Mike Cameron couldn’t be there for his son Daz’s Major League debut with the Tigers last September. Nor could he be at Comerica Park for the younger Cameron’s first big league home run last week. His first chance to watch Daz on Saturday at Angel Stadium turned out to be worth the wait for an early Father’s Day present.
Daz Cameron’s second home run in eight days couldn’t help bring the Tigers back in Saturday’s 8-3 loss to the Angels, but it could put a smile on his dad’s face as he watched from the seats at Angel Stadium. It also provided the Tigers with a much-welcomed bright spot in a third straight defeat.
“This is the first time that he came to see me play,” he said with a smile afterwards. “I’m sure it’s one of those experiences that none of us will ever forget. I was glad to see my family out there.”
The Tigers nearly hit their way back from a 5-0 deficit, putting the potential tying run on base in the sixth. Cameron’s home run was a 415-foot drive to right-center to open Detroit’s scoring. The 105.6 mph exit velocity made it by far the hardest ball the Tigers hit off Angels lefty starter Patrick Sandoval, who fanned nine batters over 5 2/3 innings and induced swings and misses off 11 of his 81 pitches, seven of them off his changeup.
Cameron struck out on the changeup in his first at-bat in the second inning. After taking a first-pitch curveball for a strike in the fifth, Cameron took a changeup just off the plate to even the count. He was ready when Sandoval came back with a fastball in the middle of the strike zone.
“Big moment for him and a continued step forward for him,” manager A.J. Hinch said.
It was a proud moment for Mike Cameron, a Gold Glove center fielder who played 52 games at Angel Stadium during his 17-year Major League career, including four seasons as a division rival with the Mariners. He hit seven homers there, but batted .193 for his career at the park.
“I knew where they were [in the stands],” Daz Cameron said. “I just gave him a little smile.”
The proud papa, who still works as a special assistant in the Mariners’ organization, keeps in touch regularly with his son after the games, but he was just as important for support when Daz Cameron couldn’t play. The younger Cameron missed Summer Camp before last year’s abbreviated season while batting COVID-19, and was hospitalized at one point in Detroit.
“There’s plenty of things that we talk about the game, the mental part of it,” Daz Cameron said. “For me to hit a homer, we’ll talk about that. We’ll probably talk about what the Angels’ players did, even some players on our team. We’ll kind of just analyze and talk about the game of baseball.”
An inning after Saturday’s homer, Cameron came back up against veteran reliever Steve Cishek and helped continue a two-out rally with a ground-ball single through the right side following walks to Miguel Cabrera and Eric Haase. The rally included Jonathan Schoop’s 13th home run of the season and his eighth homer of the month.
That’s as close as the Tigers could get. Cishek induced an inning-ending groundout from Willi Castro before the Angels pulled away with a run off Bryan Garcia and two more off Joe Jiménez.