Emergency passport secured, Povich's parents watch MLB debut in Toronto

June 6th, 2024

TORONTO -- Tim Povich wasn’t expecting to wake up at 4 a.m. on Wednesday to fly from Omaha, Nebraska, to Denver, obtain an emergency passport and then fly on to Toronto.

But when he found out his son, , was heading to The Show, he endured the long journey to get to Rogers Centre by Thursday, when the 24-year-old left-hander made his big league debut by starting for the Orioles in their series finale vs. the Blue Jays.

“A little crazy,” said Tim, who made the trek along with his wife, Kelli, who already had a passport.

Many children have big league fantasies from a young age. They’d love to make it to MLB, where baseball can become their career.

Cade wanted it -- even if it didn’t always seem probable.

“We’ve never dreamed of it. He has,” Tim said. “But as parents, you know, you support it. There’s millions and millions of kids that dream of it. I dreamt it as a kid. I was nowhere near this. So to see your son do it, it’s surreal.”

The young Povich had a long journey to reach the Majors. As a 5-foot-6 junior throwing fastballs in the 70 mph range at Bellevue (Neb.) West High School in 2017, he wasn’t exactly on the radar for many MLB scouts.

During a one-year stint at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix in 2019, Povich pitched well enough (1.58 ERA in 15 starts) to return home by transferring to the University of Nebraska. But he made only four starts in the pandemic-shortened ‘20 season, posting a 5.06 ERA.

In the summer of 2020, Povich pitched for the Savannah Bananas -- a team in the Coastal Plain League now known more for their hijinks than their baseball. However, the spotlight put on Povich there placed him more on the big league map.

“At that point, we knew that, ‘OK, one day he’s going to get drafted. Let’s just hope 18th round, 19th round,’ right?” Tim said. “That changed quickly his second year at Nebraska.”

Povich made a beeline to pro ball from there. He pitched to a 3.11 ERA in 15 starts for the Cornhuskers, then was selected by the Twins in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft. In August of ‘22, he was one of four pitchers dealt from Minnesota to Baltimore in the Jorge López trade.

By July 2023, Povich reached Triple-A Norfolk, where he had a 5.36 ERA in 10 starts overall last year. The southpaw produced much better results in his return to the level in ‘24, recording a 3.18 ERA over 11 starts and earning his first callup to the big leagues.

“We think he’s become mentally tougher this year,” Tim said.

When Povich contacted his parents on Tuesday night to tell them he was heading to Toronto to join the Orioles’ taxi squad on Wednesday -- and that he could potentially start Thursday -- the call was “very emotional,” as Tim put it.

On Thursday morning, Kelli sent a text to Cade centered on this message: “You’ve earned it.”

“It came with a lot of work to get here. He wasn’t gifted with it like others,” Kelli said. “He’s worked his butt off to get where he’s at. I think I’m more proud -- I mean, I’m proud altogether -- but I’m more proud of his work ethic.”

Now that Cade has reached the Majors for the first time, he’ll be working to stay there. The Orioles have six starters on their active roster, and they’re using Povich to help ease the workload on the others during a stretch of 30 games in 31 days.

That decision resulted in an unforgettable day for the Povich family.

“It’s indescribable,” Tim said. “We didn’t know it would happen this year.”

“It’s been crazy,” Kelli said. “One thing we’ve learned is you never know what’s going to happen -- and more, when it’s going to happen. And I know he’s been waiting for this day for a very long time.”