Are you looking for a feel-good story from Major League Baseball’s Friday night action? Of course you are. Who doesn’t like feeling good? Wynton Bernard has you covered here.
Wynton Bernard was drafted by the Padres in the 35th round in 2012. Though he was drafted out of Niagara (New York) University, he was born and raised in San Diego, so it was a fun little story to be selected by his hometown team. Unsurprisingly, most 35th-round picks don’t make the majors. Many don’t even come close.
Bernard wouldn’t give up, though. He hung around in the minors for 10 years, appearing in 863 minor-league games. He also appeared in action in the Atlantic League (independent), Venezuelan Winter League, Australian Baseball League, Mexican Pacific Winter League, Dominican Winter League and the Constellation Winter League (independent).
He’s spent parts of four seasons and 241 games at the Double-A level and 417 games in parts of six seasons at Triple-A.
Friday, he was able to inform his mother that he was finally going to The Show:
Bernard mentions his mother caring for his father in there. Details on that, from the Denver Post:
Bernard’s voice cracked as he recounted his mother’s unwavering diligence while caring for his father, Walter, who passed away in 2010. Bernard told himself he’d work just as hard as she had in pursuing his lifelong dream.
Hold back those tears. We aren’t done. Here he is first walking onto Coors Field, along with audio from his Triple-A manager:
Bernard grounded out in his first career at-bat and struck out next time up. Then things got really fun. He easily beat an infield grounder — he was initially called out, but replay overturned the call for his first career hit — stole second and scored a run on a sac fly.
His reaction to the overturn and the family shots are such good stuff. The full broadcast gave many more fun moments, including how joyous the dugout was in congratulating Bernard in the dugout after he scored. And he was all smiles the whole time. Good for him.
Speaking of family, Wynton becomes the third member of his immediate family with ties at the highest level of a major professional sport, along with two of his brothers. Walter Bernard had a brief NFL career in the early 2000s and Wayne Bernard signed contracts with both the Raptors and Kings in the NBA. Wynton honored them both on his cleats Friday:
Quite a feel-good moment, to say the least.