Decker in his MLB debut (ESPN)

Decker in his MLB debut (ESPN)

By Scott Barancik, editor

Cody Decker returned to L.A. on Sunday, a day after his El Paso Chihuahuas were knocked out of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) playoffs. His future was uncertain: after seven seasons as a San Diego Padres farmhand, the franchise’s all-time minor-league home run leader (154 HRs) was due to become a free agent during the offseason.

Yet the 28-year-old slugger was surprisingly upbeat when he entered his mother’s home, according to this interview.

“Hey, whatcha doing tomorrow, Mom?” he asked.

“Not helping you move into your apartment,” Teri Decker joked.

Decker's Rosh Hashanah tweet

Decker’s Rosh Hashanah tweet

“Well, I thought maybe you might want to come to Arizona and watch me play baseball,” he deadpanned.

Hours earlier, Decker had gotten “the call” to join the Padres, something he had come to believe might never happen. Teri Decker was in the stands a day later (Monday) to see her son make his Major League debut. With two outs in the 9th and San Diego leading the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-3, he came in to pinch-hit, popping out to first base on a 2-1 pitch. What a way to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

“This is the most surreal 24 hours of my entire life. It’s something I’ve looked forward to my entire life,” he said before the game. “I’m borderline speechless, as close to speechless as I can get.”

“It’s a great story, man. It gives you chills,” said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy, who managed Decker in El Paso.

Selected by the Padres in the 22nd-round of the 2009 draft, Decker is rarely at a loss for words. Whether he’s delighting his more than 20,000 Twitter followers with dry wisdom, hosting trivia shows at a Santa Monica bar, appearing on Keith Olbermann’s now-defunct ESPN show, producing and starring in comedic YouTube videos (like this one ‘featuring’ former Padres V.P. Brad Ausmus), or earning kudos from newspaper editorials, El Paso fans’ favorite player is in total control of his public persona, something he cannot say about his baseball career.

On Monday, one admiring baseball blogger called Decker “eminently likable,” citing tweets like this one from the “filmmaker/infielder” in 2014: “People take athletes too seriously….. I hit a ball with a piece of wood for a living….. How is that role model material?”

Where Decker ends up next season is anybody’s guess. For now, the second Jewish player to reach the Bigs this year (after Cincinnati’s Jon Moscot) is enjoying the moment.

Watch out, San Diego: you’re gonna love this guy.

Want our daily updates sent free to your e-mailbox? Click here