Fenway serves as marker of Weems’ MLB journey

May 15th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Jessica Camerato’s Nationals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Every trip to Fenway Park has taken on a different perspective for right-hander .

Selected by the Red Sox in the third round of the 2011 Draft as a catcher, Weems returned to the historic ballpark this past weekend as a key reliever in the Nationals’ bullpen.

Weems, 31, toured the Green Monster with his teammates on the first day of the Interleague series Friday. Although he did not get the call from the ‘pen to pitch against the Red Sox, his fourth visit to Fenway still made a mark in his baseball journey.

“He’s come a long way,” said manager Dave Martinez. “He made the transition to become a pitcher and look where he's at right now -- he’s helping us win games. … I’m very proud of him. He started here. Oftentimes we start in one place, we don't end up at the same place. He's one of those guys, but he did well for himself.”

First visit: 2011

Weems: “When they drafted me, they brought me up for an individual workout. I knew they were high on me, I knew they had been scouting me. At the time, I thought it was a group [workout]. I got here, and I was just by myself with a guy from Boston College. …

“[It looked like] a cathedral. I walked out of the tunnel, and I was like, ‘Whoa. That doesn’t look like it does on TV.’ The mass of the Green Monster was way bigger. It’s a beautiful park, and I kind of took it all in.”

Second visit: Around 2018

Weems: “Next time I came back, when we were up in [Double-A] Portland, Maine, they had some guys come down and pitch on the field itself because they had some tracking to evaluate your movements. Me and Trey Ball and some other guys came down and we threw a bullpen on the mound. That was the first time I actually pitched on the mound. …

“It still looked like a cathedral, still beautiful, but it didn’t seem so far away to play in here. It seemed like dreams were coming true in the sense of, I was making the right steps to get to play here.”

Third visit: 2021

Weems: “I was here with the A’s as a big leaguer. (Weems debuted on July 28, 2020, as a member of the Athletics.) [I] didn’t get to pitch, I was in the bullpen. But just taking in the atmosphere and everything that Fenway has to offer was pretty cool. …

“Seeing a big league game here is something that’s unique. … This is what baseball is about -- the whole environment, the whole fan base, everything is just cool. Sitting out there and taking it all in was a dream come true.”

Fourth visit: 2024

Weems: “It was cool just to think about all the people who’ve probably stepped foot in [the Green Monster] or stepped foot on this field or in this clubhouse. I think back in 2011 when I first got here, I took it all in that it’s pretty cool that Ted Williams and Babe Ruth, all the greats, have stepped on this field. It’s pretty cool to look back and know that I get the opportunity to follow in their footsteps and be out there as well. …

“I think [my perspective is] more of, this is what I do, this is what I’m here for. Now this is my job to go out there, trust my abilities. During the games, be where your feet are. … At the end of it, take it in and be like, 'I made it to here with the team that drafted me.' It’s kind of a unique story in a sense. It’s really neat, it’s really cool.”