Zavada enjoys successful debut
When he was called up to the big leagues a week ago, Clay Zavada’s stay lasted just one day and he never saw any game action.
Thursday, though, in Florida, the left-hander got the full big-league experience.
Called up from Double-A Mobile, Zavada got little sleep before arriving to Land Shark Stadium in time for the team’s game with the Marlins.
“I told him before the game it would be virtually impossible to not pitch in that game,” Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said.
Not only did Zavada pitch, but he retired the three batters he faced and wound up picking up the win as the D-backs won, 4-3.
“It was everything and more,” Zavada said when asked if Thursday was everything he had dreamed it would be. “To get the win, too. I mean it was a great team effort and a lot of luck involved for me to get the win, but it’s awesome.”
There were plenty of text messages and phone calls from friends back in Streator, Ill., where they were watching at a local bar that had the Major League Baseball package.
While he was giving a postgame television interview to FSN Arizona, Zavada received a towel loaded with shaving cream to the face, a baseball tradition given to rookies when they appear on TV like that.
“Growing up in Streator I used to see that on TV with Cubs,” Zavada said. “I never thought I would get one. There was so much of it. My head was white. It was a good one. They must have used two cans of king size Barbasol on that.”
Zavada, 24, is easy to pick out of a crowd given his handlebar mustache, which has draws plenty of attention from teammates and fans. It’s something that started last year when he was with Class A South Bend.
“Josh Collmenter was my roommate last year and he inspired me to grow it,” Zavada said. “Plus we had a mustache appreciation night or a mustache contest last year at the ballpark in South Bend. I didn’t have one goo back then, but it’s flowing pretty good right now. I’ve been growing it since last August.
“I don’t mess with it too much, people thing that I do, but it really just curls up on its own. I just kind of twirl it occasionally. If I have to pitch that night, the last thing I’m worried about is the mustache and waxing it up. Now, if I’m down for a day, you’ll see me wax it up, trying to look good.”
How long Zavada’s current stint in the big leagues continues is unknown, but one thing is for sure, the mustache is staying.
“I like it,” he said. “Not a lot of people do, but some do. I’d say it’s 50-50. It scares some little kids, but there are some college kids that like it. I’m just having fun. It’s all fun.”
When you’re in the big leagues everything is.