Mike Yastrzemski is as stoic as it gets on and off the field, but he already has told himself to soak in at least one moment during his first game at Fenway Park. Early Tuesday, Yastrzemski did that while walking into the ballpark where his grandfather became a legend.
"I got to walk in here by myself when I got to the field and there were a lot of memories of being in the stands," Yastrzemski said during a press conference Tuesday. "Being in the stands for the World Series, being in the stands for the 1999 Home Run Derby, the All-Star Game. Those things overwhelm you more than the playing here. The playing here is cool and I see it as something that's part of my job and something I always wanted to do."
Yastrzemski drew a crowd Tuesday in his first appearance at Fenway Park as a player, and he spent some time with his grandfather, Carl, a Hall-of-Famer who played all 23 seasons of his career in Boston.
Yaz & Yaz pic.twitter.com/ZU3NBxpdSI— Red Sox (@RedSox) September 17, 2019
This is a moment the Yastrzemski family and Red Sox fans have been waiting for since he broke in with the Giants earlier this season. Mike said family members looked at the schedule and right away noticed that the Giants would play an interleague series in Boston in September. But he didn't allow himself to get carried away, even though he said "it's always a dream to play here when you're a kid growing up in New England."
"I kept it focused on just surviving one more day in the big leagues," Yastrzemski said. "There's been a lot of turnover on our team and I knew they were looking for production and I knew that to make it to Boston I had to play well. I said I've got to make it to Boston before I can talk about it. So now I guess I can talk about it."
Yastrzemski nearly got optioned early in the second half, but stuck around and became a fixture for the Giants, who are making a rare visit to his hometown. Yastrzemski listed Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon as his favorite players growing up. On Tuesday, he'll take the field those players once starred on.
"I was a big-time fan of the Red Sox growing up," he said. "And being able to come here and play is just a little cherry on top."