Matthew Boyd was 10 years old and watching the Mariners on TV when they last went to the playoffs. They're finally going back, with Boyd's backyard help.
The Seattle area-native and former Tigers ace is pitching for the club that ended a 21-year playoff drought Friday night, the longest active drought in Major League Baseball.
"I can’t put this into words that I get to be here wearing this, wearing these colors and this uniform," Boyd told ROOT SPORTS in the Mariners' celebratory clubhouse after they clinched an AL Wild Card berth with a walk-off win over the A's. "It's been the craziest year of my life and I’m just eternally grateful."
The emotions were too much handle for Boyd, who then broke down in tears.
"Being a little kid and coming to this park, this city gets behind their teams. I love baseball because of Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar (Martinez) and Jay Buhner and Ichiro and those teams spurred it. Doing this kind of thing, watching this on TV, that’s what spurred my love for the game. I hope we can do the same thing for this next generation in this area," he said.
It will also mark the first playoff appearance for Boyd, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Tigers after joining the club in 2015 via the trade that sent David Price to the Blue Jays. He went on to make 143 starts for the Tigers, including two on Opening Day, and a lasting impression on his teammates with his buoyant --Boyant -- spirit.
The Tigers parted ways with Boyd last offseason after he suffered an elbow injury late in the year that required surgery, a 'gut-wrenching decision' per manager A.J. Hinch. He endured a longer-than-expected rehab after signing a one-year deal with Giants, who traded him in August to the Mariners where he made his season debut last month. He has a 1.93 ERA in eight games out of Seattle's bullpen.
A long road home was worth it on Friday night.