Just over a week ago, on Father’s Day, Graves, a right-handed relief pitcher with the Miami Marlins gave his father, Scott the best Father’s Day gift ever, as he made his major league debut in the third and final game of the Marlins series at Baltimore against the Baltimore Orioles.
Although his appearance was just for one batter, as he induced Baltimore’s Mark Trumbo into a two-out grounder to end the eighth inning, the short stint was a wonderful moment that brought Graves’ long journey to the majors into a surreal and happy arrival.
“It was pretty fun,” Brett said, we were kind of scrambling trying to get everybody there with finding hotel rooms and what not.”
There was a bit of pressure for Graves at the beginning of his appearance but he noted that after about the first few warm-up pitches, it the situation was no big deal for him.
“I think leading up to it I was pretty nervous as I think anybody making their debut would tell you,” Graves said. “Once I got out there and started throwing my warm-up pitches after that, nothing really changed and was just another baseball game with a bigger crowd, bigger stadium and a bigger experience.”
Graves was a Rule 5 draft pick in 2017 and that development meant that he knew that he had a chance to make his pitching debut this season after finishing off an injury-plagued season last year with Oakland Athletics organization.
His first day off the DL was on Friday, June 15, after injuring an oblique in spring training and grinding through a month plus rehab assignment.
Graves said that with the rehab process, he and his family had a decent idea of when the special day would arrive.
“We kind of got to have a pretty decent idea of what was going on with the Rule 5 stuff and we knew kind of when the timing, deadline would work but it was still kind of last minute as to when it would happen since we were on the road,” Graves said.
Graves’ father Scott was there with six people from his family which included his mother, sister, and wife.
Watching his son pitch on Father’s Day was an amazing moment that nearly almost defied words for Scott.
“Words can’t describe how awesome it was,” Scott said. “It was surreal.”
Brett said that it was definitely the best Father’s Day gift he could his dad. “It was just awesome [to be able to do that],” Graves said. “My dad and I have put a lot of time and a lot of effort into this and he sacrificed a lot as he was my coach growing up, so all the travel to games, and sacrificing time and money to be able to do all that is awesome. My dad and I have had a special connection over baseball forever.”
Scott echoed Brett’s sentiments about their life-long bond through baseball.
“We did the travel ball and had our own traveling team and went through high school, won a state championship at Francis Howell and go on to Mizzou with weekends out of town and in Columbia,” he said. “It’s been a long ride.”
For Graves, the best part of the day was being able to be out on the mound and then getting to meet up with the family after the game.
“I think the whole experience was awesome but just after moments too of getting to watch the rest of the game and then getting to meet up with my family under the stadium after the game and just whole experience was pretty fun.”