MLB’s David and Dominic Fletcher face off with late dad in mind

MLB's David and Dominic Fletcher face off with late dad in mind

Tim Fletcher had always tried to be there for all of his sons’ moments. The father of David Fletcher, an infielder for the Angels, and Dominic Fletcher, an outfielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks, would try to watch them play, either from a ballpark or on TV.

He traveled to Seattle to watch David make his debut in 2018 and the next week venturing to Omaha to watch Dominic, who was still an Arkansas Razorback, play in the College World Series. To see both sons play while in Omaha, Tim chose an empty section of seats beyond the outfield wall and got the stadium WiFi password from a staff member. From his seat, he could see Dominic play in person while also having the signal strength and enough quiet space around him to continue watching David’s big league journey.

He was overjoyed by all of David and Dominic’s accomplishments over the years. “I’m awful proud of them and I’m not just talking about baseball,” Tim said last year after David and Dominic were named to Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic.

Tim died unexpectedly earlier this month. So, David and Dominic — playing against each other at the major-league level for the first time as the Angels hosted the Diamondbacks — played without one of their biggest fans on Friday.

“I think it’d be a pretty exciting day for him,” David said before the game. “He was very proud of both of us. He got to see us both play in the major leagues… Kind of always [play with him on my mind], but today, this series will be a little different getting to play against Dom.”

Said Dominic: “Every night, he turned on the TV and had both of our games going simultaneously. To be able to be here and watch would have been one of his favorite things.”

David went 0 for two and Dominic went one for four in the Angels’ 6-2 loss to the Diamondbacks during the first of their three-game series.

The Fletchers had a large contingent at Friday’s game, many of their childhood friends and family still living in the Southern California area, including mother Fernanda.

The Fletchers were raised in Cypress, David and Dominic playing on the same team just one year when they were both at Cypress High. They played on the same team again for Team Italy in March.

Last season, David had a rehab assignment in triple A and played against Dominic in a game between the Salt Lake Bees and Reno Aces. David was sent back to triple A in the middle of April, getting to play against Dominic and the Aces until Dominic made his big league debut at the end of that month. Dominic was optioned back to triple A at the end of May.

David’s contract was selected again by the Angels last weekend, one of many infield moves that included a trade for Eduardo Escobar and optioning Jared Walsh and Michael Stefanic to triple A.

Dominic was recalled by the Diamondbacks on Thursday, one of two outfielders they brought up as star outfielder Corbin Carroll nurses a sore shoulder.

The serendipity of them being able to play against each other in the big leagues, in a stadium they both grew up watching baseball games in, amid such a loss, was not lost on anyone.

“A tragedy in the family, but for them to get together like this, it was like it was meant to be,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said.

Said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo: “They’ve been through a lot over the past couple weeks. Getting them on the same field [at] the same time. I think there was some divine intervention somewhere along the way.”