All young athletes dream of growing up and playing professionally for their favorite hometown team.
This week, Daniel Fields achieved that dream.
Fields, a Detroit native, was drafted out of U-D Jesuit in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB draft.
On Tuesday, the Tigers called Fields up from Toledo to take the spot of Rajai Davis, who’s on paternity leave with his wife due to give birth to their second child.
At just 24 years old, Fields was on his way to the D, and there was a Tigers jersey waiting for him.
“This is what I dreamed about coming to the field with my dad every day,” said Fields, whose father, Bruce, is the Tigers’ minor-league hitting coordinator and was the Tigers’ hitting coach in 2003-05. “When I was 12, that’s when I realized baseball was what I wanted to do. I thought, ‘There’s other teams out there, but being able to play for the Tigers would be very special.'”
Knowing this, Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish and hitting coach Leon “Bull” Durham had to have a little fun telling Daniel he was going to make his debut with his hometown team.
Said Fields: “Bull was like, ‘Hey, you know, we’re actually going to send you down to Double-A. They got a four-game series and they’re facing all lefties, and we feel like it’ll be good for you to get some more work in. So we’re going to send you down there, and hopefully you go down for a couple games and come back.'”
Naturally, Bruce Fields was happy for his son, but Daniel’s mom and brother really got emotional.
“They were screaming and running around the house,” Daniel Fields said with a laugh. “I was talking to my mom and it kind of sounded like she was about to start crying a little bit. So that kind of made me a little emotional too. I held it together pretty good.”
Fields had a whole clan at the Tigers-Athletics game Tuesday to witness his debut. He left 12 tickets for friends and family, but others — including friends from Detroit Jesuit High School — bought tickets for the game, too.
Fields didn’t appear in the first two games of the Tigers’ homestand against the A’s. But he did replace Yoenis Cespedes (who exited due to flu-like symptoms) in Thursday’s game, and doubled in the ninth inning for his first hit in the majors and also scored his first run.
His 12-year-old self would’ve been proud. His childhood dream had finally become a reality.
“Now that dreams come true,” Fields said. “Especially being from Detroit, playing in the city and all that, it means a lot.”