Walls shares promotion in Facetime emotional appeal to family
When Dave Walls answered the Facetime call on Friday and saw his son’s face, he knew it.
Taylor Walls tears revealed it as he strolled the grounds of Durham Bulls Athletic Park and attempted to speak.
Minutes earlier, Durham Triple-A manager Brady Williams gathered his team near the pitcher’s mound and broke the news that Walls had been promoted by the Tampa Bay Rays.
“He was trying to talk but was having issues and we had already had tears before he could even tell us,” Dave Walls told the Democrat on Sunday.
“I think the first thing I heard was, ‘I did it, daddy, I did it. They called me. We spent the rest of the day on the phone with hundreds of calls and texts trying to figure out how to get to Florida fast.
“It was a crazy day.”
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Walls – a former All-America shortstop at Florida State and a 2017 Rays third-round selection – had a memorable start with a pair of doubles and a run in the Rays’ 3-1 win over Toronto on Saturday .
The switch-hitter became the first Ray to record multiple extra-basic shots in his debut. He also became the third player of the modern era (since 1900) with an extra kick from both sides of the plate in his MLB debut, with Rich Becker (two doubles) in 1993 and George Wright (double , home run) in 1982, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Walls, 24, had a hit in the Rays’ 6-4 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday for their 10th straight win. The victory allowed Tampa Bay to qualify for first place with Boston in the AL East.
Needless to say, it was a three-day whirlwind for Walls, who had never played above Double-A until this season. Considered a more shortstop defender, Walls has hit .327 at Triple-A Durham in 14 games this season. He was promoted when the Rays traded shortstop Willy Adames and right-hander Trevor Richards to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.
“They believe in me,” a grateful Walls told the Tampa Bay Times.
“I could tell how they presented this information to me and the conversations we were having, the sincerity in their voice. So that means a lot to me and it gives me the confidence to go out there and relax, I hope I don’t put too much stress on myself and just perform.
Walls’ parents had just arrived in North Carolina earlier on Friday for a pre-planned visit, driving from their home in Cordele, Ga., To see Taylor; his wife, Hallie; and their one month old daughter, Sutton Grace. Dave Walls was holding his granddaughter when Taylor called to let the family know about her promotion.
The family turned and traveled to Dunedin, Fla. Where the Blue Jays are temporarily playing their home games. Walls wife, daughter and parents were among 30 friends and relatives in attendance for his MLB debut.
“There was a lot of emotion sitting there and watching him play with the guys you hear about on TV every day,” said Dave Walls. “I was so proud of him and the way he behaved (Saturday).
“You couldn’t have asked for a better start.”
Contact Jim Henry at [email protected]
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