If travel is the bane of a big-time athlete’s existence, Kyle Crockett will be the exception Thursday through Sunday, when the Cleveland Indians visit Baltimore for a four-game series against the Orioles at Camden Yards.
The trip will be his first since being promoted Friday to Cleveland from Class-AA Akron, and he’s ready for his first taste. It’s a bonus that Baltimore is the closest he will get to his hometown of Poquoson this season while in an Indians uniform.
“Kyle told me that he’s glad to be able to come down here and see some familiar faces, like William Haskins and Davis Ireland, two of his best friends growing up,” said Gary Crockett, Kyle’s dad. “More than anything, he’s just glad to travel, because no matter where you go, they treat you second to none at that (major-league) level.
“He’s looking forward to that experience.”
Crockett’s experience in the majors already has been mostly positive. Called up Friday morning, the left-handed reliever pitched 1 1/3 innings against the Oakland Athletics at Progressive Field in Cleveland that night.
“Kyle was a little disappointed with the first game, but said he was more comfortable when he pitched (against the Athletics) on Sunday,” said Ken Bennett, Crockett’s coach on two Group AA state championship teams at Poquoson High. “He said he was much more relaxed and businesslike on Sunday.
“He thought on Friday that he was just going to sit in the bullpen and watch the game, then he found himself on the mound in the second inning.”
Gary Crockett said, “Kyle told me he was so nervous that first night he couldn’t stand it, but was more comfortable Sunday. I thought he did fine the first game, but he was a little hard on himself because he’s not used to giving up runs.”
Kyle Crockett gave up just two earned runs in 40 1/3 innings in two minor-league seasons, which paved the way for him to become the first member of the Indians’ 2013 draft class to make it to Cleveland. That Crockett was on display Sunday, when he retired all four batters he faced, recording his first major-league strikeout, in the Indians’ 13-3 loss.
His promotion to the majors has created a stir around Poquoson, with several folks at his alma mater vowing Saturday during the Islanders’ high school game to see him pitch at least once in Baltimore. Best buddies Haskins and Ireland are among those most psyched to see him on the mound, and hopefully after a game.
“I’m thrilled for Kyle because he’s worked so hard for this his whole life,” said Ireland, a former Poquoson basketball star now attending James Madison University.
Haskins, a William and Mary football player who helped Poquoson win a state football title, said, “I’m really excited, because I saw him pitch in high school and college (for Virginia), but to see him pitch in a big-league ballpark will be really awesome.”
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.