Game nights at Nevin’s house often become a test of will between father and son, with matchups in Monopoly and Connect Four prompting trash talk as each contestant strives to be one step ahead of his opponent.
“Too many cat games,” said Tyler Nevin. “I’ll keep it that way.”
A tie result would not be possible over the next few days at Camden Yards, where Tyler, a fielder for the Orioles, would face off against the Los Angeles Angels and their father, interim manager Phil Nevin.
Not only will this be the first time since 2004 that a position player has opposed the team his father is managing, it will also give Phil the first chance to see Tyler play in the majors. Tyler’s major league debut last season while Phil had the coronavirus, and his subsequent stint with Baltimore never included a matchup with the New York Yankees, for which Phil coached third base. With Phil on the Angels staff this season, a day off to Los Angeles was going to allow him to watch the Orioles at Boston’s Fenway Park in May, only for Tyler to be picked up the day before Triple-A.
After replacing Joe Maddon as Angels captain earlier this season, Phil would not manage the first two of the series’ four games, ending a 10-game suspension stemming from a brawl against the Seattle Mariners. But with Phil still able to take part in the earlier games, the circumstances are somewhat of a blessing.
“In a way, he’s looking forward to being able to watch a game without first hand,” Tyler said.
But that hand will be on the offensive when the opportunity presents itself in Phil’s return on Saturday, as it was for those board games in Tyler’s childhood and off-season days on the golf course.
“He’s not going to be easy on me with matchups or anything,” Tyler said. “He’s made it very clear.”
Nevertheless, they will take the time to appreciate the opportunity they have both been waiting for so long. Phil was the first overall pick in the 1992 draft and advanced to the big leagues shortly thereafter. When his playing career came to an end, he plunged into independent ball management, first from his first opportunity as a major league assistant, and then into coaching to climb the ranks in the minors.
“In a way, he grinds more as a coach than as a player,” Tyler said. “The whole time, that’s why he’s been in the big leagues. He wants to be a manager. That’s really where his passion lies.
“Every opportunity he’s ever wanted, this is it.”
Meanwhile, Tyler grew up watching how his father worked in the clubhouse. He eventually became a draft prospect himself, although Tyler said he could be a painter and that his father would be happy as long as he had a son. The Colorado Rockies took Tyler in the first round of the 2015 draft, then added him to their 40-man roster months later Before trading him to Baltimore as part of reliever Michel Givens’ package during the 2020 season.
Along with Tyler’s journey to the majors, Phil’s experience and guidance has helped him get there, from providing insight on the early stages after signing the first professional contract, to subtle day-to-day activities such as taking on opposing clubs. How Much to Tip House Staffs Location With Phil on the Yankees staff and Nevin a roster move from the big leagues, the chance they could share a major league venue finally felt close.
“When he got back to baseball and he was still in the minor leagues and I became a prospect, we dreamed about it,” Tyler said. “It really wasn’t a daydream anymore. It’s just a matter of time.”
That answer will formally arrive on Saturday, which will also be attended by Tyler’s mom, brother and grandparents. Dating from those intense games of Connect Four, this week the Nevin family has long dreamed of.
“It’s the same vibe like, ‘Oh, I’ve lined it up. I’ve already imagined it,'” Tyler said. “He’s deeply a contestant, and I am too, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. “