Scott Rice made his Mets and major league debut by pitching a perfect ninth inning in this afternoon’s 11-2 Opening Day win over the San Diego Padres. After the game, Rice told reporters he intends to relich the moment as long as he can and let it all sink in.
“Obviously I had a little jitters just running out there, but once the batters get in, it’s baseball. So I went out there and just tried to stay slow, stay relaxed.”
Rice gave the game ball to his dad afterward, who was on hand to see his son’s lifelong dream finally realized after 14 years in the minors.
“My dad has been the reason why I played baseball growing up. He basically taught me the fundamentals and everything I know about baseball,” Rice said. “He’s the guy I called when I had a bad outing. He’s the first call after every outing. It’s nice that he was able to be there. It’s just as rewarding for him as it is for me.”
Rice is a great story that just keeps getting better.
Original Post 3/29
A short while ago, the New York Mets announced which players have made the Opening Day Roster. Marlon Byrd, LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Atchison, Jeurys Familia, Scott Rice, Greg Burke and Anthony Recker all made the final cut.
But wait, let’s skip back past a few of those names to what I consider to be the biggest surprise on that list… Scott Rice.
At the ripe young age of 31, the lefthander will be making his Major League debut the moment the Mets make a call to the bullpen this season and say, “Bring in No. 56.”
After toiling for 14 years in the minors – only three of those at Triple-A – and for five different organizations, the Simi Valley native will get his first shot in the Bigs with the New York Mets.
Rice, the former 1999 first-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles, has somehow managed to find his place in a wholly revamped Mets bullpen and I bet even he didn’t see that coming. To pull it off, the Mets gambled and won, by sneaking a few names through the waiver wire and not losing any of them.
Last season, Rice made 27 appearances for Triple-A Albuquerque (Dodgers) where he posted a 4.40 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 59 innings pitched.
Overall, he has a 4.52 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 129 Triple-A appearances where he’s struck out 100 batters and walked 65 of them in 147 innings pitched.
There’s nothing here that jumps out at you, and he could be the first guy to go once Shaun Marcum is activated in ten days, but I always find stories like this somewhat fascinating.
The kid inside me loves to pull for a guy like Scott Rice. I love the backstory… Grinding it out for a decade and a half in the minor leagues is not easy, so right off the bat I see a fighter and someone who has no quit in him.
Maybe Rice was just waiting for his one chance – his one golden opportunity – his one moment to prove something to himself.
We may look at this move today and just shrug our shoulders. But I bet all of Scott’s friends and family smiled a big smile for him when they all learned the news.
I bet his iPhone was surging with activity as the congratulatory texts all rushed in.
There’s something very special and heart-warming about the thought of that…
So let me chime in, along with the rest of his family and friends, to say:
Congratulations, Scott… You’ve made it to the show…
Welcome to the New York Mets!