Chadwick Tromp provided one of those flashes in Friday night’s 9-2 win over the Rangers when he smoked a 2-2 fastball in the other direction and by a shift in the fifth inning. Tromp couldn’t hide his smile as he turned around first, and he briefly raised his hand to signal, politely asking that the baseball be thrown into the Giants dugout.
The 25-year-old didn’t know it, but it was well taken care of.
“Everyone was making this motion,” said director Gabe Kapler. “Everyone wanted to make sure we had this ball for him. I don’t think we would have missed this, but I think it’s telling that everyone had this in mind. ”
Players aren’t allowed to spend as much time nearby as they once did, but they still spent enough time with Tromp on two camps to learn his story. He’s originally from Aruba and is currently one of two players – along with Boston’s Xander Bogaerts – in the big leagues of the tiny Caribbean island that has the population of a tiny suburb of California. Tromp had been in the minors with the Reds since 2013 and missed most of the 2019 season as he recovered from shoulder surgery.
The Giants liked what they saw from 26 games in Triple-A and added it for organizational depth. A hot summer camp, plus Buster Posey’s disengagement, put Tromp on the list this week after a tight hamstring healed.
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Tromp made his first start on Wednesday and struck out three goals. Kapler met him before this match and asked him if he was nervous. Tromp played it, but then returned the question to his manager.
“I was like, yeah man, I was nervous before every game I played in the big leagues, I was nervous every time I did anything on camera, I was nervous before to train things – that’s part of it, ”Kapler laughs. “This adrenaline, this heartbeat, it’s kind of what boosts concentration. I think it’s really important to use the nerves to elevate our game.
“Some of those nerves calmed down tonight. He settled in well, obviously called a great game, got some big hitting down the area and had some good batting shots. It was a good overall performance and the kind of performance we’ve seen in our modified camp that has led us to believe he’s going to contribute to our roster in the big leagues this year. “
The first big league success for Chadwick Tromp: pic.twitter.com/dIqEqo6AVr
– Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 1, 2020
Tromp followed up his single with an RBI double. He guided five relievers through 5 1/3 shutout innings, including Conner Menez, who had a huge pop-up with bases loaded in the fifth. When it was over, Tromp entered his first modified handshake line with teammates hoping a night like tonight would come.
“There’s something about him that you want to cheer on for the guy,” said Wilmer Flores, who kicked off.
Maybe that’s because Tromp spent seven years with minors, often as a backup. Or maybe it’s just a matter of personality. As Tromp sat down in the Zoom Room for a post-game interview, he looked up at the camera.
“I’m Chadwick,” he said to no one in particular. ” Nice to meet you. ”
Tromp went on to say that he never lost faith that that day would come. He said his mindset has always been that he’s a big leaguer who just wasn’t in the big leagues yet.
“For me, it was never a doubt,” he said. “It was just a matter of when. ”
That moment came during a week when the sport was possibly imploding. Six teams postponed their games on Friday night, and the commissioner has warned players they need to take safety precautions more seriously. The Giants haven’t had a positive coronavirus test for nearly a month, but they have increased their awareness this week. Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt were shown sitting among cutouts in the stands during Friday’s game.
No one knows how long this season will last, but while they’re on the pitch, players and coaches are doing their best to make the most of it. This pales in comparison to the Aruba scene though.
“The community back home, they’re going crazy, I’ll be honest with you,” Tromp said. “It’s crazy, people are partying, the whole island is partying. I love that. We are such a small island and it is very important to them because it puts us on a bigger scale and shows the world that a small island can do great things in life too. ”
Tromp comes from Oranjestad, a name which – aptly for a catcher of giants – means “Orange Town”. It’s the capital and largest city of Aruba, and eventually that first batted ball, which was thrown immediately into the canoe, will end there.
“He’s going to come home,” Tromp said. “It’s going to be my home, and it’s going to be in a glass box, and it’s going to stay there as long as possible.” ”
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Tromp paused for five seconds, then leaned into the microphone and smiled.
“It’ll probably be in the middle of my house, to be honest,” he said.