Austin Bibens-Dirkx didn’t get much sleep Wednesday night but he’s not complaining. He was still up late into the night responding to messages of love and support from friends and family after making his major league debut for the Rangers.
Bibens-Dirkx, 32, received almost a hundred calls and texts from friends, family, former coaches and a principal after pitching the ninth inning. His wife, Leah, who was shown nervously watching from the seats at Globe Life Park on Fox Sports Southwest’s telecast, told him “You did it! It’s official” when they first hugged after the game.
318 Minor league games Austin Bibens-Dirkx appeared in, along with 1,040 1/3 innings pitched, before making his major league debut Wednesday night.
“It was a nice moment,” said Bibens-Dirkx, who was called up from Triple A Round Rock May 7 but had yet to make an appearance. In fact, he hadn’t face a batter in 16 days. He was almost more nervous about just throwing strikes than it being his MLB debut. “I think she was more nervous than I was. Apparently, she got almost as much TV time as I did. It was nice having her here.”
Bibens-Dirkx was still shaking his head about a bloop single by Maikel Franco that scored a run.
“It was weak contact, I wanted it to be perfect but just getting out there was a perfect moment for me,” he said. “It took me a while to get to bed. I was still pretty amped up. I tried to lay in bed and fall asleep but stuff kept running through my head and one of them was the pitch to Franco that he blooped in to center. It could have carried a little farther, or if it was a better pitch ... it’s one of those things I’ll always remember. It was a blast.”
Another thing keeping him up were those congratulations messages, friends sending screen grabs and videos of the moment.
“Immediately I had friends sending me pictures. Just a lot of really nice gestures from some people I haven’t talked to in quite a while. They’re supporting me, which is awesome,” he said.
He had a lot of advocates in that dugout tonight. That’s what’s great about our game. When you get a guy like this who was out of organized baseball at one point. They love the guy.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
Bibens-Dirkx wasn’t happy with the face he was making while looking in at the catcher.
“I need to work on my face when I’m looking at home,” he joked. “That’s not a good look.”
His favorite photograph from the night was of him hugging Rangers’ starter Andrew Cashner after the game. Cashner is planning to have a framed picture, the ball he struck out Michael Saunders with, and a ticket stub from the game framed for him.