Big Al speaks: Meet the dinger-hitting 12-year-old who became a viral Little League sensation
It’s all true. Every word. People back home do call him “Big Al” and he does hit dingers.
The kid the Internet fell in love with over the weekend — the 12-year-old Little League World Series slugger Alfred Delia — was at it again Sunday. He hit two more dingers in a game with his travel ball team during a tournament at Cooperstown, not even 48 hours after he’d gone viral for a simple yet endearing Little League World Series introduction that aired on ESPN.
With just 16 words, a legend was born: “Hi, my name’s Alfred Delia. Back home they call me ‘Big Al’ and I hit dingers.”
Welp, found my favorite baseball player ever. pic.twitter.com/8S95NVIqb0
— Sports Liker (@Ianmurray7) August 10, 2018
That version of video was closing in six million views — and that doesn’t include all the others versions of it floating around the Internet. Imagine being the 12-year-old who woke up the next day and was an all-of-a-sudden Internet celebrity:
“The next morning my sister showed me how many views I had, I just sat down, thought about it for like five minutes,” Big Al told Yahoo Sports. “It was unforgettable for me.”
For everybody who wanted to know more about Big Al and whether the legend was true, here you go. Yes, it is true. The kid hits dingers.
“I can’t even count how many the last two years of travel ball,” says Al Delia, Big Al’s dad and one of the coaches on his teams. “He don’t swing for them, but they come.”
Fun fact: Big Al is actually Alfred Delia III. His dad, Alfred Delia Jr. is actually known as “Little Al” and the original Alfred Delia is also called “Big Al.” It’s the circle of life.
The 12-year-old slugger actually has more than one nickname. Friends, teammates and coaches also call him Cookie, Bubba, Boomer, Pots and Pans and The Sauce. “The Sauce” because he stirs it up. “Pots and Pans,” because he hits cleanup.
It wasn’t just the dingers and the nickname that caught the Internet’s attention. Big Al was spotted dancing in the dugout during one game. He giddily trotted around the bases after one dinger. He was fun.
“He’s not phony or anything,” Al Delia says. “That’s just how he is. Everywhere we go, he’s the life of the party, that kid.”
The video clip that sent Big Al into a web of virality was retweeted by the likes of Chipper Jones, Todd Frazier and Ryan Zimmerman. He was highlighted on just about every digital sports media outlet over the weekend. And he was thrilled to get some love on the @RealKentMurphy Twitter and @neverbunt Instagram accounts. But what’s been his favorite part?
“Probably Chipper Jones shouting me out,” Big Al says.
His Middletown Little League team was eliminated Friday night from the LLWS regionals and by Saturday, Big Al was joining his travel ball team, the Middletown Mutiny, in Cooperstown. There, his celebrity had already been established.
An umpire wanted to take picture with him to show his own son. Players on other teams said, “That’s Big Al” when they saw him and wanted to trade tournament pins with the Middletown team. Big Al’s guidance counselor from school called his mom to say how proud his family should be of him.
“I didn’t even know about the video until people started texting me,” Al Delia said.
“About a half hour after the game,” Angela Delia says, “that’s the first time they aired it on TV and my daughter said he was getting hundreds and thousands of views. After that came many texts.”
Big Al is the youngest of three Delia kids, trailing his twin sister by a few minutes. He’s a New York Yankees fan, who likes to watch Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton hit dingers. He’s from Jersey, so he likes Mike Trout too.
The way the viral clip happened sums up Big Al pretty well. He was asked by ESPN for his nickname — he said Big Al — and his favorite part about baseball. He said hitting dingers, naturally.
His voice was especially raspy, he says, because his team had just finished a game when the intro was recorded and he’d been yelling in the dugout the whole time.
“Honestly,” Angela Delia says. “He’s 12. He doesn’t understand the bigger aspects of it. He just did what he did. He’s chill about it. He’s out playing right now. We understand it. He just understands it as ‘This is what I did and people like it.’ ”
Al and Angela Delia knew before Big Al was even in kindergarten that there was something special about him.
“He just had it about him,” Angela Delia says. “The kids just gravitate to him. Even the older kids, they love being around him.”
Big Al hits dingers.
🔥👕 available only at:https://t.co/SVkzOcQ9qx pic.twitter.com/j6DS08XL7H
— RotoWear Classic (@RotoWearClassic) August 12, 2018
This bit of celebrity is something different, though. The modern Internet being what it is, people were already selling “Big Al Hits Dingers” T-shirts online by Saturday night. Big Al’s parents were torn between being proud and being protective. So they unexpectedly had to talk to lawyers over the weekend.
“It’s kind of concerning,” Angela Delia says. “Because he’s 12.”
Still, they aren’t altogether surprised by their son’s viral fame.
“If you know Al, he’s the type of kid that people gravitate to,” his father says. “Somebody said to me, ‘If anybody in this tournament is going to be popular, it’s going to be your kid.’ Next thing you know, there are 3 or 4 million views floating around of this kid.”
More, actually. And still climbing.
That’s what happens when you’re Big Al and you hit dingers.
– – – – – –
Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Dan Wetzel: Is Tiger Woods back?
• Charles Robinson: Broncos may be running out of patience with young QB
• Cubs stun Nationals with one of baseball’s rarest plays
• Jeff Passan: Latest incident proves MLB is still a white man’s game