Pirates rookie's 12-year-old HR moment a dream come true - News Coverage

Pirates rookie’s 12-year-old HR moment a dream come true

PHOENIX — As Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker left Chase Field late Tuesday night, he still couldn’t believe it.

Here he was, 18 years after cheering on the Arizona Diamondbacks as a kid growing up in Phoenix, hitting a home run in the place he cherished.

When the 22-year-old rookie homered Tuesday for the first time since his April 20 major-league debut, Tucker literally laughed circling the bases, unable to stop smiling, and screamed to his teammates.

“It was nuts, man,” Tucker, 22, said after the Pirates’ 6-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. “I couldn’t even play it cool. It was trying to, but the 12-year-old came out of me.

“It sounds cheesy, but Chase Field, means so much to me. I grew up as a baseball fan here. To hit a home run, it means the world, man.”

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Who can blame him?

He grew up worshipping the Diamondbacks and was in attendance during Games 2 and 7 of the 2001 World Series. He couldn’t even believe that Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, the World Series hero in their triumph over the New York Yankees, was actually in the broadcast booth watching his home run.

“Was he really?’’ Tucker said. “Holy poop! That’s insane. My closet D-backs fan is coming out. I always dreamed about winning games in this stadium, and now I’m on the other team and I still get to do that.”

If this is a dream, Tucker pleads, please don’t wake him up.

He arrived early to Chase Field on Monday with his father, Jackie. He sat in several of the same seats he did as a kid rooting on the Diamondbacks, but Tuesday for the encore, he got to run the bases, just like he was a kid after a Sunday afternoon home game.

“Ever since I was in elementary school,” Tucker said, “I knew that Major League Baseball was a thing that people did. It was my goal, my dream, to get there. To be so close to where that journey began for me is awesome.”

There were about 350 friends and family from his hometown of suburban Ahwatukee, including grandparents and little league coaches, all screaming wildly.

And when he homered in the eighth inning, you could have sworn the game was in Pittsburgh with the loud cheers and celebration.

“One of the coolest things that I’ve ever experienced,” he said. “Making your debut is awesome, that’s No. 1, but this is a close second. This is home. I grew up coming to games here. I learned baseball here. I taught myself how to read by reading the D-backs media guides.”

And now he can forever say he hit a home run at Chase Field, and even got the ball to prove it. A former student from Pinnacle High School, against whom Tucker played while attending Mountain Pointe High, caught the ball and returned it. Tucker gave him an autographed bat in exchange.

“That’s really nice of him to do,’’ Tucker said. “If I caught a home run ball, I’d be like, later dude.”

Cole sat back and laughed. He was still in disbelief.

He walked back onto Chase Field after the game, looked around the stadium one more time, soaking in the moment, with one more dream.

Yep, one day, he’d sure like to take a dip in that outfield pool at Chase Field.

“I want to go in there so bad,” he said.

Well, perhaps one day.

For now, it’s one dream at a time.

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