Illustration by Tyler Hildebrand, and story by Jordan Ramos. Featured in the upcoming July 2011 edition of Vine Line.
One of the most thrilling moments in a baseball player’s career is when his manager tells him he’s been promoted to the big leagues—unless he has a skipper with a sense of humor. Two May call-ups, Tony Campana and DJ LeMahieu, both had their bags packed for other cities before hearing they were on their way to Wrigley.
Campana’s Triple-A manager, Bill Dancy, decided to break some bad news to him first. Dancy called the speedy outfielder into his office and said that, because of injuries, the Cubs needed someone to go down to Double-A to play every day …
“‘But first, we’re going to send you to the big leagues,’” Campana recalled Dancy saying. “It kind of made me mad—he got me! I was mad that I was going [down a level], and then he said that, and I was like, ‘All right.’ I didn’t know what to do. I was speechless.”
On May 17 against the Reds, Campana made his debut as a pinch-runner for Alfonso Soriano and scored his first run. An inning later, in his first at-bat, he lined a double for his first career hit and RBI.
DJ LeMahieu received a phone call from Double-A manager Brian Harper on the morning of May 29, saying he had been promoted to Triple-A Iowa. But a mere two hours later, while LeMahieu was still in Tennessee—and fishing—his phone rang again. This time, it was Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita rerouting the infielder.
“I was like, ‘Did I get traded?’” said LeMahieu, who went 1-for-3 in his first start, on June 3. “[Fleita] said, ‘You ever heard of Wrigley Field?’ It was pretty cool, a pretty cool moment.”