When he got the news yesterday, David Phelps walked out of Joe Girardi’s office, through the middle of the Yankees clubhouse, grabbed the cell phone out of his locker, and made his way outside. There was no hint of a smile on his face, absolutely no indication that he’d just made the Yankees Opening Day roster.
“I wanted to just go out in the hallway and start screaming,” Phelps said before today’s workout at Tropicana Field. “You’ve seen in (the movie) Major League when Willie Mays Hayes makes it and goes out and just starts jumping around and screaming. That’s what you want to do. I went home, and your emotions don’t know what to do.”
When he got into the hallway, Phelps first phone call was to his wife, who gave birth to the couple’s first child just two weeks ago. Then he called his parents and his agent. His old high school summer league coach — who Phelps hasn’t seen since high school — called to say he’s coming to the games this weekend. Phelps will have his parents in the stands tomorrow night. His brother is getting down here Saturday. His wife’s family is coming over from Naples.
“People think about that you’ve put in so much work on the field and they’ve seen everything that you’ve done,” Phelps said. “But they don’t always see the people that are behind the scenes, what they’ve given up and what they’ve put in for it. That’s one of the biggest things for me. For my parents, my wife, my agent, all my friends, everything that they’ve given up for me so I can be in this position, I don’t take that lightly at all.”
As you can imagine, it never gets old talking to a guy who’s made a big league roster for the first time. They usually say a lot of the same things — they’re thankful, they’re overwhelmed, they’re waiting for it to sink in — but those things never sound cliche. Guys can’t help but be genuine when they’re dreams are coming true.
“So many times you think about going to the field,” Phelps said. “Lately it’s been Steinbrenner or the field in Scranton – and Scranton’s a nice ballpark – but (today) you pull up on the bus and it’s like, this is a Major League ballpark. You get out and you’re walking underneath, it’s like, oh my God. That’s not going to stop happening ever, probably. I get to go to work in a Major League baseball stadium, and get to play the game I love for a living. It’s awesome.”