In a forgettable game in a forgettable season, the Red Sox got a memorable moment Sunday that provided a little hope.
On an 0-2 pitch in the third inning, in the second at-bat of his Major League career, Bobby Dalbec hit a home run. Stats will record it as a 373-foot shot that raced out of Fenway at 101.6 miles per hour. Anyone watching it will recall the 25-year-old getting full barrel on a fastball that caught way too much plate and ripping a deep shot that clanked into the sea of red empty seats in right field.
Most people weren’t watching. A perfect late summer Sunday afternoon would have made for a great day to be at Fenway Park to see the last two World Series champs square off if that sort of thing was allowed right now. But in this COVID world, that weather offered plenty of outdoor options more appealing than watching two sub .500 teams playing out the string on TV. Even Boston fans did have their televisions were likely watching the Celtics dismantle another defending champion in a game that did matter.
But anyone who was tuned in saw Dalbec live the dream of every Little Leaguer.
“I felt pretty weightless out there,” he said about circling the bases just hours after getting called up. “It was very surreal. Everything happened so fast.”
Somewhere in front of TVs in his native Seattle and Tucson, Arizona where he starred for the Wildcats people were cheering for the guy they knew way back when. Baseball repeats versions of this story, every year and it never gets tired.
It’s why Boston fans remember first career hits by Creighton Gubanich, Sam Horn and Daniel Nava. But for this team in this dreary season in this dreary year, the moment meant just a little more.
In the slog that is reality in 2020, Dalbec is a sneak peek at the future. Anything that fast forwards us out of the present is welcomed right now. Dalbec figures to be playing baseball at Fenway Park when the roar of the crowd – real noise made by real people – will rise along with the ball on a shot like he hit Sunday. He’ll be there when people are boxing each other out to grab one of his home run balls. And if Sunday’s power was any indication, he’ll be there when the Red Sox have a chance to be good again.
Maybe he’ll be Sam Horn or Wily Mo Peña, a player with prodigious Minor League power who won’t do much with it once Major League pitchers get a book on him. But today he’s a kid whose dream came true.
Right now that’s a win.
Follow MassLive sports columnist Matt Vautour on Twitter at @MattVautour424.
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