ARLINGTON — Kyle Crick’s first trip back to the Metroplex as a big-leaguer earlier this week spanned just three days, but the Sherman native made the most of his time here with the Pirates.
On Monday, an off-day for Pittsburgh between finishing a three-game series in Los Angeles and starting of a quick two-gamer against the Rangers, Crick, 26, spent the day with his brother, who now calls Dallas home, and his best friend.
“It just felt like an off-season day,” Crick said. “We went and saw that new Avengers movie; it was pretty good. It was a good time.”
Crick and his brother have visited Globe Life Park in Arlington about 30 times as fans to see the Rangers play over the years, so when he walked into the same stadium for the first time as a big-league hurler, it was a great feeling.
“This was the park that me and my brother came to watch baseball be played from a young age,” Crick recalled. “You always dream of playing in it, but for it to come to fruition is kind of awesome. I was watching Juan Gon(zalez), Pudge, A-Rod and some of those dudes in that area just pull balls left and right. It was awesome. I just remember whenever Juan Gone would hit homers, the announcer used to say Juan Gone and put it up on the board. As a kid, that was pretty much what I wanted to do as well.”
On Tuesday, the Pirates were down 3-0 heading to the ninth inning before they tagged Rangers’ closer Jose Leclerc for three runs, a rally punctuated by a two-run double from Dallas native Josh Bell, who was playing before 150 friends and family. Crick was summoned to pitch the 10th inning with the game tied and needed only eight pitches, seven strikes, including one strikeout.
In the top of the 11th, Bryan Reynolds hit his first big-league home run on a straightaway shot to center field. The Pirates added two more runs to lead 6-3 and after closer Felipe Vazquez registered his seventh save, Crick was credited with his first win of the season, and the fourth of his career, as the Pirates prevailed 6-4.
And in Wednesday’s afternoon tilt, a game the Pirates won 7-5 to complete the sweep, Crick delivered another scoreless inning, this time needing 10 pitches, seven strikes, to cap his DFW return in impressive fashion.
“I can’t really put it into words. The only time I’ve ever been here was for a pre-draft workout for the Rangers,” he said. “I kind of got my toes wet, but there was nobody in the stands then, just scouts.”
Of course, this wasn’t his first big-league victory. That came last July in San Diego with the Giants. Crick’s big-league debut was on July 22, 2017 in Atlanta as he threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings, retiring seven of the eight batters he faced while needing 33 pitches, 26 strikes.
“I kind of blacked out for it quite a bit. I remember I had been closing in Triple-A and when I did get called up, I think I threw eight or nine outs,” he said. “It was 2 2/3 I think, so that was the longest I had gone that year, my debut. It’s pretty cool. I obviously couldn’t plan for something like that. It was in Atlanta at the new stadium. I was pretty excited about that too.”
Crick was fully aware that his first two times pitching at Globe Life Park would also likely be his last since the Rangers next season will move next door to indoor Globe Life Field, a change that’s welcomed due to the stifling summer heat in Arlington. He’s sad to see the spot where he and his brother enjoyed so many games about to be a thing of the past, but understands the Rangers’ move to an indoor facility is geared toward improving the fan experience.
Not only was he ecstatic about pitching in Arlington for the first time, but like he every time he takes the mound in The Show, Crick was also honored to represent Sherman.
“Being a Sherman Bearcat is pretty cool. I’ll tell you what, we were lucky enough to have a pretty good football team too as well as baseball when I was going to school there,” he said.
“Even if you get a ride to play baseball, usually your first sport was football. My main memories in Sherman are under the lights on Friday night, playing with my brother, best friends and stuff like that.”