Hold my beer means, to me, I’m going to do this. Watch me.
Usually, this is done quickly.
In Drew Maggi’s case, not so much.
His long road to the major leagues culminated in his first career at-bat Wednesday night. The 33-year-old infielder had played 1,155 games across 13 minor league seasons before getting called up by the Pirates earlier this week. His journey was not an easy one, but he persevered through the challenges and never gave up on his dream.
Ian Happ’s journey was a comparative walk in the park.
Maggi was drafted out of Arizona State by the Pirates in the 15th round (No. 447 overall) in 2010. He spent five seasons in their minor league organization, then moved on to stints with several other organizations, including the Angels and the Dodgers. Despite being passed over for promotion year after year, Maggi never lost faith in himself and continued to work hard, flexing his positive attitude and work ethic. His team player persona, hard work and dedication have earned him the respect of his coaches and teammates, so they say.
I’m just amazed at what a positive attitude he carried with his glove.
Finally, after 12 years, 10 months and 18 days since he was selected in the draft, Maggi got his chance to play in the big leagues. The Pirates called him up over the weekend from Double-A Altoona when outfielder Bryan Reynolds was placed on the bereavement list. Manager Derek Shelton didn’t find a spot for Maggi until Wednesday night.
Maggi pinch hit for Andrew McCutchen with one out in the eighth inning and received a standing ovation from teammates in the Pirates dugout and the sparse crowd at the ballpark. Despite striking out in his lone at-bat, Maggi was all smiles after the game. “It’s the best strikeout I ever had,” he said. “I really can’t (put it into words). I can’t explain how I was feeling in the (batter’s) box. You guys were cheering me on. I don’t know, I never expected that. Through the journey, I thought I’d make my debut and it would be a normal at bat. Obviously special, but the crowd cheering my name, I got my parents here, my three brothers, a sister back at home. I mean, this is unbelievable. Thank you, everybody.”
Maggi’s perseverance is an inspiration to us all. He never gave up on his dream of playing in the major leagues and worked tirelessly to make it happen.
I’m hoping it was worth it.