Monday’s magical moment: ‘Besties’ reunited for Cubs doubleheader
When Nelson Velázquez was promoted to the majors ahead of Monday’s doubleheader at Wrigley Field, he could take solace in the fact that a member of his family was already in the clubhouse.
Not literally, of course. But Velázquez and fellow Cubs rookie Christopher Morel are so close they call each other brothers.
The two prospects have come up together throughout the Cubs system. They played together at short-season A-ball in Eugene in 2018, Class-A South Bend in 2019, Double-A Tennessee in 2021 and then spent some time together with the Smokies again this year before their respective promotions (Morel to the majors and Velázquez to Triple-A Iowa).
“Nelson for me is like a brother, really,” Morel said through team translator Will Nadal. “Inside the baseball field, outside the baseball field. The only thing that’s missing is blood between us. We get along super well. He’s been there to support me, help me out, I’ve been there as well.”
Velázquez actually texted Morel Sunday saying he was going to see him soon, but Morel thought his former minor league teammate was playing a joke.
“I told him, ‘stop kidding. You’re kidding with me,'” Morel said. “And he responded no, that he was gonna come up. I’m just excited for the opportunity to be here and us to play together.”
Of course, Monday represented a dream come true for Velázquez on its own. But to play alongside Morel at Wrigley Field was icing on the cake.
“It means a lot,” Velázquez said. “We have been together since 2017. He’s my bestie. I’m very happy that he’s here with me right now.”
Morel and Velázquez started both games of Monday’s doubleheader at second base and right field, respectively. They each picked up a hit in both games against Brewers pitching.
This was always where the duo wanted to be when they joined the organization as teenagers.
Now, they get to live that dream simultaneously.
“We always had the mentality that we were gonna be together, do well, just do as best as possible,” Morel said. “Big leagues weren’t really in our head at that point, but we just wanna do our best and then eventually get to the big leagues.”
Morel made his MLB debut two weeks ago, so he has been able to help his “bestie” ease into the high-profile transition.
“He told me and I told him, ‘no matter where you’re at, let’s go there and have fun and be you and you will see the success come through,'” Velázquez said. “Just have fun like you know how to do it. That’s the way we think every time.”