These were Kevin Cash’s word Friday night.
“Hands down the greatest moment I’ve been part of in baseball,” said the Rays manager.
Understood. The manager of the Rays witnessed what has to be the signature moment of the Major League Baseball season to date, Mike Brosseau turning around an Aroldis Chapman 100 mph fastball for the game-winning homer in Tampa Bay’s Game 5-clincher over the Yankees. Sure, some might remind Cash that the also stormed the field as part of the Red Sox’ 2007 World Series win, but in fairness he was a backup catcher on that team. This group? He is the face of the franchise.
It was such a powerful moment. An undrafted kid who not only works his way to the majors, but then reaches such heights that he gets to stare down one of the most intimidating closers in the game in the eighth inning two teams’ be-all, end-all final few innings.
It was also a moment that Major League Baseball is trying to take away from us.
When Brosseau hit the home run a flurry of storylines immediately bubbled up. He had been the guy who helped spark the brewing feud between the Rays and Yankees after challenging Chapman moments after the lefty threw a 100 mph pitch behind his head a few weeks before. (The Rays’ infielder wasn’t taking the bait on the payback narrative after the game.)
There was this being another example of the “Rays Way,” with MLB’s Island of Misfit Toys showing that winning the most games in the American League this season was no fluke. And for Red Sox fans it offered hope that Chaim Bloom did have some sort of magic elixir that will translate to better times ini Boston.
I immediately thought of Dayton Moore.
Brosseau’s homer might have been the on-the-field highlight of this 2020 season, but what the Kansas City Royals’ general manager still owns the signature off-the-field pick-me-up.
In May, when teams were killing minor-league dreams left and right due to cutbacks, cutting jobs and ending dreams, Moore nailed it.
Brosseau was obviously an extreme when it came to influencing the game. But the 25-year-old from tiny Oakland University is now the poster boy for where MLB is taking a terrible turn. Continue to cut minor-league teams and minor-league jobs, you are going to eliminate these sort of stories.
There have been others, those who were never drafted but ended up giving baseball its chills. Bruce Sutter. Kevin Millar. Frank White. Bobby Bonilla. Oh, and remember Daniel Nava?
"Anyone at any place, from the tallest to the smallest to the biggest can be successful,” Nava told WEEI.com reaction to Moore’s comments. “Once you start closing the window on giving people opportunities to dream you’re starting to change aspects of people's ability to believe in something they normally would believe in. Baseball provides an opportunity.
"Would there be no Jose Altuve five years from now? We can’t be limiting opportunities for people to pursue lifelong childhood dreams. That’s what the American dream is all about."
We know this: Under the system that is unfolding in MLB, guys like Brosseau don’t stand a chance. Their baseball dreams are dead in the water.
Hopefully Friday night can at least offer a reminder of what we’re about to leave behind.