Saskatoon

Dustin Molleken's wife recalls emotional MLB pitching debut

Watching her husband’s childhood dream come true right before her eyes sent Danny Ash-Molleken into an emotional frenzy. On Monday she watched as her husband took the mound in the third inning in his first Major League Baseball game with the Detroit Tigers.

Danny Ash-Molleken says Monday night was a dream come true

Dustin Molleken alongside his wife Danny Ash-Molleken and their baby girl Harper. (Danny Ash-Molleken/Submitted to CBC)
Watching her husband's childhood dream come true right before her eyes sent Danny Ash-Molleken into an emotional frenzy.

On Monday she watched as her husband — Regina product Dustin Molleken — took the mound in the third inning, in his first Major League Baseball game with the Detroit Tigers visiting Cleveland.

"I had an overwhelming feeling of pride that he's worked so hard for so long, he's just always been on the wrong side of the numbers," Danny said. "To finally see his childhood dream come true, it's just a very emotional moment."

Molleken was first called up to join the Tigers on Father's Day, but three days later he was sent back to the minors. On Monday, Danny said they were both in Columbus, Ohio when they got the call to be in Cleveland later that day.

He said as soon as he was running out of the bullpen his legs were shaking and his heart was racing.- Danny Ash-Molleken

"Dustin got the call at 4:30 p.m. and it was 'hey, you got to get to Cleveland for the game,' so we loaded up our daughter and made the two-hour drive up to Cleveland," Danny recalled.

Monday's game was hit by a two-and-a-half hour rain delay, but that gave the Mollekens enough time to get to Progressive Field.

Warming up in the bullpen

Molleken's career has spanned 13 years in the minors and a stint in Japan, and the reality for a relief pitcher is that they never know for certain when they're going to get to pitch. So despite being called and making the trip, Danny still wasn't sure she'd see Dustin play.

"We knew he was dressed and ready to play but we didn't know if he would get in the game. And when I saw him warming up, my heart started racing and I thought 'oh my God, this is happening,'" Danny said. 

Over two innings of work, Molleken struck out a pair of batters including veteran Mike Napoli, who's hit 221 home runs in his 11 years in MLB. Danny told CBC he got to keep the ball used in that at-bat, something she's sure he'll cherish for the rest of his life.

Post-game

Molleken told his wife he'd never been so nervous in his life.

"He said as soon as he was running out of the bullpen his legs were shaking and his heart was racing, but after a couple of warm-up pitches on the big league mound he said he settled in and I thought he looked very confident and comfortable so it made me relax a little bit," she said.

Saskatchewan baseball fans took to Twitter shortly after seeing Molleken enter the game. Danny said the support from the province has left her speechless and overwhelmed with emotion.

"We love where we are from; the people are incredible. Our phones have been ringing off the hook," she said. "We definitely feel the love from everyone back home. It makes it that much more special."

With files from CBC Radio's Afternoon Edition

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