Detroit — These things don’t always end up like in a movie.
John Schreiber — the downriver kid from Rockwood who grew up going to Tigers games rooting for guys like Edwin Jackson, who is now his teammate — made his big-league debut in the ninth inning of the Tigers’ 5-2 win over the Royals Friday night.
He had a section full of family and friends cheering wildly as he ran in from the bullpen — “Now pitching for the Tigers, No. 71, John Schreiber.”
Schreiber has dreamed that moment a million times. Except in his dreams, the first hitter he faces, Jorge Soler, doesn’t hit a home run. And then two other ground balls don’t roll through the over-shifted infield.
And in no way does his debut end with manager Ron Gardenhire taking the ball from him with two runners on, two outs and the tying run coming to the plate.
“The worst part of it was going out there because I was hearing it from people for taking him out,” Gardenhire joked. “He gave up some ground balls. The shift beat us tonight and maybe that’s something we’ll adjust.
“But that was a great moment. Going out to get him, that kid was smiling, win, lose or draw.”
Schreiber, who attended Gibraltar Carlson High and pitched collegiately at Henry Ford College and University of Northwestern Ohio (NAIA), was mostly just glad to have the first one over with.
“That was a big moment for me,” he said. “I was excited to get out there and get my first outing out of the way.”
Schreiber allowed himself to take a good look around before he threw a pitch, daring himself to believe this was actually happening. Then, before he got his bearings, he was behind in the count to Soler.
“I wanted to go breaking ball,” he said. “But I never ended up shaking off Rog’s (catcher Jake Rogers) sign. That’s on me. But, just keep going out there, keep getting some outings and get comfortable.”
It was the first of countless learning experiences for him.
“Schreiber making his debut was awesome,” Jackson said. “I was with him down in Toledo and he was excited like a little kid. It’s awesome to see that.”