It’s their parents who’re swimming in logistics, losing sleep and logging a powerful amount of frequent flier miles this October. As they headed to a different airport late Wednesday, this one back to Philadelphia after San Diego’s series-evening 8-5 win that had “Nola” stamped throughout it, A.J. and Stacie Nola have gotten as accustomed to flight attendants and luggage carousels as they’re with box seats and ball-strike counts.
“Whirlwind,” A.J. Nola said. “It’s been a whirlwind. More traveling than I ever have done in my entire life.”
To this point this month their itinerary has routed them from home in Baton Rouge, La. to Recent York to see Austin’s Padres in a wild-card series against the Mets. Then they were off to St. Louis to see Aaron start a game within the Phillies-Cardinals wild-card series before heading back home for a few days. They were back in Philadelphia for the Phillies’ division series against Atlanta, then back home before heading to San Diego for the N.L.C.S. They usually’re still on the move.
“It has been a incredible experience,” A.J. Nola said. “I could go on and on, nevertheless it’s amazing. It’s an incredible feeling. The boys have worked really hard for this moment, and I’m so doggone proud. Words cannot even begin to explain how proud I’m.”
On Wednesday, A.J. Nola was wearing a brown Padres jersey with a white, pinstriped Phillies jersey over it. The Phillies jersey was open so the San Diego top was visible. Stacie was simply wearing a blue top with blue shorts.
“I’m neutral,” she said.
Neutral, perhaps, but nervous. Each parents agreed that while A.J. keeps calm and stays locked in on the sport, Stacie is the parent who agonizes.
“I at all times said that if she was a smoker, she’d smoke two packs of cigarettes per game watching her boys,” A.J. said. “Thank God she isn’t.”
Only five times before in postseason history have siblings been on opposing teams, probably the most recent being when Sandy Alomar Jr. (Cleveland) and the Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (Baltimore) faced one another in a 1996 American League division series and again within the 1997 A.L.C.S.
Game 2 here on Wednesday was the primary time in postseason history that siblings faced one another as a batter and as a pitcher.
Aaron, three-and-a-half years younger, retired Austin on a ground ball to 3rd base within the second. But Austin got revenge, after which some, by lining an 0 and a couple of sinker into right field on a lovely run-and-hit play as Ha-Seong Kim took off from first base and scampered throughout the bases to attain. It was a key moment in San Diego’s five-run outburst within the fifth that turned the sport around. The Padres sent 11 batters to the plate within the rally and sent Aaron Nola to the showers.
Afterward, Austin intimated that he could have a Christmas idea for his brother from this present day but said he would must see how the remaining of the series goes first. Before Wednesday, Austin was 1 for six against his brother. Aaron struck him out the primary time they faced one another, then wrapped up that ball and presented it to Austin as a Christmas present.
“Austin just began laughing,” Stacie said. “He said, ‘I knew you were going to do this.’”
“I believe I gave it to my dog,” Austin joked of the ball at a news conference the opposite day.
Each boys played college ball at Louisiana State, Austin for 4 seasons and Aaron for 3. The Tigers won the College World Series in 2009, Austin’s freshman season.
A.J. coached each as kids through their freshman years of highschool. It was clear early that every was gifted. Their careers “really took off at L.S.U.,” he said.
“Once I was in highschool I’d go watch his Little League games,” Austin said of his brother. “He at all times dominated, but I used to be like, it’s Little League, right? There’s no way he could do that on the varsity level in highschool.
“Then he comes and pitches against us and breaks my bat and strikes the following two guys out and I’m like, ‘This kid is sweet. He’s really good.’”
Austin is the more outgoing of the 2, in response to their mother.
“Austin is the large jokester. He’s very vocal,” Stacie said. “Aaron is more quiet, unless you’re talking to him about his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. He redid the entire inside, they usually travel in it. Him, his fiancé and their two dogs. He’ll talk for days on end about that.”
Joe Musgrove, who will start Game 3 on Friday night for the Padres, spent much of the winter figuring out in San Diego with Austin Nola. Aaron visited for a couple of month and joined their workouts.
“I really like that guy, man,” Musgrove said. “Each of those brothers are incredible people. I actually learned quite a bit from Aaron when he was out here.”
It’s one thing to exchange insider information within the dead of winter. But what the Nolas, Musgrove and everybody else couldn’t have known back then is the extremely high stakes they’d be playing for here in October.
When he was asked before Game 2 whether Austin can be leading the Padres’ pregame hitters meeting to supply recommendations on the starting pitcher, Manager Bob Melvin smiled. He immediately referenced San Diego’s 1-0 win over Philadelphia on June 24, a game through which Austin singled home the one run against his brother. That, too, was an M.L.B. first — a 1-0 shutout win through which the lone run was driven home by one brother against one other.
“Well, I’ll inform you, I believe until last game, he would have told you he shouldn’t run it,” Melvin said. “He got his first hit off him in an enormous situation.”
One person within the Phillies’ dugout — heck, one person in all of a sold-out Petco Park — could relate to the emotions the Nolas were going through on Wednesday. Nick Maton, an infielder traveling with the club but not on Philadelphia’s postseason roster, faced his brother throughout the last series of the regular season earlier this month. And he lined a single into right field against Houston reliever Phil Maton.
“It was a cool moment, and I’m sure they felt the identical way I did,” Nick Maton said. “It was a extremely cool experience to face there and look out and see your brother. It was really exciting for me. It upped the intensity.
“I can’t imagine what it will be like within the playoffs.”
Entering Wednesday, Aaron Nola had thrown 10,188 fastballs in his profession, with only nine of them clocked at 95.9 miles an hour or higher. Of those, three got here when facing Austin in August of last season.
“I need to beat him,” Aaron said. “I need to go to the following round and let him go home.”
The boys’ parents spent last Saturday celebrating the Phillies’ advancing into the N.L.C.S. in Philadelphia, then returned to their hotel to look at the Padres play the Dodgers. A.J. Nola said it was around 2 a.m. Eastern time when the importance of the Padres’ winning dawned on him.
“I checked out my wife and said to her, ‘Certainly one of our children goes to be within the World Series,” he said.
Fortunately, A.J. owns his own remodel/construction business back home and Stacie doesn’t work, so the Nolas have had the pliability to chase their sons’ pursuit that has grow to be a family dream.
“He’s probably only worked about three days up to now three weeks,” Stacie said.
And don’t even ask about sleep.
“Terrible,” A.J. said. “Here’s what I’m banking on, certainly one of two scenarios: If the Padres win, I need the Astros to win the American League because we live only a couple of four-hour drive from Houston.
“If Philadelphia wins, I need the Yankees to win because then the World Series can be only a train ride.”