I've got June 19 circled on the calendar because that's when we begin our Interleague series with the Texas Rangers, my younger brother Willie's team.
The fact that Willie and I are pitching in the big leagues brings a lot of pride to our family. Our parents are both tremendously proud, but it's also exciting for me, as the older brother, to see Willie in the big leagues.
He's with Texas this year and he's pitching really well (2.92 ERA over 24 2/3 innings). I can't wait to play them.
Last year, when he was with Minnesota, we had some special Eyre jerseys made up when we played against each other. Literally, the jerseys were half Twins and half Cubs and it had both of our numbers on the back. This time it will be half Rangers and half Cubs. Otis, our clubhouse guy, got me two jerseys, they cut them in half, and a lady at Majestic Athletic was really nice and offered to do it. That helps make it fun.
Last year was Willie's first season in the Majors after a lot of years in the Minors. He earned a spot in the Twins' bullpen coming out of Spring Training. I found out about it by reading a report on the Internet, but he hadn't been told yet. When he did finally call to tell me, I asked if he was traded. It took a minute for him to realize that I was goofing around, then we had a real nice moment. I shed a tear or two.
I asked Greg Maddux how it was with him and his brother Mike, and he told me it was pretty special for them, too. After all, you grow up together playing Wiffle Ball in the front yard and then all of a sudden I get to watch him on TV pitching against the Yankees. I ordered MLB.TV so I could watch him all the time on the Web.
As pitchers, our biggest difference is that he throws right-handed and I throw left-handed. Or, as I tell him, I throw with the right hand and he throws with the wrong hand. Seriously, I'm not sure how that happened. My dad maybe tried to make me left-handed as a kid, but I don't do anything else left-handed. I kick right-footed, I bowl right-handed and I shoot a gun right-handed. It's weird.
My dream now is to play on the same team as him. Even if it were for one game, I wouldn't care. I would love to sit in the bullpen with him. To do something like that for a whole or even a part of a summer would be incredible.
My ultimate brother scenario would be to pitch back-to-back. Last year when he was with the Twins we got to pitch in the same game, but to throw in the same inning on the same team -- where he would be asked to get out a right-handed batter and then I came in and go after a left-handed better -- would be as good as it can get.
Scott Eyre is a veteran of 11 big-league seasons with four teams. Last year, his first with the Cubs, he posted a 3.38 ERA over 74 contests. Willie, who is six years younger than Scott, pitched in 42 games last year with the Twins and now is in his first season with the Rangers.
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