Buddy Kennedy gives dad a grand Father's Day gift

D-backs' No. 21-ranked prospect smacks grand slam in rout

June 20th, 2022

PHOENIX -- The D-backs led, 3-1, in the bottom of the sixth inning on Sunday afternoon when Buddy Kennedy stepped to the plate with one out and the bases loaded.

Arizona's No. 21-ranked prospect, who had picked up his first Major League hit in his debut Friday night, worked the count to 3-0. In the dugout, manager Torey Lovullo flashed the take sign to third-base coach Tony Perezchica who then went through a series of signs.

Twins lefty Caleb Thielbar uncorked a 91 mph fastball and Kennedy crushed it over the wall in left for his first career homer, and the grand slam turned the game into a laugher with Arizona eventually winning, 7-1 at Chase Field.

As it turns out, Kennedy thought the count was 2-0, so he wasn't checking the signs from Perezchica. For the D-backs, it turned out to be a welcomed missed sign.

"Realistically, yeah, I've had bases loaded before [in] my career," Kennedy said. "But not with a crowd and the stadium and everything like that. So I did lose track [of the count]. I take responsibility. That's my fault, but it's just the moment got to me."

The more than 30,000 in attendance for Father's Day began chanting "Bud-dy, Bud-dy," and Kennedy's teammates convinced him to take a curtain call.

"That was something I've never -- obviously -- never experienced," Kennedy said. "I've seen it on TV and when I went to baseball games when I was younger. It's something that's pretty cool because it doesn't happen often, doesn't happen a lot. I really didn't hear anything running around the bases or when I touched home plate. Something to always have in my pocket, for sure."

After taking two of three from the Twins and watching Kennedy's special moment, Lovullo said he didn't plan to address it with Kennedy, saying he wanted the rookie to enjoy his special day.

The homer not only helped put the game away, but also provided a feel-good moment for Kennedy, his teammates and the crowd. The view from the other side of the field was not as positive.

"Obviously a big moment for him," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "I don't like to see it against us. If I was watching the game on TV, I'd probably smile and be pretty happy for the guy, getting a little curtain call and all that stuff. But when it's against you, it doesn't feel real good and you're not really looking forward to seeing anything like that. But yeah, he played pretty good over the series."

Kennedy is close friends with Angels star Mike Trout. The pair are both from Millville, N.J., and work out together in the offseason.

"When I came in here, I saw he hit his first home run and I'm happy for him," said Trout after the Angels beat the Mariners. "I've watched him grow as a player and as a person. I work out with him in the offseason. It's good to see him out there and it's obviously a dream come true for him. Being from my hometown and going to the same high school as me, it's special and I'm happy for him."

Kennedy had his family in town for the series, including his parents, his girlfriend and his grandfather, former big leaguer Don Money.

The Kennedy family celebrated on the field in front of the D-backs' dugout after the game.

"Hopefully I gave my dad the best Father's Day gift I possibly could," Kennedy said. "Just special for me, special for my dad, obviously special for my family. And it was just pretty cool. And, you know, I'm just going to live in the day and have fun with it. My dad said he's just so proud of me and he knows how hard I worked and the [sacrifices] I put in when I was younger traveling all over, playing in different states. He's like, 'You did it man. Now just keep grinding and do what you got to do and have fun with it.'"