LOS ANGELES — Carlos Moncrief waited 839 minor league games and 123 more in the winter leagues for his shot at an MLB plate appearance. When it finally arrived, he didn’t try to hit the first pitch over the fence or into a gap. He worked a two-out walk in the eighth inning of a one-run game.
Moncrief might be an extremely patient man, then, but he’s not the most patient person in his own family.
“I have four sons,” he said, smiling. “My wife is a soldier.”
Moncrief’s wife and sons were on hand Saturday to see him make his long-awaited MLB debut. He said they’re the reason he’s still playing after a failed stint as a pitcher and so many years playing in small parks across this country, and in Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
“That kept me going throughout all the minor league years,” he said. “That’s my motivation.”
Moncrief had to wait a few days for his first shot, and he said he was more nervous in the on-deck circle than he was at the plate. He took three balls from Luis Avilan and then a called strike and swinging strike. A full-count changeup was down and away.
“You’ve got the dream of hitting a homer in your first at-bat, but once you get in the box it’s just you versus the pitcher and you go one pitch at a time,” Moncrief said.
When the final one went wide, he added a little sizzle to an otherwise boring and familiar day for the Giants. You won’t see many ball four bat-flips better than this one.