BOSTON -- Hitting career home run No. 1 at Fenway Park, as White Sox rookie Nicky Delmonico did Thursday night during his team's 9-5 loss to the Red Sox, ranks pretty high up the charts in terms of historical context.Reaching that accomplishment with his older brother, Joey, in the stands
BOSTON -- Hitting career home run No. 1 at Fenway Park, as White Sox rookie Nicky Delmonico did Thursday night during his team's 9-5 loss to the Red Sox, ranks pretty high up the charts in terms of historical context.
Reaching that accomplishment with his older brother, Joey, in the stands makes the moment even more memorable. It brought them both back to a Yankees-Red Sox game they attended together as fans back in 2003.
"That was the last time I was here," a beaming Nicky said postgame of his three-run blast to right off defending American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello in the third inning. "I got to see [Joey] before BP and give him a hug. It was pretty cool to do it tonight, not just at Fenway, but with him watching, too."
"When we were in Chicago I looked at the schedule and was like, 'They're going to Fenway,'" said Joey, standing with their mom, their stepdad and Joey's wife, Monica, outside the visitors' clubhouse. "The fact that Nicky was able to play the Green Monster and play left field, it was so surreal. And after that home run, talk about emotions going wild. We couldn't even contain it. You can't write this stuff."
Delmonico only played 13 games in left field at Triple-A Charlotte before being called up to the White Sox, so learning the position remains a work in progress for the talented young man. But playing against the unique obstacle that is the Green Monster made life a little tougher defensively.
In the second, Rafael Devers reached on an error charged to Delmonico when he overran a fly ball. To Delmonico's credit, he recovered in time to throw a strike to shortstop Tim Anderson, who then nailed Hanley Ramirez at the plate.
"We were out there early getting reads off the wall, and it could hit somewhere and take left or right, especially if it hits the scoreboard part," Delmonico said. "I have to keep working out there as much as I can and try to get comfortable."
"He's going to continue to work at that position," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "We're going to see if he can continue to improve. Coupled with being here against the big Monster, there's a wind tunnel out there. He made a nice diving play on a sinking line drive coming in."
That diving play spoken of by Renteria came in the fourth, when Delmonico took extra bases away from Ramirez. Delmonico added a single in the second to the long home run to right, with an exit velocity of 105.5 mph per Statcast™, and was able to retrieve that piece of personal history.
Joey will be the recipient of this baseball, signed by his brother.
"If you'd have seen me midgame, you would have seen me with emotions, man," Joey said. "We couldn't contain it. We were in the stands.
"That's my best friend, my little baby brother. I love that kid more than anything. This is so surreal. Everything is like, 'Wake me up, this is a dream.' And the first home run at Fenway? Come on."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.