Athletics

What making MLB debut in pandemic was like for A's Jefferies

Athletics

 

Before his MLB debut on Sept. 12, 2020, Daulton Jefferies was fixated on a pot pie that he got to eat on “a cool plane,” while he was on the A’s taxi squad.

“It’s not your Marie Calendar’s pot pie -- I just checked that off the list,” Jefferies said on "Balk Talk," smiling.

It might not have been your typical pot pie, and it certainly wasn’t your typical MLB debut. The A’s top pitching prospect was about to throw his first major league pitch … in front of no fans. It was still a moment to remember for him, however. And he did everything in his power to soak it in.

At the brand new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Jefferies was approached by Scott Emerson, the A’s pitching coach.

“Like, hey, skip wants to see you in his office,” Jefferies remembered. 

Jefferies walked into Bob Melvin’s office where the manager had two lineup cards on the table. The A’s were about to play a doubleheader, and BoMel wanted to know if Jefferies had any recommendations for a possible starter in one of the games.

Jefferies knew a guy. It was him, Jefferies was the guy.

He was beaming. And while you couldn’t see it under his mask, he was smiling like an idiot as Melvin gave him a fist bump.

“This is what you dream about, you know?” Jefferies said. "I thought of my mom’s reaction to when I would go on the field, like when she would see me on TV, and I almost teared up, just a little bit."

 

Download and subscribe to the Balk Talk Podcast

But Jefferies remained cool and calm.

He walked around the park and noticed the size of it. Surely it looked even bigger with no fans in the stands due to MLB safety protocols, but Jefferies admitted -- as great of a moment as it was -- knowing that one day when he takes the mound and sees friendly faces in the crowd, that’ll be a bigger moment. 

“I think it’ll be much more memorable -- obviously the debut is memorable, but when I get to pitch in front of my friends and family, I think that’ll be even more memorable than the debut, just because my mom will be there, my dad will be there -- and I think that’ll be a pretty good thing,” Jefferies said.

“I was like dude, this is so cool, I’m so excited to be here, this is awesome,” he added.

The debut didn’t go the way he had hoped. He lasted two innings giving up five runs on two home runs. That didn’t matter, though.

RELATED: A's agree to terms for one year with Matt Olson, Tony Kemp

“I learned more in that outing than I did in my whole professional career combined,” Jefferies said. 

His main goal for that debut was to throw a strike on the first pitch thrown. He succeeded.