Lively, Leiter reflect on big league promotions

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Wathan told Lively that he had been promoted to the big leagues, temporarily taking Pat Neshek‘s spot in the Phillies bullpen while he is on paternity leave. It was the second time in less than 12 hours that Wathan delivered an unforgettable moment to a player. He pulled Mark Leiter off the field at Coca-Cola Park before Tuesday’s game to tell him that he had also been called up, taking outfielder Howie Kendrick‘s spot on the roster while he is on the 10-day disabled list.

Lively and Leiter could not believe the news.

“Speechless,” Leiter said.

Lively immediately called his parents, Ed and Ginny Lively. They live in Pensacola, Fla., where the call from their 25-year-old son woke them up. Lively’s father wakes up at 5 a.m. every day to run fishing charters in Pensacola.

“What did you do? Did something happen?” Ed said.

“No, no, all good,” Lively said.

Lively shared the news with his father, who passed along the news to his mother. She cried tears of joy.

“He’s really grumpy in the morning if he doesn’t get his sleep,” Lively said about his father, smiling. “But he wasn’t groggy today.”

Lively took a car to New York on Wednesday, giving him a little time to try and digest the moment.

“Honestly when it started setting in, I was in the car and I started seeing the city,” Lively said. “I was like, ‘All right, this is happening.’ It was pretty cool.”

Leiter, 26, did not have time to sleep or pack his bags in the morning. He had 40 minutes to get ready because the Phillies needed him in the bullpen by first pitch Tuesday. Leiter’s wife Megan quickly packed him an overnight bag and drove it to the ballpark. He hopped in a car and arrived shortly after 6 p.m., just in time to get dressed, stretch and be on the field for the national anthem.

Of course, sometime before that Leiter called his parents. Mark Leiter Sr. pitched for the Phillies in 1997 and 1998.

“He didn’t believe me,” Leiter said. “He thought I was messing with him. It was good.”

The Leiters are the second father-son combo in Phillies history, joining Ruben Amaro Sr. and Ruben Amaro Jr.

“I’m proud of that,” Leiter Jr. said. “That’s something that I’ve dreamed about and me and my dad have talked about.”

Because Leiter grew up in New Jersey, he had plenty of people rush to Citi Field in time for the game, including his wife, his parents, his in-laws, his sister and a bunch of friends that bought tickets in the bleachers near the Phillies’ bullpen.

“Every time somebody got up in the bullpen they were standing on the railing yelling at me,” Leiter said. “It was good. Everything I would have ever hoped it would be. Surreal. It’s still crazy. I believed in myself that that was a possibility. I didn’t know that it would happen on April 18.”

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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