Gorecki enjoys an unforgettable Monday
What was supposed to be a day off after what had been a long grind in the Minors turned into a day that Reid Gorecki will never forget.
After catching the ceremonial first pitch for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves on Monday afternoon, Gorecki found himself summoned into manager Dave Brundage’s office, where he was told that he had less than two hours to pack his bags and arrive at Turner Field to enjoy his first day as a Major Leaguer.
“This is a dream come true right here,” said Gorecki, a Long Island native who will have the opportunity to reunite with friends and family members while the Braves spend the next three days playing against the Mets at Citi Field.
When the Braves decided they needed to place Nate McLouth on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, they immediately placed a call to Gwinnett. Gorecki received word around 1:40 p.m. ET and then made the short trip down I-85 quick enough to arrive at Turner Field at approximately 3 p.m., one hour before Tommy Hanson threw his first pitch against the D-backs.
“I was trying to stay as close to the speed limit as possible, but excitement took over a little bit,” said Gorecki, who had packed his suitcase on Monday morning with the thought that he’d be spending the next couple of days in Norfolk, Va.
After arriving at The Ted and getting a quick introduction to the Major League setting, Gorecki was once again selected to catch the ceremonial first pitch.
Two ceremonial first pitches within a span of approximately two hours at two different stadiums on the same day of a Major League debut . That’s a first that the Elias Sports Bureau likely could never verify.
Gorecki’s day became even more meaningful when the Braves inserted him into Thursday’s game in the top of the eighth inning. While he didn’t record a plate appearance, he did record an out with a ninth-inning catch.
“It was a little nerve-wracking,” Gorecki said. ” I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. It felt good just to get out there, even just to catch a pop-up. That’s all I needed to get my feet wet…I hope.”
Gorecki, who hit .286 with nine homers and 14 stolen bases in 106 games with Gwinnett this year, will serve as Ryan Church’s backup while McLouth is on the disabled list. The 28-year-old right-handed hitter could find himself in the starting lineup if an opposing team is starting a tough left-handed pitcher.
“I’m just going to wait for my opportunity,” Gorecki said. “If something comes my way, I’m going to try to make the most of it.”