It will be remembered as the Week of Wynton around Isotopes Park.
Ballpark staff, teammates, coaches and fans were all still buzzing Friday night with a party-like atmosphere with a pregame Al Hurricane Jr. concert and a Mariachis Night bobblehead giveaway one day after news broke of the feel-good story of 31-year-old Wynton Bernard being called up to the major leagues after more than a decade and 1,100 games played in the minor leagues.
During a rain delay – Friday’s game against Reno was suspended due to wet field conditions and will resume at 4:05 p.m. Saturday as part of a doubleheader – the stadium played on the video board Bernard’s first at-bat with the Colorado Rockies as Isotopes play-by-play announcer Josh Suchon took over the stadium public address mic and told the story of the fan and clubhouse favorite making his debut.
Bernard later got his first MLB hit, stolen base and run scored in the Rockies game, all in front of his mom, who flew in from California for the game.
And as those memories were being made, some of Bernard’s old Isotopes teammates were still talking about the memories they have of the moment Thursday that Isotopes manager Warren Schaeffer, in front of the whole team, told the clubhouse favorite his wait was over.
“Just seeing Wynton go through that emotional roller coaster brought tears to my eyes,” said Michael Toglia, who has known Bernard since 2020 but only became his teammate on Tuesday when he was called up from Double-A Hartford.
“I had chills the whole time. It’s something that, you know – I was just so happy for him. And it gets me excited for the other guys and hopefully for myself to experience the same thing some day.”
Toglia is a former Rockies first round draft pick in 2019 out of UCLA, as is Riley Pint, a 2016 Rockies first-round pick who was taken No. 4 overall out of high school in Kansas.
While both have very different starting points to their professional baseball careers as does the former 35th-round draft pick who has played in five organizations and in independent league baseball, they both say they were moved by seeing the paths may be different, but the destination is the same.
“It’s good for Toglia and Pint to be here to see that,” Schaeffer said. “I’m glad they were here for that. I know they don’t know Wynton as well as the other guys (on the team), but just to see how important it is and how everybody’s path is different.”
For Pint, who had control issues and retired from baseball a year ago by the age of 23 before returning this season, the Bernard journey hit home hard on Thursday.
“I’ve only met him twice in those two days I was here, but it’s just so surreal to see that happen for a guy like that,” Pint said. “Just the pure emotion that was let out when that was (announced), it was unbelievable. It’s probably one of the coolest things that I’ve gotten to see, honestly, in my entire professional career.”
While under very different circumstances, Pint has had to overcome his own adversity in a shorter time frame in his minor league career – something not lost on the 24-year-old pitcher.
“100%. Honestly, that was my exact thought,” Pint said. “I was even getting emotional, like sitting over my locker just thinking about it. …
“I look at a guy like that who’s been around the game for a long time and it’s like dang, man, despite the 11 years and being in multiple different leagues, that guy decided he’s gonna still give it his all. It’s just unbelievable that he was able to get rewarded like that. And I look at myself saying the same thing. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. Whatever’s going on, there’s still a real opportunity for me.”
‘TOPES SATURDAY: Vs. Reno, 4:05 p.m. (DH), Isotopes Park, 610 AM/95.9 FM
PROMOTION: Kindness Night (jersey auction), postgame fireworks
PROBABLES: (regularly scheduled game) — Aces RHP Ryne Nelson (8-5, 5.73) vs. Isotopes RHP Karl Kauffman (2-1, 5,56)
FRIDAY: The host Isotopes and Reno were suspended in the bottom of the first inning by wet weather leading to unplayable conditions, the umpires ruled. The game resumes Saturday and will go nine innings. The regularly scheduled Saturday game will follow and go seven innings.
THURSDAY: Brandon Gold threw six innings of two-run baseball for the Isotopes in an 8-4 win over Reno. 2B Coco Montes was 3-for-4 with a double and shortstop Alan Trejo, also had four RBIs and hit his 10th homer.
TRANSACTIONS: The parent Colorado Rockies called up OF Wynton Bernard and also C Dom Nuñez from Albuquerque. Isotopes RHP Jordan Sheffield was designated for assignment.
(Click here for Pacific Coast League standings.)