KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was just a little over a week ago when all seemed calm in former Royal David DeJesus’ life.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and DeJesus was enjoying family day at Wrigley Field with his wife, Kim, and 3-year-old son, David Jr., prior to his Chicago Cubs playing the St. Louis Cardinals.
The next day, DeJesus began a bizarre journey.
“I got a call from (Cubs president) Theo (Epstein) on Monday and I missed the call,” DeJesus said. “I looked at my phone later and saw it was Theo and there was a message. I thought, ‘That’s weird.’ But my wife started joking around and said, ‘Yeah, you probably got traded.’
“I wasn’t really thinking about getting traded, not in August. We just had a great family day on Sunday. I was happy in Chicago. But then I got ahold of Theo and he said, ‘You’re the player we’ve always really liked’ and so on and so on, and then he said, ‘But we just traded you to the Nationals.’
“I was really shocked. Luckily, the Nationals were in town to start a series that day. All I had to do was walk across the field and walk into the opposing clubhouse.”
Still, DeJesus knew there might be something else going on and that his adventure wasn’t over.
“It was a weird situation because the Nationals already had like six outfielders,” he said. “I didn’t know what my role was.”
DeJesus didn’t start at all for the Nationals in their series against the Cubs, though he did pinch hit three times.
“Then on Thursday my agent told me something else could happen,” DeJesus said. “That’s when we found out I got put on waivers. And then on Friday, (Tampa Bay general manager) Andrew Friedman called and said, ‘We’re sending a private jet to get you. We’ve just traded for you.’ And that night I’m in Florida playing for the Rays.
“Three teams in five days. That’s crazy. It’s so strange because a week ago we’re having that family day at Wrigley Field and everyone is having fun and feeling good, and then all of a sudden, three teams in five days. Now, I’m on Tampa in the playoff hunt, and playing in Kansas City today. Wow.”
It was such a crazy week that Kim eventually sent out a tweet that said “I give up” and finished with a note that anyone looking for her could find her at the bar.
Wait what? I give up. Just let me know when seasons over and where Dave ended up. If anyone is looking for me ill be at Stanley’s
But in DeJesus’ case, all is well that ends well, and DeJesus has landed on one of the best teams in baseball with the Rays.
DeJesus certainly never got a taste of the playoffs during his eight seasons with the Royals.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “Every team I’ve been on has been over 20 games back by this time of year. These guys (with the Rays) know how to play the game and they play loose, and they let their game shine. They have hitting, defense, pitching and they run the bases well. They do it all.
“This is a good spot for me.”
DeJesus, 33, is amazed by the winning culture he has experienced with Tampa in just his few days with the club.
“I think it comes from the top,” DeJesus said. “(Manager) Joe Maddon said to me right away that ‘Hey, we have no rules here. Just come to the park and run the ball out on every play. That’s it.’ Basically, he just wants us to be ourselves.
“I think that lets the guys be themselves. And I think the guys in this clubhouse just police themselves. That’s how it happens. That’s how it should happen. Older guys take the younger guys aside and teach them. I’m sure that’s how it was back in the day.
“And now I get to be a part of it.”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.