John Calipari is a Louisville fan…a Louisville Bats fan, that is.
A series of tweets unearthed the fun fact that Calipari is second cousins with TJ Friedl, an outfielder for the Louisville Bats. Last month, Freidl hit a ball into right-center field to give the Bats a walk-off win over the Memphis Redbirds. Calipari retweeted the clip with the caption, “TJ is family!!” Friedl responded, inviting Calipari and his family to a game.
TJ is family!! https://t.co/Sv0mEUnQph
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 8, 2021
— TJ Friedl (@TJFriedl_1) July 8, 2021
Social media sleuths found old photos on Twitter from 2019 of Calipari with Terry Friedl, TJ’s dad, and a few weeks later, Cal with TJ. Friedl’s grandmother and Calipari’s mother were cousins. Terry and Calipari were both born in the Pittsburgh area.
My cousins Terry and Chuck Friedl are in town. We laughed for two hours. They were in for Redsfest. Terry’s son @TJFriedl_1 plays in the @Reds organization. He’s the real deal. pic.twitter.com/ThZ2OWagmC
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) December 8, 2019
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) December 21, 2019
Neat stuff. Friedl signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 2016 for $732,500, still the largest Major League Baseball bonus ever for an undrafted free agent. Since then, he’s participated in Reds spring training and been assigned to the Daytona Torgugas, the Chattanooga Lookouts, and now, the Bats, his highest level yet within the organization.
WHAS’ Tyler Greever interviewed Calipari and Friedl for a story that aired last night. Calipari said he hopes to go watch Friedl play in Louisville in late August or early September. You can see the whole story below.