Phil, Tyler Nevin prepare for emotional family reunion

Angels interim manager finally gets to see his son play in person

July 7th, 2022

BALTIMORE -- Phil Nevin was leading Angels players and coaches through a pre-series scouting meeting at Camden Yards on Thursday, running through the Orioles’ depth chart. And then he paused. Next on the list was someone he was quite familiar with, but never in this type of setting.

“I didn't even know what to call him,” said Phil. “I finally said, 'Nevin,' and the whole room laughed.”

Phil’s list had run down to Tyler Nevin, the Orioles’ rookie infielder and his son. The Nevins will be holding a long-awaited family reunion this weekend, when Phil gets to see Tyler play in the big leagues not just for the first time, but doing so as his opposing manager. Phil, though, will have to wait until his 10-game suspension ends on Saturday, and O's manager Brandon Hyde affirmed that Tyler will get into a game when his father is back in commission, as Nevin wasn’t in the lineup for Thursday’s series opener.

That doesn’t mean there will be any love lost on the field. Tyler has acknowledged that Phil knows his strengths -- and weaknesses -- in the batter’s box. That’s useful information when your dad might have to make a late-game pitching change when you’re up to bat.

“I didn't let him ever win at Monopoly or pool when he was a kid,” Phil laughed, “and I'm not ready to start now.”

This weekend in Baltimore, Phil and Tyler will be joined by the family matriarch, Kristin, Phil’s son and Tyler’s brother, Kyle, who is a potential selection in the upcoming MLB Draft, as well as a smattering of other family members.

That’s what makes the weekend as impactful as it will be. Phil, who will have to watch the first two games in a suite because of his suspension before returning to the dugout on Saturday, has yet to have the chance to see his son play in person. When Tyler debuted in September 2021, Phil was coaching third base for the Yankees. He had planned to be there for his debut, but missed it after being sick with COVID-19. Tyler was with Triple-A Norfolk when the Orioles visited Anaheim in April.

But now both are together.

“This moment for our families is pretty incredible, because it hasn't happened much throughout baseball history,” Tyler said. “It's something that's going to be really special to be a part of. I think our family is just going to really take it all in, seeing how we've both gotten to this point. It's hard to put into words how much we've helped each other throughout the years, the influence he's had on my career and what it's taken to get to this point. It's just something very special.”

The Nevins will make history this weekend, as the last time a father managed against his son in the Majors was in 2017, when John Farrell was managing the Red Sox and his son, Luke, was pitching for the Reds. The last time it happened before that was in 2004, when Felipe Alou managed the Giants and his son, Moises, played for the Cubs. Bruce Bochy also managed the Giants when his son, Brett, pitched for the team in 2014 and '15.

The Orioles are well-accustomed to father-son duos in the big leagues. It's a club that saw Cal Ripken Jr. managed by his father, Cal Sr., and had Tim Raines and Tim Raines Jr. share an outfield in 2001. Fittingly, the Nevins spoke in the O's dugout next to a plaque honoring Ripken Sr.

"It amazes me it hasn't happened more," Phil said. "So to be part of history is kind of cool."

The Nevins have been there for each other’s firsts, while maybe not physically. Tyler remembers the tears when he first told his dad he was being called up to the big leagues last season. He remembers the same from the other side of the telephone line when Phil called him to let him know he was being promoted to interim manager of the Angels after years of serving as an assistant and a manager in the Minor Leagues.

This weekend is a culmination of a celebration years in the making -- from Phil knowing his son had the makings of a big leaguer back in the 2018 Arizona Fall League, to further back in time, when Tyler would shadow his father in big league clubhouses as a player. There, lessons, examples and morals were instilled from one generation to another.

“It's just something that's incredible for what we've been able to accomplish together and just hand in hand throughout the way, how close we've been throughout the process,” Tyler said, beginning to tear up. Phil then grabbed his leg, giving him reassurance.

“That's one of the things that I think I'm most proud of, is just the approach he took and how he got here,” Phil said. “And his love for the game.”