This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The difference between playing for 4,000 fans and playing for 32,000 is easy to appreciate, but more difficult to prepare for.
The advice Tyler Wagner got ahead of his first major league start: "You just have to be able to control what you can control. How you act. I tried to just do the things that got me there."
It was a short MLB debut for Wagner on Sunday, when he lasted three and two-thirds of an inning for the Milwaukee Brewers in a long game. But at the very least, his first and so far only game in the bigs ended with a win as the Brewers bested the Diamondbacks 7-6 after 17 innings at Miller Park.
The length of the game actually kept Wagner from staying up in Milwaukee: He's already returned to Double-A Biloxi this week after being swapped out for another pitching arm. And while he admits his first MLB experience was "sort of frustrating" since he gave up nine hits and five runs, it's also one to remember.
"It was unbelievable," he said in an interview with the Tribune on Wednesday. "There was about 20 family members I had there. To play in front of them was amazing."
Wagner heard he was coming up on Friday in the Biloxi Shuckers clubhouse, and his teammates immediately showered him with well wishes. Wagner was the first to be called up from the club to the big leagues this year.
"Everybody was in there," he said. "It was awesome to see the support from the guys you've played with all year, and they're almost as happy as you are."
Being added to the 40-man roster is a huge step for Wagner, who said he didn't get much indication that he would be moved up ahead of the official announcement. He was performing well in Double A: The one-time Ute is 5-1 this year with a 2.01 ERA in the minors.
Being up with the Brewers, even for a quick weekend swing, was staggering in its comforts. Wagner said he's never felt so catered to when playing a game.
"The biggest difference is the way they treat you up there, make sure you're comfortable and happy," he said. "The only thing you have to worry about is baseball."
The brief stay and return does make him wonder when he'll be up again, but Wagner said he's confident in Brewers management and feels like he's a part of the organization's long-term plans.
His MLB debut led to plenty of congratulations, including from former coach Bill Kinneberg and a few of his former Utah teammates, he said.
On Saturday, Wagner will be making another first start in a new stadium: He's scheduled to pitch in the just-constructed MGM Park in Biloxi's first true home game. To this point, the Shuckers played 55 straight road games.
Even if his current home isn't in Milwaukee, it's nice to finally have one.
"We've been waiting for that day all season," he said. "It'll be great to finally pitch in front of a home crowd."