Scott McClain learned that he was in the Giants' lineup Wednesday morning, but he forgot to e-mail or text anyone in his family the news. "Totally flashed," he admitted later.
His family had seen him play before, certainly, for Bluefield and Kane County and Frederick and Bowie and Rochester and Norfolk and Durham, for Tampa Bay and Colorado Springs and Seibu, for Iowa, for the Cubs, for Sacramento, for Fresno, and even for the Giants. McClain is 36 years old and in the 19th year of his career.
The slugger had 362 home runs in professional baseball, and his parents had seen a lot of them. What his family had never seen him do before was hit a home run in the major leagues, which is what everybody wanted for him. It's what Giants manager Bruce Bochy wanted for him.
So after McClain hit 29 homers for Fresno this season, Bochy and the Giants' staff had made a point of summoning the third baseman to the big leagues, to give him the best possible chance to achieve the goal of hitting a home run in the big leagues.
"I didn't meet Scott until spring training last year," Bochy said before Wednesday's game. "Through all of his years in the minors and Japan it would be a very memorable moment for Scott to hit his first major league home run. For all of us in baseball, we really appreciate someone like Scott McClain, who has tremendous stats. It would be great for Scott, his family and for everyone who knows him."
"His love for the game and his perseverance to continue his career is pretty special, and I think it would be a dream come true for him to hit his first ML homer."
So at a time when the Giants are fielding a lot of young players, Bochy put McClain in the starting lineup Wednesday. As San Francisco analyst Mike Krukow noted, McClain is a low-ball hitter and the Rockies' starter was sinkerballer Aaron Cook; it was a good matchup for McClain.
But McClain hadn't alerted his family, so he wasn't sure if his folks were watching. He didn't know, for sure, if they were watching when he dumped an RBI single in the first inning, or if they were watching when he drove in another run in the third, or if they were watching when he came up in the sixth inning, against Colorado reliever Steven Register.
The Rockies' right-hander threw nothing but sliders to McClain in the at-bat, until the count ran to 2-2, and McClain looked for a fastball. He was sitting on it. A fastball up, as it turned out.
He swung, and did something he had never done before, something he had wanted to do his whole life, something that he will remember the rest of his life. "I knew I got it," he said later, over the phone. "And I was happy it wasn't a squeaker."
No. McClain was into his home run trot two steps out of the batter's box, as his first major league home run traveled deep into the left-center field stands. It seemed like he tried to slow himself down on this journey that he'd waited for, a journey he may or may not take again, and he enjoyed it. Bochy waited for him at the top step of the dugout, and told him how happy he was for him.
The rest of the Giants? They ignored him, for a few seconds, anyway, until they all came over to high-five and hug him. Krukow and Duane Kuiper noticed that some players in the Rockies' dugout, some of whom had certainly been on the field with McClain over the years, seemed to smile as well.
He has the home run ball, and will show it to his family. They've probably heard the news by now.