Scottsdale, Ariz. -- Trevor Story is making things hard for the Colorado Rockies this spring. Or maybe he's making things easy as the team's shortstop of the future, thus far slashing .350/.458/1.100 in Cactus League action with a double, a triple, and four home runs. With it, he's forcing the club's hand to consider him for their Opening Day opening at shortstop come April.
Sure, it's just 20 at-bats, a mere eight games into the spring, so it'd be unwise to draw conclusions from it. But it's also ignorant not to realize what Story is doing already this spring and why it matters considering the Rockies' shortstop issues. For Story's part, he's moving forward like nothing has changed—probably a wise move for somebody firmly under the microscope of Major League media.
Just don't expect his mother, Teddie, to be quite as smooth with the increased attention coming his way.
"It still feels pretty new. It’s like, is this really happening to our kid?" Teddie asks rhetorically, still amazed at Trevor's rise, now nearly to the big leagues. "It’s so cool that he has this opportunity to do exactly what he said he was going to do. A long time ago, he told me he was going to be a Major League Baseball player. I was kinda like, OK, thinking the next couple years he would change his mind and focus on something else. But he never did. He never varied off that path."
Story's dogged determination has taken him from a high school in suburban Dallas, to every single outpost in the Rockies' organization the last several years, to now sitting in the club's Scottsdale clubhouse, seemingly inches away from the big leagues and getting closer with every single hit he records this month. It hasn't always been easy, though—especially on the mom who watched her son walk out the door a few weeks after graduating from high school to enter the unforgiving world of professional baseball.
"We were of course very concerned about how he handled it, and if he was OK," Teddie says. "He and I have this practice where we speak on the telephone every Wednesday, at least every Wednesday, because I just need to hear his voice, you know? He’s my kid. He’s far away."
Trevor was far away from home in 2013, his third year of professional baseball, when the Rockies sent him to California's Central Valley. That was the first time he really struggled, when he ended up slashing .233/.305/.394 in 130 games for the Modesto Nuts. As mothers tend to do, Teddie worried about it—but Trevor brought her back to reality, reassuring her it was just the ebb and flow of a baseball season.
"It got to a place where we were like, ‘do you need to talk to somebody, do you need whatever?’ And he’s like, ‘Mom, I’m OK, I’m just not hitting, and I’ll figure it out. Everything will be fine, y’all just need to not worry,’" Teddie says. "But that's exactly the opposite of what parents do! The mommas, at least."
"The dads," Teddie continues, trailing off. "My husband handles it much better than me. You just feel bad for them when they are going through a tough time and you’re not physically there. But I don’t know that our being there would have changed anything at all. He was working his way through it, and eventually he just figured it out."
Figure it out, he did; the shortstop cruised through Double-A last summer and showed off in Triple-A the second half of the season. Now, he's primed for a legitimate shot at the big leagues to open 2016. With it comes a lot of media coverage. Teddie pays attention to it, a mom wanting as much information as she can get on her son; but to hear Trevor tell it, that doesn't always work out well.
"My mom likes to look at that stuff, and I’ve had to tell her I don’t want to hear about it," Trevor admits, standing in the Rockies' clubhouse in Scottsdale. "Good or bad, I don’t want to hear about it, because it doesn’t really benefit me in any way. I just worry about getting to the park and preparing for that day. Anything outside of that is unneeded attention that I would give it."
That a player is so even-keeled about media attention and increased focus—and pressure—is an admirable and desired trait. That a player's parent may not take it in the same calm, collected way, though, is understandable.
"We had to learn how he wanted us to handle that," Teddie admits. "Now, when we read something that’s not so favorable, or even something that's really propping him up, we just really try to stay middle of the road about it."
"Sometimes when things are written about Trevor that are really, good, oh, we just love those and that’s the smartest person in the world," Teddie adds, laughing. "But when we read something that’s not so favorable, I just say, well, maybe that was a bad day or something, you know? Because it really truly is just the writer’s opinion."
That being said, all that really matters—to Trevor, of course, but also to Teddie—is the baseball. The on-field stuff is there now, right at Trevor's feet; he has the Major League world in his sights with the possibilities thus far endless. It's at Teddie's feet, too, as a proud mother who can't wait to see her son don purple pinstripes at Coors Field one day soon.
"It really doesn’t feel real and it won’t until it really happens," Teddie admits. "But I’ll tell you, I’ll be the biggest bawl bag you’ve ever seen in your life. I still get all choked up when we go to see him play. I just can’t believe this is his job, that he has the opportunity to do what he loves. This doesn’t happen to everybody."
True to form, Trevor is as even-keeled as his mom is emotional—and while Teddie can't believe Trevor will soon become one of the 750 men active in Major League Baseball, the prospect sees his future in a far more short-term light.
"I don’t look at it as trying to come in and do crazy stuff, or spectacular things," Trevor says. "I’m just trying to be the player I know I am, and I think if I do that, things will take care of itself."
Just don't ask Teddie to be quite so calm with her view of Trevor's career.
"What if my kid makes it? That is just amazing. It’s just amazing to think it could really happen to him," Teddie gushes. "All of this that’s happening right now is just a wonderful opportunity for him. You just pray and pray that it works out."
If Trevor's hot spring continues, Teddie's prayers will undoubtedly be answered—and Coors Field may soon welcome a proud bawl bag for some games early this summer.