Mychal Thompson stood outside of a suite at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday night and declared himself as proud as any father might be if his children reached their longtime dreams.
The Thompson family has had one epic summer, starting with middle son Klay helping the Golden State Warriors to the NBA championship. On Monday, it was youngest son Trayce donning a White Sox uniform in Chicago for the first time with his family looking on from above during the Sox's 5-4 loss to the Rays.
Trayce Thompson, 24, was called up from Triple-A Charlotte to be the Sox's fourth outfielder while J.B. Shuck is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He didn't play Monday, but manager Robin Ventura said he hopes to get him in the lineup soon.
It would be a long time coming for Thompson, a Sox second-round draft pick in 2009 out of high school who has spent seven seasons in the minors. In his first year in Charlotte, he was hitting .260 with 23 doubles, 13 home runs, 39 RBIs and 11 stolen bases over 104 games. Thompson credited Sox assistants Harold Baines and Jim Thome with helping him make the next step in spring training.
"I just got back to what makes me myself," Thompson said. "There are a lot of good prospects and good talent in Double A, and I felt like I got away from hitting the fastball. I feel like I'm doing a better job of that this year. Being a little more aggressive has helped me with that too.
"I'm just here to do whatever it takes. … These guys are really close to that wild-card spot, and I just want to help them make the playoffs."
After losing two of three against the Yankees over the weekend, the Sox were hoping to make up ground in the wild-card race in the three-game series against the Rays, but they lost a tough one Monday.
Left-hander Jose Quintana allowed two earned runs, but the best of the Sox bullpen — Jake Petricka, Zach Duke and David Robertson — each gave up a run in the final three innings.
Jose Abreu and Carlos Sanchez each hit two-run homers for the Sox, but a ninth-inning rally was sullied by third-base Joe McEwing's ill-advised choice. With Alexei Ramirez on second base and nobody out, Adam LaRoche singled to center field. McEwing sent home Ramirez, who was thrown out so easily at the plate his best option was to try to leap over catcher Curt Casali.
"I messed up," McEwing said. "I tried to put the pressure on the defense, but I take full responsibility for that."
Thompson, who said his brother's recent NBA success was "motivating," is happy to have a chance to be a part of a Sox run. His brothers broke the news of his promotion on social media on Saturday, before deleting their premature posts.
But it made Thompson feel good, knowing how proud he made his family, who said he carried a bat around from the time he was 4 years old.
"Ever since we were little, even if it was basketball season, he'd still be working on baseball after basketball practice," said his oldest brother, Mychel. "He definitely put in the work, so it's a great feeling to see him out here doing what he loves."