The piece of paper looked like one grabbed from the printer tray. It wasn’t stationery and there were no lines. The pen used must have been a BIC or maybe one kept from a less-than-five-star hotel room of his minor-league travels.
The words, which were simple and to the point without exclamation points, were written in a similar print fashion — no cursive, no excessive amount of time spent on making them look pretty or even symmetrical.
Atop the paper in capital letters — GOALS:
A list of three things followed, they read:
- Debut in 2021
- Throw 100 mph
- Weigh 210 lbs
Under that list was something that his dad would ask him on a daily basis as a kid growing up in the Houston suburbs, and later ask when he was a college athlete at Stephen F. Austin University and will text to him multiple times a week.
“What have you done today to get there?”
Will Vest checked off the weigh 210 pounds goal this offseason, after spending hours in the weight room, building his legs and core. But on Thursday night at T-Mobile Park, he was able to check off the No. 1 goal on that list when he made his MLB debut in the Mariners’ stunning 8-7 win over the Giants.
Vest entered the game in the eighth inning with the Mariners trailing 5-1. He struck out the first batter he faced — Evan Longoria looking.
“I have an autographed picture of Evan Longoria in my apartment when he was playing at Long Beach State,” Vest said. “That’s kind of crazy for my first MLB K.”
Vest got Brandon Belt to line out to Dylan Moore for the second out. But then things got crazy. He gave up a double to Wilmer Flores and then wild pitched him to third. He issued a walk to Buster Posey and should’ve been out of the inning when Brandon Crawford hit a ground ball to shortstop. But J.P. Crawford’s poor throw couldn’t be gloved by Evan White and a run scored. Vest got Mauricio Dubon to line out to end his debut inning.
“Somebody alluded to it as ‘a buffet,’” Vest said with a chuckle.
The fact that he threw a pitch at the MLB level is a testament to patience, perseverance and the push from others as he converted from a light-to-non-hitting shortstop at SFA into a hard-throwing reliever drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 12th round in 2017 and selected by the Mariners in this offseason’s Rule 5 draft.
“I don’t think it truly hit me until I was running on to the field last night,” he said. “I kind of got chills running through my body when I was making the trek out to the mound. It was just an unbelievable experience. I was just grateful for the opportunity.”
But let’s get back to that list, which he posted a picture of on Instagram. He could only put a mental checkmark next to goal No. 1 since it’s still hanging on the door of his apartment in Houston.
He had never been a big “goals” guy. His older brother, Drew, was always that guy, writing down his goals on a piece of paper.
So when Will tore his ulnar collateral ligament in college, he started doing the same. But this latest goal sheet was written in June 2020.
“Every single morning whenever I wake up and cook breakfast and I was walking out the door to go work out, I’d look at it,” Vest said. “That was my motivation to get me through the day.”
Vest has already started thinking about a new goal sheet.
“You have to raise your sights,” he said. “You can’t be complacent.”
Servais agrees with MLB’s decision to pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta
Manager Scott Servais spent much of last season wearing T-shirts that encouraged voting and worked diligently to bring about voter awareness to his players. He tried to get all of them registered to vote and provide information as to why it’s important as a civic responsibility. He was asked about MLB’s decision to pull the All-Star Game and MLB draft from Atlanta in reaction to the state of Georgia’s new voting law — SB202 — which many civil-rights and voting-activist groups said would lead to voter suppression of minority groups.
“From my standpoint, I absolutely agree with the decision,” Servais said. “Major League Baseball is doing the right thing. Certainly people are free to have their own opinions on it, but with everything that’s going on in our country, and I think people know how I feel about certain things — obviously the ability to vote, and how important that is for the future of our country for everybody to get equal rights are really important to me. I was glad by what I’ve seen and heard with the decisions that were made there to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia.”