No one would have blamed Tim Lopes if he’d left Thursday’s game after being hit on his helmet’s left ear flap in the fourth inning by a 91 mph fastball. Lopes tried to shake the pitch off, sunk to one knee, and was looked at by the Seattle Mariners’ training staff.
But Lopes had spent seven years in the minors fighting for this day — his first start in a Major League Baseball game — and he wasn’t coming out. Lopes eventually took his base, then stole second and came home when J.P. Crawford tripled down the right field line.
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It was an emotional game for Lopes, his parents — with whom he shared a long hug prior to the start — and his wife, Amber, who could be seen in the stands praying for Lopes during his first MLB at bat (a third-inning walk that led to him scoring his first MLB run).
Following his first official appearance as a defensive substitution Wednesday against Texas, Lopes wrote about his gratefulness on Instagram:
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Today is a day that I will never forget. God is so good. He blesses us with more than we can even ask for or imagine. All I can think about as I sat in my locker was the journey that has led me here. I think about all of the people that have helped me get to this point. I think about my family who have been with me every step of the way. I think about how you guys believed in me when I didn’t have any faith in myself. I think back to all the tough days where you all would tell me that I’m going to be a big leaguer some day. I’ve envisioned and dreamed about this day since I was a little boy. You never really believe it’s gonna get here, but it’s here. We serve a mighty God who is way bigger than we give him credit for. Today I became a big leaguer just like you always told me I would. I can finally say I did it…. Actually we did it, because there’s no way I would be here without you all. So thank you. I love you. We did it.
“God is so good. He blesses us with more than we can even ask for or imagine,” he wrote, later adding, “We serve a mighty God who is way bigger than we give him credit for.”
Both Tim and Amber reference their Christian faith often on social media, and Tim lists Isaiah 41:10 in his bio: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
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This. Moment. Was. Everything. The day I met you, your dreams became my dreams. You’ve worn 9 different jerseys before you were able to wear this special one. Timmy, I’m beyond proud, you did it!!!! You’re a big leaguer!!!! Nothing was ever handed to you, you worked for every accomplishment. The grind was worth it. We would not have been able to achieve this dream without our Lord & Savior. This is just a new journey to glory His name not ours. Also, I thought you looked good in a double ear flap… but dangggggg that single ear flap thoooo 😍
Lopes eventually left Thursday’s game in the sixth inning, but after he scored two runs in the Mariners’ 10-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. He is considered day-to-day as he undergoes the league’s concussion protocol.
“That was scary,” Mariners’ manager Scott Servais told MLB.com. “He got smoked pretty good. When he came out at the end, he said his jaw stiffened up and was a little sore. We’ve got to keep a close eye on that one. He got stung pretty good. People don’t realize how hard that ball is coming and how little reaction time you have. Hopefully Timmy will be OK. We’ll check on him tonight and see how he is tomorrow when he comes in.”
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