David Dahl’s goal for 2019 was simple.
“I wanted to come in every day, get my work done and help the team win,” he said.
Simple as it sounds, that hasn’t been possible for Dahl in most of his professional career – until this year.
Oh, he did spend 10 days on the Injured List in mid-April because of an abdominal strain, but other than that his wishes have been granted – and then some.
The ultimate statement of what Dahl has been able to establish in the first half of this season came on Sunday. Major League Baseball announced the roster for the 2019 All-Star Game on July 9 in Cleveland, and Dahl was on it, along with three Rockies teammates.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado was the known factor, making his fifth All-Star roster, his third in a row as a member of the NL starting lineup, thanks to the support of baseball fans.
And on Sunday, MLB announced that the players/managers/coaches filled out the All-Star rosters with selections that included Dahl, as well as Rockies teammates Trevor Story, a selection for the second year in a row, and Charlie Blackman, for the third consecutive year and his fourth time overall.
The selection of Story and Blackmon was anticipated.
But Dahl. …
It was a dream he has had since his youth, but an expectation?
He found out the dream had become a reality shortly after arriving at Coors Field Sunday morning, and being summoned to manager Bud Black’s office.
“Bud called me and in the background the television was showing the red carpet of the All-Star game,” said Dahl. “He asked me if I had watched that. I said, `Yeah.” He said, `Well, you’re going to be in it this year.’”
And that, said Arenado, is an ultimate sign of respect from his peers.
“To be voted in by your peers is an unbelievable feeling, to have that respect of your peers,” said Arenado. “I hope he understands that people respect his game.”
It is taking a while for all of that to sink in.
“I didn’t feel there was any pressure other than to play well,” said Dahl. “I just wanted to stay on the field and help the team.”
He may be hitting .317 with 12 home runs and 51 RBI, but he is still a bit of an unknown. When he came out of Oak Mountain High in Birmingham, Ala., he may have been the 10th player taken overall in the 2012 first-year player draft, but an ongoing battle with injuries had denied him the opportunity to make his mark in the big leagues.
n 2013 he opened the season at Class A Asheville, but after 10 games the season was over thanks to a hamstring injury.
n 2015 he was making an impact at Double-A Hartford, but on May 28 he collided with a teammate chasing a fly ball and suffered a lacerated spleen that sidelined him for more than seven weeks.
n 2016 seemed like a breakthrough season. He opened the season at Double-A Hartford, and after a promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque, he made his big-league debut on July 25, and hit .315 63 games.
n 2017 was met with anticipation after his impressive effort in 2017, but he suffered a stress fracture where his rib connects to his rib cage and he wound up appearing in only 19 minor league games – total.
n And in 2018, he had opened the season with Albuquerque, but was called up on April 22, only to foul a ball off his right foot in a May 30 game against the Giants, sending him to the injured list with a broken bone in the foot.
This year, other than that 10-day absence in April, Dahl has taken that next step, not merely being in the big leagues, but being an All-Star is an indication that his peers are paying .
“This year he really came in with the intent from the first day of spring training to prove he can be a force as an everyday player,” said manager Bud Black. “I think there was sort of a mantra on his own to make a statement about the type of player he is, and he’s done that.”
He has done it well enough that his peers consider him an All-Star.