Ethan Roberts’ wholesome story continues with ‘indescribable’ MLB debut
“Woo, that was amazing.”
Ethan Roberts stood at his locker, smiling ear-to-ear.
It has been quite the week for the 24-year-old relief pitcher.
On Monday, Roberts found out he made the Opening Day roster during the game and responded with one of the most wholesome interviews in recent memory.
Thursday, he took in his first game at Wrigley Field — and was in MLB uniform for the first time. He previously had only been at Wrigley during the All-Star Break in 2019 for a tour of the empty ballpark.
Saturday, Roberts made his big league debut, closing out the 9-0 Cubs victory.
“It was indescribable,” Roberts said. “Everything I dreamed it would be. It was amazing.”
Before he began the inning, Roberts went down to his knee and took a quick look around. He normally goes down for a quick prayer before each outing but on Saturday, he also wanted to be present in the moment.
“It’s hard to take in everything that’s happening at this field,” Roberts said. “I feel like I got all I could tonight. It was fun.”
Roberts came on to work the 9th inning with a big lead — the perfect landing spot for a kid making his debut. He hit Christian Yelich with a pitch but then induced a double play.
Roberts followed by walking Keston Hiura and then initiated another groundout to end the game.
All the while, he was smiling — including during the at-bat with Hiura.
“I’m just excited in that moment because I know these hitters are really good and I want to try to level up just like them,” Roberts said. “That kinda just put everything into perspective for me — that at-bat did. It was a battle and these guys are good and I want to level up just like them.”
Roberts had 26 family members at Wrigley Field for his debut. Most live near his hometown of Sparta, Tenn., and made the drive to Chicago for the weekend.
“That was — I mean I had chills watching him pitch just ’cause he’s such a good kid,” Justin Steele said. “Love him to death. As soon as he came in from the win, they were coming into the locker room, I gave him a big hug, I was like congratulations. That was really special to watch.”
The right-hander was a 4th-round pick of the Cubs in 2018 and has only appeared in 94 minor league games prior to his MLB debut.
Last season with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Roberts had a 3.00 ERA and struck out 72 batters in 54 innings.