Chase Headley: I was in the locker room before BP hanging out and getting ready to head out. (Manager) Randy (Ready) called me in his office and told me he needed to talk to me. He shut the door and said (Padres vice president of scouting and player development) Grady (Fuson) had something he wanted to talk to me about so we called Grady and Grady fooled around with me for a few minutes before he decided he wanted to tell me and he told me they were going to give me a chance to go up and play third base at Wrigley.
I was pretty excited.
When you say that Grady wouldn't tell you what was going on – did he say you were being traded, demoted, what?
Chase Headley: He wouldn't get to the point right away. He made me sweat it out. I didn't know if it was good or bad when I got on the phone because Randy shut the door. I was a little bit nervous. It turned out for the better I guess.
You have obviously heard about guys being called up straight from Double-A but did you think it could possibly be you when you went in that office?
Chase Headley: No, I completely didn't. I was shocked. Some of the guys have been giving (the business) about what I was still doing there and when I was going to leave. They were getting on me and I would always be, ‘I don't know. I don't know what is going on.' When he called me in there – it was an experience I will never forget. It was completely unexpected.
It has been something I have waited to hear for 23 years and I will never forget it.
Who did you call after you heard the news?
Chase Headley: I called my parents and my brother kind of simultaneously. He didn't answer right away and I was talking to my parents when he called me back. Then my girlfriend and some close friends. Most guys called me. I don't know how they knew but I guess word spread quickly.
What was your parents reaction after hearing the news? We all know it is the day you have been waiting for and one of their proudest moments.
Chase Headley: They were super excited. My mom was screaming. My dad – I left him a message at first because he had to get out of a meeting. He couldn't answer the phone so I left a message and didn't say anything.
I said, ‘I need to talk to you as soon as you can so give me a call.'
He called me in kind of a bad mood and said, ‘I was in a meeting. What is going on? What is so important it couldn't wait?'
When I told him he was obviously happy that he left.
I think they are as happy as I was.
You have obviously had a successful year. What do you look at as the reason for the success?
Chase Headley: I personally think it is just hard work. Last year was a good year – not a great year. I think it was really helpful of seeing what baseball was like and going through the grind of a 140-game season, getting used to it, meeting new guys, and being around some of the guys for that long.
This off-season, I really worked hard in the weight room. I put on some weight, which I think has been a huge factor.
The other thing is the fall league. The (Arizona) Fall League is probably the biggest thing that has helped me to get off to a good start. I kind of got exposed to the higher level – the better baseball – and got to see how guys go about their business. I got to ask questions and learned a lot from them. That was a big thing being around those older guys.
You are going to the majors and it starts in historic Wrigley Field. What is it you look forward to most and is it just about getting the nerves out of the way first?
Chase Headley: I am ready to get out there and to just break the ice. Get the first ground ball out of the way and the first at bat and I think once you do that and get a few at bats and a couple of games it doesn't seem so intimidating. That is the thing I am looking to do now. Actually, I should say that is the thing I was looking to do all day after I found out but now I am just trying to get out of this airport and make it to Chicago by tomorrow.
The nerves that I had of playing for the first time are now replaced by nerves of actually making it to Chicago in time. As soon as I land in Chicago the nerves of playing the game will settle in but right now I just want to get there.
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