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Friday, March 29, 2019

Everybody’s journey is different: Merrill Kelly’s unique path to his first opening day

LOS ANGELES — On a day in which there would be 15 baseball games, hundreds of waving ballplayers lined along dozens of basepaths, thousands of souls in those ballparks, all ready to start over, to try it again, to be a little better this time, Merrill Kelly awoke Thursday morning in a hotel room in the clouds above downtown here. Bre, his wife of four months, was beside him.

Of all of those journeys to all of those basepaths in all of those ballparks, Kelly’s would conclude with a bus ride of two or three miles, up the hill, from where, perhaps, he would see his every step till now. Through the minor leagues, through four years in Korea, though the trials of time and distance, to a small patch of smoothed dirt saved between Archie Bradley and Alex Avila, teammates with the Arizona Diamondbacks, to his first opening day, his first day in the big leagues, his first recognition that what was maybe possible had happened.

“Some days, and I was telling these guys,” Kelly said, gesturing around him, “me standing here talking to you right now, this day was literally miles away. So many miles away.”

He turned 30 in October. He is a right-handed pitcher scheduled to start Monday in San Diego. But, for a day at least, he was a guy in a big-league jersey after years being an SK Wyvern, an Escogido Leon, a Durham Bull, a Salt River Rafter.

A reminder of the ways in which the beginning of the season serves as a beginning for many of the players on the field.

QLE Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:52 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cup o coffee, merrill kelly, opening day

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