On June 10 the Brewers called up second baseman Rickie Weeks, 22, their top draft pick in 2003. Weeks, who wrote about life at Triple A Nashville for SI PLAYERS (May 23) batted .320 in Nashville and hit .286 in 28 at bats with Milwaukee. He recalls the call-up.
We were in Des Moines, and after we won our game in 12 innings, we didn't get back to the hotel until 2 a.m. The next morning I was barely conscious when the phone rang at 11. It was my coach, Frank Kremblas. "Are you ready?" he asked. I said, "Ready for what?" He said, "To go to Milwaukee." I told my friend and roommate, Prince Fielder, that I was headed to the big leagues! [Kremblas] told me to fly to Philadelphia to join the Brewers there. I was shocked. I thought I would spend the summer in the minors and come up in September like last year.
I packed as fast as possible. My cellphone kept ringing--my dad, my brother, my roommate from Southern [University]. They had all heard that the Brewers had traded their second baseman, Junior Spivey, to Washington, and they wondered what that meant for me. I told them I was getting called up, and they were ecstatic.
I had to fly to Chicago to connect to Philly, and both flights were delayed a couple of hours because of thunderstorms. I'm a pretty relaxed guy, but my mind was racing. Fortunately I had my portable DVD player and watched Ice Cube's movie Are We There Yet? appropriate for my day. I finally got to my hotel in Philly at 2 a.m. I woke up around 11 and ordered a grilled chicken sandwich from room service. The best difference between the big leagues and minors is that you get your own hotel room.
After I ate, I phoned the Brewers' rookie shortstop, J.J. Hardy, and we took a cab to the ballpark, catching up on old times. On the ride over I got a call from Felipe Lopez, who I went to high school with in Florida and who's having a great year as a shortstop with the Reds. He told me to do what I'd been doing in the minors and I'll be fine. When I walked into the clubhouse, I wasn't too nervous--I saw guys I'd gotten to know in spring training. The first few days I talked to my teammates in Nashville a lot. I miss my old team, but right now there isn't a place I'd rather be.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED IMAGING