Salt Lake Bees: Kole Calhoun is a Triple-A All-Star and a rising talent in the Los Angeles Angels organization
Calhoun also has vivid memories about his first day in the majors. He noted that the 2002 movie "The Rookie" chronicling former Tampa Bay pitcher Jim Morris' inaugural trip to the big leagues was pretty much spot-on.
There were a lot of similarities.
Like Morris, Calhoun was called up with a teammate. He and pitcher Bobby Cassevah flew from Omaha to San Francisco and then took a cab to Oakland, where they arrived at The Coliseum ahead of the Angels. Calhoun's jersey was hanging in a locker next to superstar Albert Pujols.
"It was surreal. It was so hard to slow down and just kind of live in that moment," Calhoun said. "It was a dream come true."
Taking it all in, however, didn't really happen for Calhoun until he was standing on the field before the game.
"It was crazy. It was like I'm finally here," he said. "It's my ultimate goal that I've had my entire life and it was like happening right in front of my eyes."
Once the game started, though, it was time to compete and help the Angels win. It was definitely an "awe" experience, Calhoun explained, but it eventually came down to just being the same game he loved growing up — just at a higher level.
Adding to his adjustment were the handshakes and congratulations he received from his big-league teammates in the clubhouse before the game.
Calhoun's loved ones were also on hand to share his big day, although his initial attempt to let everyone know about his promotion didn't exactly follow a Hollywood script. He tried to reach his fiancé first but she didn't answer her phone. Calhoun then called his family and asked his mother to put his father on the line.
"I told him I got called up and he started crying," Calhoun said of his "biggest fan."
It just happened to be a Sunday, a time when the whole family traditionally gets together and Calhoun's father quickly shared the news.
"He told everybody and it just kind of went crazy," said Calhoun, whose fiancé then called on the other line and everyone was able to make it to Oakland from Arizona in time for the game the following day.
Calhoun remained with the Angels until June 12 when he was reassigned to Salt Lake. Getting a taste of the big leagues, Calhoun noted, was beneficial in terms of identifying what things he needs to work on. He's determined to keep improving. Calhoun is part of a young nucleus in the Angels' organization that includes first-time major league all-stars Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo.
"The talent on that team and in this organization is unbelievable," Calhoun said. "There's a lot of competition going up and down and that's good for any organization. So it's definitely fun to be a part of."
Salt Lake's Triple-A All-Stars
Since the Bees franchise moved to Utah in 1994
1994: Brian Raabe
1995: Riccardo Ingram, Mitch Simons, Scott Watkins
1996: Brian Raabe, Todd Walker
1997: Ryan Radmanovich
1998: Travis Baptist, Chad Rupp
1999: George Williams
2000: Josh Barnes, Todd Walker
2001: Jose Fernandez
2002: Bart Miadich, Jose Molina, Robb Quinlan
2003: Alfredo Amezaga
2004: Wil Nieves, Adam Riggs
2005: Dusty Bergman
2006: Howie Kendrick, Joe Saunders
2007: Terry Evans
2008: Matt Brown
2009: Terry Evans, Jeremy Hill
2010: Mark Trumbo
2011: Jeff Baisley, Gil Velazquez
2012: Kole Calhoun
— SOURCE: Salt Lake Bees
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