MIAMI -- Come on, blue!
As Marlins left-hander Trevor Rogers struggled to find the strike zone during his season debut on April 5 against the Cardinals, the rookie heard a familiar voice questioning the home-plate umpire at loanDepot park: his mother Colleen.
"I can pick her voice out of a million people," Rogers told MLB.com. "Just throughout the game: 'Rocking fire! Let's go, T-Raw!' Stuff like that. I heard every bit of it."
Rogers' parents, Colleen and Mike, sat about 20 rows up in a section between Miami's dugout and home plate, with a perfect view of their son on the pitcher's mound. Though the 23-year-old could hear his parents, he couldn't find them in the stands until he was back in the dugout and spotted them on the jumbotron.
From Little League all the way through the Minors, Colleen has been a vocal supporter. When her son walked four in a three-run first, she felt Trevor was getting squeezed by the home-plate umpire and made it known.
Take a deep breath.
Hit your spot.
"I told him, 'I'll try to refrain from yelling so loud, but I can't promise,'" Colleen recalled saying before the start. "Just the emotions, his adrenaline. He was just running on high speed. After he came back that second through the fourth innings, he shut them down. That's when I just started probably voicing a little louder than I normally would."
You can't blame Colleen for showing enthusiasm. She wasn't afforded the same opportunity in 2020. Like the other 17 Marlins who made their Major League debuts last season, Trevor's family and friends couldn't be in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they watched on TV from their home in New Mexico as the Marlins beat the Mets, 3-0, on Aug. 25, 2020, in the second game of a seven-inning doubleheader.
After being selected 13th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, Trevor formed a five-year plan to reach The Show. But when he achieved his lifelong dream ahead of schedule, no one could be there for it.
So Trevor tried to find ways to bring his family along for the ride and make the most of the situation. When he arrived in New York, he FaceTimed from the team hotel and everyone marveled at how nice the accommodations were. Once the Marlins' season ended in the National League Division Series, he brought back the lineup card from his debut. It resides in his parents' house.
"It definitely sucked," Rogers said. "It was definitely a negative thing out of a good thing I guess you could say, probably the only negative thing. I definitely wanted all my family and my friends to be out there to watch, but that just didn't happen. I was definitely bummed out. But I just kept reminding my mom, 'There's going to be multiple opportunities for you guys to come out and watch.' Thankfully they came out for my first start this year."
Even though they didn't know for sure when Rogers would make his 2021 debut, Colleen and Mike weren't going to miss it. On Friday, April 2, they drove 2 1/2 hours from Carlsbad, N.M., to El Paso, Texas, where they boarded a flight to Houston. They then changed planes to Miami, where they hadn't been since Trevor signed his professional baseball contract.
Trevor's parents, who hadn't seen him since he left for Spring Training in February, stayed through that Tuesday, catching games on Friday, Saturday and Monday -- when their son pitched. His host family from his Minor League stint in Jupiter, Fla., and a few friends also showed up for his start. Abiding by COVID-19 protocols, Colleen, Mike and Trevor went for a couple of outdoor lunches and had the chance to spend Easter Sunday together.
His parents plan on making the eight-hour drive from Carlsbad to Phoenix when the Marlins face the D-backs next month. They, along with Trevor's four older sisters, hope to schedule another trip to Miami in July.
Until then, the Rogers family will watch Marlins games on MLB.TV, like they did on April 10 when Trevor followed up his 2021 season debut with six scoreless innings and 10 strikeouts against the Mets. He was victorious in a duel with Jacob deGrom, marking the second time he has beaten one of the game's elite pitchers (the other came on Aug. 31, 2020, in his first win). Through three starts, Trevor ranks fourth among qualified NL starting pitchers with 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
"We're from Carlsbad, New Mexico," Mike said. "We're a small town. Nobody'd ever heard of Trevor until he got to the Area Code Games. Every time he steps on the mound, he shows them: 'Hey, I deserve to be here.' And when he pitched against one of the best pitchers in the league, a two-time Cy Young winner, he beat him. I'm very proud of him, because he doesn't get rattled."