Friday, May 7, 2021

12 years 6 months 25 days: a long journey back to Major

During the Atlanta Braves’ 13-4 On Saturday, the Chicago Cubs loss at Wrigley Field, infielder Sean Kazmer Jr. entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning, saw four pitches and fielded a double play. The three-minute appearance may not seem like much, but it means the world to Kazmar and his family. This was Kazmar’s first major league game since September 23, 2008 – 4,589 days.

“Definitely everything and then something,” said a smiling Kazmar after the game. “What a wonderful feeling.”

Kazmer’s story is one of relentlessness and optimism, and, as Braves manager Brian Snitker said, perhaps for a film or book. Kajmar first fulfilled his dream, at the age of 24, in 2008, called by Padres to serve as a fill-in for injured shortstyle Khalil Green. He played in 19 games, started in 11, and hit .205.

Like any professional baseball player, Czamar hoped to be there. But instead, in 2009, he was back in the minors, where Travel and payment are a far cry From charter planes and big league millionaires. He spent two seasons with the Padres Class AAA team. He was with the Seattle Mariners ‘AAA team in 2011, was in the Mets’ system and in 2013 joined Atlanta’s AAA team at Gwinnett.

In all, Czamar played 1,106 minor league games among his major league appearances. During that time, he compared Crash Davis, who serves as the inspiration for the main character in that player’s film. But even the Kazmars got caught up in the minors, He said that big companies in a month and a half The greatest days of his life and why he was still going into his 30s.

On Saturday, he said, “There could have been a clear time where I doubted that this opportunity would ever come.” “But honestly, it never really left my mind and especially in the last few years, I still felt like I had the ability to play at this level.”

In 2019, Kazmar had one of his best seasons at 34, after re-signing a minor league deal with Atlanta. .270 with 12 runs scored and batted 61 while playing around the infield.

Then in 2020 a coronovirus pandemic occurred. Cajamar said he could not see a job out of baseball because he was unsure whether he would end up on an extended major league roster, so he began to get unemployment insurance like many small league players. (Minor league season was Canceled.) Instead of playing, Kazmar was at his home in Arizona with his wife and two young boys – time he wouldn’t otherwise be chasing his dream.

“I had been managing Kazakhstan for many years at AAA,” said Snacker.

But when Atlanta suffered a series of injuries on Friday – second baseman Ozzie Albis was hit by a pitch and outfielder Ander Iskirte came out with a hamstring strain – Kazmar finally made his return to the major leagues. Kazakhstan, who was on Atlanta’s Epidemic Reserve roster, said he was watching the Braves play in his hotel room and that he received a phone call a few hours after the game.

“That was probably one of the greatest moments I’ve had as a manager at all levels, quite honestly,” Snitker said.

When the sneaker was promoted from the Braves’ AAA team to become their major league manager during the 2016 season, he said that one of the biggest things that happened to him was Kazakar being with him. Although the sneaker said that he was not sure that Kabar would be needed at the big league club, he was thrilled that his goal was met on Saturday.

Last player with a long gap between major league games Elias Sports Bureau, Was Ralph Winegner, who went 13 years between pitching appearances for Cleveland in 1936 and the St. Louis Browns in 1949.

“It was worth the wait, of course, to get back there and go there to get another one,” Kazmer said of his solo batting on Saturday.

Although Kazmar stated that it felt as if time had passed, he had a bearing on some of his history. When asked on Saturday if she remembered the last time she played in the majors, Kazmar confused it for the preceding game. “How late she is,” he said laughing.

Only one other of Kazmar’s previous big-league appearances is still in the majors: Wade LeBlanc, 36, who started for the Padres that day and is now a member of the Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen. The day featured Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciapara to protest against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“You go between ’08 to ’21, you’re kidding me,” Snitzer said of Kazmer. “There is persistence and dedication and drive – and he is getting better as a player.”

Although playing minor league baseball was not particularly attractive or steady, Kazmer said he also operated because he loved baseball when he was 4.. He was born a Valiant fan in Valdosta, Ga. It was the first jersey he had ever worn. , So donating it to a major league game was particularly special for him.

Kazmar said that his wife and his mother dropped everything for a red-eyed flight to Chicago on Friday night, so that he could fly to Chicago to see his lone bat. And during the game, Kazmar said he was nervous and emotional.

“Apparently I wasn’t, when I first started this career, trying to play in Triple-A,” he said. “How it ended is just like that.” But at the same time, I will do it again for a day like today. “

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