As the Braves fell to the Minnesota Twins 10-3 Wednesday night and sank to a league-worst record of 44-76, a seemingly misplaced sense of excitement hung in the atmosphere of Turner Field.
The excitement was built around one man, who was appearing in his first ever Major League Baseball game, was at one point a top top draft pick, and had once called Marietta High School home: Dansby Swanson.
As the Marietta Daily Journal reports, 22-year-old Swanson made his major league debut Wednesday night, receiving a standing ovation from fans as he started at short stop and recorded two hits on the night.
It was a promising start for a player that has caused great anticipation amongst Braves fans since he was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a December trade. Since then, Swanson has been playing for one of the organization’s farm teams, the Mississippi Braves. That is, until he received a phone call Tuesday night from Mississippi manager Luis Salazar indicating that Atlanta had picked up his contract.
Swanson quickly packed up, made the six-hour drive to Atlanta, and was in the team’s lineup on Wednesday.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Swanson said about the sudden change in circumstances. “I slept at my parents’ house (Tuesday) night. I don’t know how many people have done that before their major league debut. I’m sure it’s a small list.”
Swanson was called up after the Braves traded former shortstop Eric Aybar to the Detroit Tigers Tuesday. Though he certainly wasn’t expecting the chance to play in the majors so soon, Swanson believes he is ready.
“I feel like I’m ready,” he said. “I have to be. This is a moment that you’ve always been waiting for and preparing for your whole life.”
Braves Country certainly seems ready for Swanson, especially his hometown of Marietta. Fox Sports reports that a large electronic billboard off I-75 in Marietta displayed a picture of the hometown hero Wednesday night, along with the message “Welcome Home Dansby.”
Swanson played baseball and basketball at Marietta High School, before going to Vanderbilt, where he played on the baseball team. He was the top overall draft pick in 2015.
The move to bring up the young Swanson reflects the organization’s recent strategy of utilizing its highly ranked farm system to equip the team for future seasons at its new stadium, the soon-to-open SunTrust Park.