Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Wil Myers debuts for Rays against Red Sox

BOSTON — Dad saw something special about him when he was only 3 years old.

Eric Myers would lob a ball to his boy, Wil, in the living room of an apartment in Thomasville, N.C. Little Wil would swing a plastic bat as tall as he was.

"I'd kind of toss it to him and he would wait on that ball and … bam!" Eric said.

Before long, Eric had to put an end to the indoor batting practices.

"We had to go outside," Eric said. "He was breaking lamps."

On Tuesday, Wil, 22 and all grown up, was taking batting practice again with Dad, Mom and little brother, Beau, standing just a few feet away. This time, instead of that tiny apartment, batting practice was at legendary Fenway Park.

Wil Myers had made it. Tuesday was his first day as a Major League Baseball player.

"Dreams do come true," Myers' mom, Pam, said.

The dream actually came true Sunday. For Myers, and his entire family.

After a blockbuster offseason trade to the Rays, the 2012 minor-league player of the year called Pam during the second inning of Sunday's game at Triple-A Durham.

"Mom," Myers told her, "I just got called up."

Pam, sitting just behind home plate, couldn't believe it. "He said, 'Don't say nothing or act different or tell anybody,' " Pam said. "He said you can tell Daddy and Beau, but that's it."

Pam immediately thought back to all the T-ball games Wil played when he was 5. All the weekend tournaments growing up. All the times she plopped a lawn chair behind a backstop and spent a Sunday afternoon watching two, three, and sometimes four games.

"Seemed like there were a thousand of those games," she said.

After getting word from her son Sunday, Pam stood and tried to act as she didn't just get the best news she has ever received. She casually walked over to her husband sitting a few rows back with his parents, his 93-year-old grandmother and the family's pastor. She pulled him aside and whispered, "It's happened. Wil was called up."

"It was all I could do to hold it together," Eric said. "And Beau was with me. … And I said, 'Beau, don't leave me' because I was about to get emotional. I just said, 'Beau, don't leave me. I'm about to lose it here.' ''

Eric, Pam and Beau quietly excused themselves like they were going to the concession stand and met Wil underneath the bleachers.

"When I saw him, I just lost it," Eric said.

Eric couldn't stop thinking about the day Wil was drafted by the Royals in the third round of the 2009 draft.

"(That day) he said, 'Daddy, we made it,' " Eric recalled.

Eric told him the hard work was only just beginning. But when he saw his son outside the clubhouse in Durham on Sunday, he said he asked his son, '' 'Wil, do you remember that day that you told me that we made it?' And he said, 'Yeah, Daddy.' And I said, 'For the last four years, you made it. You made it.' And then I said 'I'm so proud of you.' ''

Eric is taking off this week from his job in the service department at the Crown Honda dealership in Greensboro, while Pam, an accountant for Carolina Container in Highpoint, is taking a few days as well. Beau, a 16-year-old spittin' image of his big brother, will not be playing for the Dirtbags this weekend. That's the same travel team Wil played for back in North Carolina. The whole Myers clan will be in New York City this weekend to watch Myers play against another iconic team, the Yankees.

As far as Tuesday's debut, well, it could have started better.

The biggest day in Wil Myers' life got underway a little after 9 o'clock. Wearing a gray T-shirt and jeans, Myers strolled into the cramped visitors' clubhouse inside Fenway with hitting coach Derek Shelton and pitching coach Jim Hickey.

A couple of hours later, he sat in the dugout, staring at the field, trying to soak in every moment of this special day.

As he stretched on the field, it hit him.

"I thought, 'I'm in the big leagues. This is awesome,' " Myers said.

Before batting practice, he was taken into the Green Monster and he looked at all the signatures of some of the major-leaguers who have played here. He signed his name. Then he spent batting practice knocking balls over that same wall.

If the story was perfect, Myers would have played the first game of a double-header under a brilliant sun, chasing down fly balls in rightfield while bashing baseballs into the gaps.

Instead, a soaking rain interrupted Myers' first-ever big-league game a minute shy of three hours. He ended up going 0-for-4 with three fly outs and a caught-looking strikeout. He had trouble corralling a ball in the corner. He even got heckled by the Fenway fans.

"They were a little loud out there," Myers said with a laugh.

In the end, however, it was all cool — a word Myers used over and over between games of the doubleheader.

"It was an awesome experience being the first game I played in the big leagues here at Fenway," Myers said. "It was cool."

Finally, he got his first hit in the majors — a sharp single to left in the top of the second of the nightcap.

That made it a memorable end to what already was an unforgettable day.

Wil Myers, left, talks with his dad, Eric, who confesses he “lost it” after Wil’s promotion.

Associated Press

Wil Myers, left, talks with his dad, Eric, who confesses he “lost it” after Wil’s promotion.

Wil Myers debuts for Rays against Red Sox 06/18/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 1:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return


    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits


    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.
  5. Rays at Twins, 8:10 p.m. Friday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Twins

    8:10, Target Field, Minnesota

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (3-3, 3.76)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)