He arrived at Oakland Coliseum on Friday afternoon for the Angels’ second game of the season, almost three full days since being told he’d made the team.
Yet reliever Luke Bard still was feeling a little foreign.
“It hasn’t really sunk in, to be honest,” he said. “This is more than just a job. This is a childhood dream. This is what I’ve wanted to do from the moment I picked up a baseball.”
Bard joined the Angels in December via the Rule 5 draft. He had to make the roster coming out of spring training or be offered back to his former team, the Minnesota Twins.
Until being officially welcomed as a big leaguer by manager Mike Scioscia after the finale of the Freeway Series, he had no idea where he would be to start the season.
“I’d like to say I knew I was making the team, but I didn’t,” said Bard, 27, whose career peaked previously last season with eight games in triple-A. “I could have been back in the minor leagues for all I knew.”
Once he learned of his fate, Bard contacted his family back home in North Carolina. His parents, brother, wife and father-in-law all made it to the Bay Area in time for the Angels’ opener Thursday.
Bard didn’t pitch, but he said he felt almost strangely comfortable sitting in the bullpen, even as the game stretched into extra innings, increasing the chances of him making his big-league debut.
“I was actually surprised how calm I was down there,” he said. “You try to treat it like another game, but obviously it’s not.”
Bard found another sign that he had officially arrived when he walked into the visiting clubhouse here Thursday and found jersey No. 65 hanging in his locker. During spring training, he wore the less-than-baseball-classic No. 90.
“Good old 6-5,” Bard said, smiling. “I’m not going to complain about it. I’m here. That’s all I care about.”