David Phelps didn’t grow up too far from the old Busch Stadium, just roughly 20 miles, but today he returns to St. Louis to pitch in the second game of the three game set against the Cardinals. The one thing he promises not to do is to get too worked up, considering the last time he pitched in a game of utter importance, he let his emotions get the best of him.
“I’m going to try not to make it (a big deal),” Phelps said. “You know, my first big league start was in Kansas City. I had a lot of friends and family there, and I got a little too worked up for that. Hopefully I can learn from that, go out and have some fun.”
Phelps comes from a family full of St. Louis Cardinals fans (Phelps was also a Cardinals fan growing up), and he admits he tried to get his family and friends to root for the Yankees even after he’s long gone from the game.
“I told them,” Phelps said. “I said, ‘Hey, even when I come out of the game, you’ve still got to root for the Yankees.’ A lot of my friends were like, ‘Hey, I’m a Yankee fan for the six, seven innings you’re in there, and then I stop.’ I’m like, ‘You can’t do that!’ My brother said last night, ‘I told my friends there’s three games a year I can’t root for the Cardinals, and this is three of them.’ They’re good about it. Obviously blood’s going to come before Cardinal red, which is tough for them, but I’d hope that would be the case.”
Phelps feels he has his emotions under control, especially with him being in the major leagues for three seasons. However, he still can’t believe that he’s pitching for the Yankees, and he also can’t believe that he’s going to step on a mound in St. Louis while his friends and family watch on.
“You walk out there, you see The Arch,” Phelps said. “It’s little things like that that make it (special). … There’s a lot of emotions that go into it. Driving into the stadium (on Monday) I couldn’t help but smile. At the end of the day, if you try and make too much of it, it’s going to get the best of you. You have to go out and stick to your routine and not let it get the best of you.”
It’s surely a dream come true for him, but at the end of the day all Phelps wants to do is lead the Yankees to victory. He knows he has a job to do.