From the day a player gets drafted, it’s their dream to make it to the Major Leagues, otherwise known as “The Show”. However, when players actually get the call-up, their minds race, they’re excited, they’re nervous, they’re scared but they’re also ready to help the ball club in anyway that they can.
There was a piece in the New York Daily News the other day about the same subject, talking about the reactions of the players around Major League Baseball when they found out that they were introduced to the show. There were three Yankees on the list that were called up to play in the Bronx, so I figured since they came up as Yankees, why not share their story? Here are the stories on how Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano felt when they were called up to the Major Leagues:
“We were on the road in Triple-A and I got a phone call like at five or six o’clock in the morning from our manager saying, ‘Are you awake? Splash some water on your face, I’ll be right there.’ I didn’t know what happened, man. I thought maybe I was traded or something. A million things go through your head. And he came and said ‘Congratulations, you’re going to the big leagues.’ I had to get on a plane and go to Seattle. I called my parents and my dad came to Seattle. My sister had a softball game, so my mom stayed with my sister.
“I remember being happy, nervous, uncomfortable. I knew a couple of people from spring training, but it’s kind of uncomfortable. But it’s up there as far as memories. It’s your first game. The details are kind of fuzzy or blurry, because when you’re there, there are so many things going through your head. I played in the Kingdome, and that was the first time I had ever played indoors. Little things like that stand out.
“I was called up because Tony Fernandez went on the DL. I was there two weeks and I played. Then I got shipped (back down). Me and Mo (Mariano Rivera), went back on the same day. We flew back together to Triple-A.”
We were in Buffalo. I wasn’t expecting to get called up. I rode back with the team from Buffalo to Scranton that night and drove to New York the next morning and we had a night game against the Rangers. It was June 30, 2008. It’s hard to forget, a special day. I don’t remember last week, but I remember everything from that day. I called my wife and my parents right away. People started finding out and getting in touch with me, too.
Coming into the clubhouse at the old Stadium was special. I’m one of the fortunate ones to have played in both, called up the last year of the old stadium.
“It was 1999 and I was in Columbus with the Triple-A (Clippers). I didn’t expect a September callup. I called my mom in the Dominican and told her I was going to the big leagues. I was very excited and she was happy. Playing the same year Double-A and then Triple-A and then in September to the big leagues, that’s progress. That made me excited — that was my dream, to be in the big leagues and I wanted to be better and better and not just be a September callup, but stay there and have a nice career.
“I went from Columbus with my luggage to here, the old Stadium. I was a little shy, being in the same clubhouse with those superstars — (Derek) Jeter, Mariano (Rivera), Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill — and I’m young. I’m thinking, ‘One day, I want to be like those guys.’ Those guys looked to me like giants. I had been to spring training, but it’s not the same thing. But it was a great experience, my first day. I just said, ‘I made it and now you have to work to stay.’”