"For these FATHERS, the hope is this is just the start of long careers for two high school teammates. There could be a day down the road where it's Trevor Bauer opposing Michael Montgomery on the same mound in the big leagues."
Two fathers, who lived two blocks from each other, watched their sons dominate on the same high school baseball mound in 2008. Over the years, they have kept in contact, mostly by text message.
One father, Warren Bauer - whose son is Hart High graduate, four-year Major Leaguer and Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer - finally got to send the text congratulating David Montgomery on his son becoming a Major Leaguer on June 2.
"Congratulations. Enjoy the moment," David recalls the text that Warren sent him on the day David's son Michael made his big league debut pitching for the Seattle Mariners.
Warren and David share one of the most unique baseball stories in America. Their sons pitched together on the same high school team and are both Major League starting pitchers.
The players themselves aren't as connected as their fathers. Years away from the Santa Clarita Valley and the pressures and demands of professional baseball can cause separation. But those demands and pressures have allowed the fathers to share advice and good thoughts to each other - and remain connected.
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"The ups and the downs as parents and dads, we share a common bond a lot of people can't share," David says. "Just seeing the home runs they've given up, the strikeouts and the successes, you live those moments as parents with them and we have in a unique way."
Says Warren: "Dave and I have shared the journey. His started earlier because Michael went straight to the pros and had a lot of early success and was minor league Pitcher of the Year for the Royals, so I sort of looked to Michael and how he did to see, 'OK, this is what will probably happen with Trevor.' I talk with Dave from time to time and I learned more about the pros because he had the pro experience and Trevor was at UCLA."
Michael was a first-round pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2008. He was at one point considered the top left-handed pitching prospect in baseball. During that time, Trevor was considered the best collegiate arm in the country while he was at UCLA. Trevor was a first-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011.
Their road to the Major Leagues differed, though. It took Trevor one year to make it to the big leagues and Michael did it in seven. Both have shared plenty of adversity.
Both players were traded by the teams who drafted them and both battled to gain acceptance. Trevor was thought to be too different in his preparation and approach to the game, yet has found a home in Cleveland where he is both accepted and valued. Michael, who was traded for the second time in his career in March, found a groove early after making his debut with the Mariners. But that was after years of trying to convince a big league team that he was ready to pitch at baseball's highest level.
Both fathers say they caught a case of the nerves when their sons debuted, and they still do. However, there have been moments that they will never forget - such as their big league debuts.
Trevor's was June 28, 2012 in Atlanta. A memory that sticks out for Warren was the attention shifting to him. He recalls it with a laugh.
"You know your son's going to make his Major League debut. You know the cameras are going to be looking for you. I was hiding from the reporter and I knew they were coming, so I went to get something to eat and get a drink," Warren remembers. "The reporter was a nice lady. After she didn't find me, she sat in a cluster of people where I couldn't see her. I came walking over the seats and I thought I was safe and I came over the seats and almost stepped on her, and then she looked up at me and there was that microphone."
David got the call that Michael was going to be brought up to the big leagues while standing on the field at Hart High after an Indians playoff win. Family from across the nation - 18 people in all - made their way +to Seattle to watch Michael pitch that June 2.
"I look over [during the game] and my sister-in-law's crying. My mother-in-law's crying. My sister is crying. Everybody was happy and relieved," David says. "There's no crying in baseball, but that day there was I guess."
For these fathers, the hope is this is just the start of long careers for two high school teammates. There could be a day down the road where it's Trevor Bauer opposing Michael Montgomery on the same mound in the big leagues.
Text messages likely won't be necessary. Both fathers will likely share their proud feelings together.