Nick Gordon made his major league debut Thursday with his parents, Yolanda Maloy and Tom Gordon, watching from afar from Orlando.
"Well, my dad, he's going to pace around the house," Nick Gordon said. "He gets ready to play when we get ready to play."
Tom Gordon pitched 21 seasons in the majors. Nick Gordon's major league career is just getting started after a minor league career delayed by injuries, illnesses, COVID-19 and development that came a little slower than expected for someone who was the fifth overall pick in 2014.
He was not overwhelmed Thursday. It was, however, another underwhelming performance by a Twins team that is 11-19 after losing 4-3 to the Rangers in 10 innings. Gordon was 1-for-2 with a walk and two stolen bases — production the Twins need from more players in order to stop their early-season slide.
Gordon swung aggressively at the first pitch he saw in the second inning, fouling it back. He ended up drawing a walk, then promptly stole second base.
In the fourth inning. Gordon lined a single to right for his first major league hit. He then stole second again, becoming the first Twin with two stolen bases in his major league debut, and the 13th since 1901.
"He seemed to be playing pretty confidently from the start," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He was not hesitant. He went out there and made some things happen for us. He played a great game."
Watching Nick Gordon play makes me feel old, for I have now covered games of the father and the son. Nick is a slender, lefthanded-hitting infielder. Tom Gordon was a short-but-chiseled righthander with an outstanding curveball. "Flash" went 12-12 with a 4.43 ERA in 1995, my first year on the Royals beat for the Kansas City Star. I learned that year how good a quote the old man would be.
Gordon was in a contract squabble with the Royals, one that would end with him leaving as a free agent. The Royals offered him a contract at a substantially reduced rate from the $3.3 million he was making that year.
"I know what the market is now," Gordon said to the rookie ball writer. "I'm not asking for a mother lode. Treat me like a man."
Gordon instead signed with the Red Sox during the offseason. He began to work out of the bullpen in 1997 and was an All-Star closer by 1998.
Nick Gordon has benefited from being around big leaguers such as his father and brother, Dee, a 10-year veteran who recently signed a minor league deal with the Brewers. Instead of being in awe of playing in stadiums with second and third decks and sharing the field with established, highly productive players, Nick Gordon embraces it all.
The Twins teased him with a call-up April 23 when Miguel Sano landed on the IL, but Gordon didn't play in a game before he was sent back to the alternate training site to make room for the return of Andrelton Simmons from the injured list. The move occurred during the first game of a three-game series in Cleveland, but the Twins let Gordon stay with the team and work out.
Gordon was recalled Tuesday when Luis Arraez went on the injured list. This time, he is playing. And on Thursday, he looked like he belonged.
The Twins need more players to play like they belong.
And Nick is a pretty good quote like his father, just not as controversial.
"I mean, I don't think anything really surprised me because like it's the big leagues, you know?" he said when asked about being in the majors. "It's the thing I've heard so much about, just my dad, my brother, even being there to see my dad and my brother.
"But to feel it all for yourself, it's definitely a different feeling. It's a kid in a candy store. It's definitely something I can't really explain it. I wish everyone had this feeling. It's definitely a great feeling, it's great to be here and be a part of the team and everything."