The John Schreiber story only got better Tuesday night

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The John Schreiber story

John Schreiber couldn't help himself.

He was the Michigan kid who threw clothes all over his room after David Ortiz's momentous grand slam in the 2013 American League Championship Series. He had gone to baseball camps at Comerica Park. And suddenly, he was walking into the Tigers' clubhouse living life as the teammate of those heroes he had idolized just a few years before.

The first order business when integrating himself into the Tigers' major league roster back in 2019? A Miguel Cabrera autograph.

"C’mon. This guy is my teammate right now? I got his autograph on a ball and it’s chilling in one my cases," remembered Schreiber of his first interaction with Cabrera during his recent appearance on the Bradfo Sho podcast.

Tuesday night, just after 10 p.m., that wide-eyed autograph seeker officially graduated into own impressive big-league existence. For the final out of what would be a 5-4 Red Sox win over the Tigers, Schreiber got Cabrera to ground out for the final out.

The reliever whose dream became a nightmare during that first run with his hometown Tigers has officially become one of the best - and more important - stories of this 2022 Red Sox season.

“I think he appreciates the fact that he’s in the big leagues and contributing,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “He’s (taken) a different path to this, and you start looking at the numbers, they’re really good. … He’s in this situation because he put himself in this situation, and obviously what our player development did throughout the year. It started with him. He changed his routines. He bought into the concept, he bought into the organization and now he’s one of the guys that we rely on.”

The fact that Schreiber can define his existence against his former team is a nice reminder of how far he has come.

Just before the start of the 2021 season, the dream of thriving for his hometown Tigers came to an end after two somewhat disappointing seasons, with Detroit designating him for assignment.

The Red Sox ended up being the big winners.

With the help of Worcester pitching coach Paul Abbott, Schreiber developed a game-changing two-seam fastball while coming to the realization that baseball doesn't have to be so painfully pressure-packed.

"The past through years I just think the transformation is mainly mentally," he said on the podcast. "You don’t think much of it when you come up for the first time, but confidence is such a huge thing. You think you have the confidence when you’re up the first time but then you start losing that confidence.

"There was way more to it than I thought. I put so much pressure on myself and that’s what hurt me. Everybody tells me not to put too much pressure on yourself and obviously, you don’t think too much of it, and you start doing and then you’re like, ‘Holy crap, what am I doing?’

"I would have a stretch where I would put up some good outings and then the next stretch it would be run after run after run. That’s going through my head constantly. What do I have to do to get out of this? All that pressure kept mounting up and I’m just like, ‘What am I doing?’ … As soon as you stop forgetting about that stuff and just step on the mound and think, ‘Holy crap, I’m having fun’ everything changes."

Schreiber said he still hasn't been recognized on the streets of his new home, but is enjoying the accent-enhanced exclamations of "Schreibahhh!" while sitting out in the Red Sox' bullpen.

Times have changed for the former Tigers fan. The team he used to idolized got a reminder of that reality Tuesday night.

This time, he was the one signing the autographs. No worries. He's got it.

As the 28-year-old explains, "I've got good penmanship."

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