He pledged he wasn’t nervous. His play supported the notion.
But that doesn’t mean the gravity of the moment — starting at second base for the San Francisco Giants, the team he grew up rooting for, becoming the first born-and-raised Honduran to be penciled in to a major league lineup, surrounded by boyhood legends he now calls teammates — didn’t hit him.
“First inning, I looked to my right, and there are those two,” Mauricio Dubon said of Brandon Crawford — his childhood hero — and Evan Longoria. “It’s unreal. Looked to my left, I saw [Brandon] Belt. And I looked down. There’s me!”
There was Dubon, crossing second base in the second inning on a sharp ground ball by San Diego’s Ty France. He already was hustling over to cover the bag on a steal attempt, and just kept on running until he dove, springing right back up to throw France out.
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 30, 2019
“It was an instinct play,” Dubon said after the Giants lost, 5-3, to the Padres at Oracle Park on Thursday.
There was Dubon, two innings later, not waiting to see Chris Paddack’s offspeed stuff, but jumping on a first-pitch fastball. He lined it down the right-field line, took a big turn and trotted back to first the owner of a major league hit. His first.
He tried to play it cool, lasting maybe a minute before he cracked a smile. After the frame, he took stock.
“It just hit me. That was my first hit,” he said, having returned to an excited dugout. “These guys made it special.”
There was a lot of excitement around the unbalanced team, filled with inexperienced players seeking a shot and seasoned veterans seeking more.
“Youth is a great thing. it adds to the ballclub. The energy, speed, things like that. … You can tell he brings that,” Bruce Bochy said. “… That can be contagious.”
Dubon had the Giants’ loudest 1-for-3-with-a-single night of the season. The crowd cheered each of his at-bats, knowing they were his first as a starter. (He had two as a pinch-hitter with the Brewers.)
Some of the crowd were more informed than others. Both of his Sacramento host families were in attendance, and he said the scene in Honduras, where restaurants were streaming the game, must be “pretty crazy.”
“I couldn’t hear anything,” said the 25-year-old Major League Baseball player. “Everyone was loud. It was crazy.”
There was Dubon, leaving the postgame scrum to check his phone for the first time. He’ll have some messages to return.
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