Majors callup finally hits excited Kimbrel
WASHINGTON -- Craig Kimbrel awoke on Wednesday afternoon thinking that he would enjoy a day off by playing golf and spending some time with his girlfriend. By the time that he we awoke on Thursday morning, the Braves right-handed reliever was enjoying the luxuries of a Ritz-Carlton and reliving a hectic but memorable first day as a Major Leaguer.
"I was in the Ritz-Carlton, in the most comfortable bed ever, and thinking I'm in the big leagues right now," Kimbrel said. "This morning it finally hit me. Everything was happening so fast yesterday that I didn't even have a chance to sit down and think about it. It's a dream come true. God gifted me with the ability to throw the ball, and I'm just going to keep working at it."
As Kimbrel prepared for Thursday night's series finale gainst the Nationals -- a 3-2 Braves loss -- he was using Kris Medlen's glove and a pair of spikes that Nike had quickly shipped to Nationals Park. The 21-year-old right-handed reliever was still awaiting the arrival of his personal baseball equipment, which had been shipped to Syracuse on Wednesday in preparation for the three-game series Triple-A Gwinnett will play there this weekend.
At approximately 3:41 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Kimbrel learned that he had earned his first career call to the Majors and needed to get to Washington, D.C., as soon as possible.
After making an immediate exit from Tin Lizzy's in Buckhead, he and his girlfriend fought through some traffic on the way to his Norcross residence, where he needed to retrieve a suit and other clothing.
After utilizing the HOV lane on I-85 South to get to the Atlanta airport at 5:40 p.m., Kimbrel managed to get to the "A" Concourse in time to board a 6:20 p.m. flight that helped to deliver him to Nationals Park some time around the start of the fourth inning.
"It felt like [my girlfriend] was more nervous and excited about it than I was," Kimbrel said. "I was more worried about getting my stuff and getting to the airport."
While driving, Kimbrel had time to call his parents, who are traveling to Philadelphia for this weekend's series against the Phillies, and his grandmother, a devout Braves fan who resides near his home in Huntsville, Ala.
After providing his grandmother the good news, Kimbrel could only laugh when she responded with, "I figured it was coming."
A lot of Braves Fans are not happy with how this season is going. I sure would be nice if adding Craig to the lineup helped turn this season around. I know the kid has the heart, determination and dedication to make a difference.