Matt Chapman’s first All-Star experience just got even better. The A’s third baseman was named as a Home Run Derby replacement for Christian Yelich on Sunday - and Chapman’s father, Jim, will be his pitcher.
“I’m excited,” said Chapman, who leads Oakland with 21 homers. “I knew I was on a list of people they could call if someone dropped out. It will be a fun time, it’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing.
“Speaking of a dream com true, that’s like my dad’s dream right there. When I was a little kid, we’d watch the Home Run Derby and I don’t think we thought in a million years I’d be in a Home Run Derby but at the time, my dad was like, ‘If you ever got to do that, I would want to throw to you.’ ”
Jim Chapman plays softball once a week, so his arm is in shape; he’s a shortstop. The last time his dad threw him batting practice? “High school,” Chapman said. “But I trust him.”
Jim Chapman said by phone from Cleveland, “I’m excited and nervous at the same time. It’s so last minute, it’s kind of crazy. I’m getting fitted for a uniform today. Matt and I have always talked about this, and the moment is finally here.”
Chapman’s parents were walking around Cleveland on Sunday when they spotted some signage with the All Stars’ photos, including their son, and they asked a passerby to take their photo with it. “They were like, ‘Do you know him?’ And we said, ‘He’s our son!’ ” Jim Chapman said. “We’re pinching ourselves.”
Asked if he has a strategy for his dad, Matt Chapman suggested that Jim just throw rapid fire.