Madris discusses whirlwind first week

July 1st, 2022

This story was excerpted from Justice delos Santos' Pirates Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Bligh Madris’ first week in the Majors has been an eventful one, to say the least. In the span of a few days, the Pirates' outfielder knocked off just about every “first” there is for a position player to have: First game, first hit, first home run, etc.

With Madris having settled in somewhat, I talked with him about how his time with Pittsburgh has been thus far.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What has this first week been like?
It’s been a fun ride. Opening in Pittsburgh was a lot of fun, being around the crowd, and then being able to travel to Tampa Bay. That’s a cool stadium. I haven’t played in a dome since high school. ... The competition has been tough, but it’s been a lot of fun being able to face a lot of big-name guys. And being able to share the same field as them has been exciting and eye-opening. It gives me the confidence that I know I can compete at this level up here, and to be able to do that every day.

What’s been the biggest “wow” moment so far?
[Monday at Washington] was kind of cool. Sharing right field with Juan Soto was pretty exciting, as well as seeing Nelson Cruz. Seeing Josh Bell out there again has been fun because Josh has always been super cool with me. I was coming up when he was here. Soto was kind of crazy last night; he’s younger than me, but he’s done a lot of exciting, crazy things here in the big leagues. It’s been fun to watch him, and to be able to share the field with him was a lot of fun.

What’s been the most notable call/text/DM that you received since getting called up?
I think it was more in-house here. A lot of guys were super, super welcoming. [Daniel Vogelbach] has been super welcoming and has helped me out with my approach and stuff like that, talking hitting in-game. Ke’Bryan [Hayes] is super excited that we get to share the field together for the first time. And all the rookies, the guys who I came up with like Cal [Mitchell], Jack [Suwinski]. All those guys have helped me out a ton. It’s fun to be around when guys are excited for you to be here. It makes you feel welcomed, and it makes it easier to go about my business up here, and to compete every single night without having to worry about all the noise around me.

Your Major League debut (June 20) came almost five years to the date of your professional debut (June 24, 2017). What would you say to 21-year-old Bligh?
Push through it. Just keep going, push through it all. Keep having faith in yourself. Keep having confidence in yourself. No matter how hard it gets -- the struggle of it all, all the other stuff outside of baseball -- just keep going through it. It’s worth it. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that, [players] who have gotten to the big leagues before who have been in my position without a lot of hope or when times don’t feel as glamorous: “Keep going, keep pushing because it’s all going to be worth it.” I’m trying to be here a long time, but no matter how long my time is here in the big leagues, no one can take that away from me. The time that I have here is going to be worth it, no matter what.