SEATTLE — If there’s anyone who’s through and through Washington, it’s Wyatt Mills.
The Spokane native grew up cheering for the Mariners, then went to Gonzaga, then got drafted by the M’s. The dream he’d had since he was a little boy became a reality on Saturday night.
"Hopefully, I can just help this team win. That’s all I want, is the Mariners to win for the Northwest," said Mills in a Monday media availability.
Thankfully Wyatt Mills is from the Northwest.
He found out three and a half hours before first pitch on Saturday that he would suit up for the Mariners, and by golly, his parents who still live in Spokane, weren’t going to miss it.
"Telling the family was incredibly special for me. I called my mom first, and she was totally paralyzed. She already had plans for the day and she was like, ‘How am I supposed to get to Seattle?’ I said, ‘Talk to dad.’ They figured it out. They ended up hopping on a plane. My grandma was able to come. One of my sisters lives and works over here in Seattle, she was able to come, so an incredibly special day," reflected the Gonzaga Prep alum.
It's a day that maybe even Wyatt himself didn’t see coming a year ago.
He didn’t get called to go to the Mariners alternate site this past summer. That meant he was back in his hometown doing landscaping work and tearing up carpets in college houses.
Spokane played a pivotal role in Wyatt’s moment on Saturday though. He said thrived in the unknown last year and made a promise to himself during his time in the Lilac City.
"Let’s commit to being the best I can be. I have so much time, endless amounts of time, a whole year of time. Really got after it in the weight room, just trying to narrow down my focus and the intent behind it. Carrying that discipline over into every facet of the game. My confidence started shooting up from there," said Mills.
Maybe, it was a bit of re-found confidence as well.
He was back around Gonzaga all of last summer, a place where he dominated.
Now he gets to represent the program in the big leagues.
"Gosh, it means everything," said Mills of representing the Bulldogs at the MLB level. "The Gonzaga coaches and my teammates, we were all on the same page. It’s all about being a person in your community on your field and in the classroom. Truly you learn how to be a man. I’m so happy and blessed to have been a part of that program."
A part of that program is right beside him in Seattle as well: Mariners ace and former Gonzaga pitcher Marco Gonzales.
"He’s made me feel really comfortable in this environment," said Mills of Gonzales. "That dates back to multiple spring trainings ago. He’d always come up to me and give me a little pep talk of we don’t know when your time’s going to come, but at some point we’re going to need you. Happy to have another Zag in the locker room, and he’s my hype man for sure."
Now it’s time for the hype of his first MLB appearance to wear off and to get to work.
"It was nice to get that one out of the way. Now it’s just baseball," said Mills.