The call Dean Kremer had been waiting for his entire baseball career came late Saturday night. And it was posed as a question, as if there were anything other than one answer.
When general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde called the Orioles’ pitching prospect, they simply asked if Kremer wanted to come pitch on Sunday against the Yankees. Of course, the answer was yes.
Kremer had a debut to remember, as he became the first Israeli citizen to reach the major leagues, pitched on the 25th anniversary of Cal Ripken’s record-breaking 2,131st game and faced baseball’s most storied franchise.
Not to mention the fact that he threw six innings, allowed just one hit and one run with three walks and seven strikeouts against the vaunted Yankee lineup, Kremer made sure Sunday at Camden Yards was a special afternoon.
“It’s a dream come true,” Kremer said. “We practice every day for years to get to this point. Just to have had it is a dream come true.”
In his first major league outing, Kremer threw 88 pitches and led the Orioles to a series win over the Yankees. In doing so, the Orioles climbed to within two games of the Yankees for third place in the AL East.
On the postgame conference call, Kremer not only answered questions about his debut but his experience as the first Israeli citizen to make the big leagues.
“I mean, it’s awesome being able to hold a torch so to speak for guys like me,” Kremer said. “Although I was born in America, I have been to Israel every year for a certain amount of time. Giving back when we go over there, running camps and stuff like that, it’s nice to see the competition over there getting better every year and just trying to show it’s possible to make it out of there.”
Kremer, who was asked to speak in Hebrew on the call (and did so), was acquired by the Orioles in the Manny Machado trade in the summer of 2018. Since then, he’s climbed up the minor league ranks until his impressive debut on Sunday.
He made sure to stay aggressive against the Yankees, rather than try to focus too hard on picking his spots around the strike zone. His catcher for the day, Bryan Holaday, left the game impressed.
“Being out there, being a young guy against the New York Yankees, the game can speed up on you,” Holaday said. “He really handled it well, maintained his composure and acted like he’d been there before. You wouldn’t have been able to tell that that was his first time out there.”
The Orioles gave Kremer enough run support in the first inning, but added three more runs throughout the afternoon to punctuate a proud day for the organization.
Aside from Kremer’s off-the-field accomplishments, and Ripken’s celebration which made its appearances throughout the afternoon, the Orioles relied on younger talent throughout the entire series. The end result was a series win over the Yankees, a team that, prior to Friday, the Orioles hadn’t beaten for 19 straight games.
“I just think you’re seeing some young talented guys,” Hyde said. “And if you look around the field this series where there’s not a whole lot of major league experience on the field and you’re seeing some youthful energy and talent. And they played well in this series. No doubt about it.”