Matt Bushmann: Never Say Never

Never Say Never

By Christopher Saunders
This story touched me in such a way that I felt the need to write about it.  This is the story of Matt Buschmann. It is the story of perseverance, tenacity, and belief in oneself.   What Buschmann endured  just to reach the major leagues should only make you root for him even more!
Matt Buschmann, Arizona Diamondbacks

Matt Buschmann, Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondback pitcher Matt Buschmann wandered around the minor leagues for 10 years, in places like Portland, Oregon, San Antonio, Texas,  Montgomery, Alabama,  and Durham, North Carolina.   He went from coast to coast, organization to organization, hoping and clawing his way to receive “the call”.  Sadly, however, that call never came… until this past Friday. Buschmann becomes the sixth former Bat to appear in the Major Leagues this season. The right-hander was called up after the Diamondbacks designated Kyle Drabek for assignment. Arizona Manager Chip Hale said Buschmann, who was presently at Triple-A Reno, Nevada, can give Arizona some length out of the bullpen.

“He’s able to pitch as a starter so he can pitch multiple innings if we need it in a game.”, Hale said.
How  Buschmann will be used, though, is far less interesting than how he got there. He was the San Diego Padres’ 15th-round draft choice in 2006 out of Vanderbilt University, where he joined the Bats after his freshman season at Vanderbilt and the team won the 2003 NECBL title.  He went 5-3 with a 2.86 ERA in nine starts.  Last year, he was 8-10 with a 4.08 ERA for the Triple-A organizations with Tampa Bay, Florida,  Cincinnati, Ohio,  and Baltimore, Maryland.
There  were times, Buschmann admitted, when he thought he’d never pitch in a major-league game.  “I always believed I could pitch in the big leagues,” he said, “and I think you’ve got to (but) after 10 years riding buses,  reality sets in. You’re married (his wife, Sara Walsh, is an ESPN anchor) and you start to realize this is a tough life. But I always said the day I felt like I couldn’t compete at the big-league level, I’d be done.  I never felt like that.”
The  St. Louis, Missouri  native signed with Arizona over the winter because he felt the organization would give him a shot if he was the best option, despite his age and career minor-league status. The call came late Thursday night, when Reno Manager Phil Nevin called Buschmann and said he needed to talk to him right away.  “I can never tell guys they’re going to the big leagues for the first time over the phone,” Nevin said.
Buschmann added, “It was really cool.”
His first call was to his wife. It was 2:45 a.m. in Connecticut, where they live. Walsh, her parents and Buschmanns’ parents hurriedly bought plane tickets and were in Chase Field for Friday’s game.  Perhaps, while he was in the bullpen, he might have  answered all the text messages he’s been getting from former teammates.  “My phone hasn’t stopped,” Buschmann said with a smile.
“I finally put it away.” Whatever happens in Buschmanns’ career, after all the bus rides, countless states, and the teams, he can finally say he made it!
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