ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Steve Pearce took a called third strike in his first Opening Day start.
Pearce’s second-inning at-bat was the fulfillment of a goal. Though he’d been on an Opening Day roster before, in 2011 with Pittsburgh, Pearce had never started.
If Wilson Betemit hadn’t torn a ligament in his right knee eight days before, Pearce probably wouldn’t have made the Opening Day roster.
It was a doubly special day because Pearce’s family and friends came to see him. He’s from Lakeland, about an hour’s drive away.
“I’m going to have my own section. I’m probably going to actually lose money in this game,” Pearce said.
He bought about 25 tickets and more of his friends are coming on their own, and even better, it’s his father’s birthday.
“It was a goal that was set a long time ago,” Pearce said. “This definitely a special game for me and my family. It’s a day I’m never going to forget.”