ST. PETERSBURG — Amid the postgame roar at Tropicana Field Tuesday and the euphoria enveloping the team after its 4-1 victory over Houston in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, Rays outfielder Tommy Pham looked back on a far more solitary moment.
Fox Sports One reporter Jon Morosi asked Pham in an interview to reflect on his performance and how far he’s come.
“From Durango High School in Las Vegas, to the Cardinals, to a moment like this, who do you want to thank for helping you get here?” Morosi asked.
“There’s a lot of people I could thank,” Pham started, “But, you know, I’m proud of myself to be honest with you. I remember throwing a ball against the wall, playing catch with myself. Throwing a ball up, hitting it, you know, throwing batting practice to myself. You know what I mean? I believed in myself from a young age."
And the reason why Pham practiced by himself since childhood?
“It ain’t like I had a dad out there to play catch with me or throw me batting practice,” Pham told Morosi. “I’m proud of myself.”
For many fans and peers looking on, the interview proved raw and emotional. But the unvarnished truths about his upbringing struck a chord.
“It made you a dawg,” Rays pitcher Blake Snell commented on Pham’s Instagram post of the interview. “Love it!!”
“If this ain’t my same story I don’t know what is,” commented Braves pitcher Touki Toussaint.
“I felt this s---," former big league pitcher Dontrelle Willis replied. “I was that same kid.”
In Pham’s post, he said his message is “for any little kid that needs to hear this.”
Pham got the Rays offense going early in Tuesday’s game, driving a Justin Verlander changeup to the leftfield seats to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.
The Rays tacked on three more runs against the Astros ace in the 4-1 victory. Pham finished the day 3-for-5 at the dish
Pham played a key role for the Rays this season. The outfielder played through a myriad of injuries to appear in 145 regular season games. He racked up 3.7 wins above replacement, hit .273 and slugged 21 home runs for the Rays this year.
The Rays take on the Astros in a winner-take-all ALDS game 5 at Minute Maid Park on Thursday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. EST, and the game will be televised on FS1.