SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Sarasota’s very own was spotted living every father’s dream during the Philadelphia Phillies game Sunday as his son stepped onto the mound to make his MLB debut.
Todd Kerkering, the Emergency Manager for the city of Sarasota, excitedly watched from the stands as his son, Orion Kerkering, a relief pitcher for the Phillies, excelled in the team’s 5-2 victory over the New York Mets.
Orion Kerkering, 22, entered the game in the eighth inning. During his debut, he faced three batters, recording two strikeouts in the process.
According to Sports Illustrated, after Kerkering struck out the Mets’ pinch hitter Rafael Ortega to end the inning, the broadcast camera went to his father, Todd. With the camera on him, Todd stood up alongside other Phillies fans and cried.
“It was an awesome moment. It was a real moment,” Kerkering said after the game. “I heard everybody was crying [on TV]. Just great for TV, so can’t complain.”
On Monday, the Sarasota Police Department shared a video of the special moment on Facebook.
“PROUD DAD ALERT ,” the Facebook post read. “Our very own Emergency Manager, Todd Kerkering, was spotted during the televised Phillies game last night. The MLB said it best: ‘When your son, Orion Kerkering, makes his MLB debut and gets two strikeouts, there IS crying in baseball.’ Way to make your dad – and your whole SPD family – proud!“
After being drafted in 2022, Kerkering made his way through the minor leagues “relatively quickly,” Sports Illustrated reported. So far this year, the 22-year-old has moved from Low A Clearwater to High A Jersey Shore to Double A Reading to Triple A Lehigh Valley within six months. He was called up to the big leagues on Friday.