Memories: Ryan Castellani Has a New Favorite Moment at Chase Field -- His 1st Big-League Victory
Born in Philadelphia, Ryan Castellani's family moved to the Phoenix area when he was 10. A diehard Phillies' fan from birth, he spent more nights than he can remember at Chase Field, in the stands, watching the Diamondbacks.
Asked about the most special of the nights he had been in the ballpark -- emphasis on the past-tense -- he didn't hesitate. It wason April 24, 2010. His Phillies beat the Diamondbacks, 3-2.
"I remember Jason Werth hitting a home run almost off the scoreboard in center field," said Castellani.
Werth actually hit two on that night -- both to center field. He put the Phillies up 1-0 in the second inning, and then, with two out in the ninth, he unloaded again, with a game-winning shot.
Who would have thought that 10 years and five months later, Castellani would have a new highlight at Chase Field -- his first win in the big leagues? And it was by the same score as the night Werth delivered a special memory for Castellani -- Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 2.
Oh, and this time it was Castellani who actually gave up two home runs -- both solo home runs.
You can't make this stuff up.
“It was an emotional night," he said of Monday. "It was a lot of fun. ... I grew up going to games here. I’ve sat everywhere in this stadium. Now, for things to come full circle and to be on the mound and get my first win here, it is amazing. It is something I will cherish forever.
"I think I got my first pro win against the D-backs, too, against Hillsboro (Ore., in the short-season Northwest League). Kind of funny how it worked out."
But don't get the wrong idea. There were no mixed emotions for Castellani on Monday night. He's lived in the Phoenix area for more than 14 years, signing with the Rockies as a second-round draft choice out of Brophy College Prep in Phoenix in June of 2014, turning down a full-ride to Arizona State.
Childhood allegiances, however, last forever.
"I was a Phillies fan growing up," he said. "We moved to Arizona when I was 10. We lived in Philly the first 10 years of my life. I'm diehard Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, all that."
There was, however, a pinch-me moment for Castellani, who had never stepped foot on the playing surface at Chase Field until Monday.
"It was weird, thinking about getting to the big leagues and playing at Chase Field for the first time was a lot different than what I had imagined," he said of the lack of fans.
He may not have had folks in the stands, but he had friends and family paying attention.
"Just my wife's family," he said when asked about relatives living in the Phoenix area. "My parents and brother went back to Philadelphia. But there are still family friends, my high school teammates, my former coaches. Everybody texted me, and cheered me on. It was special that it happened here."
It is all a part of a continuing emergence of Castellani as a big-league pitcher.
"There's a big difference in Ryan, going back to (the original spring training this year) in Scottsdale," said manager Bud Black. "There's a maturing, a personal growth. He was in a good place in Spring Training 1. There was a confidence that it was time for him to make an impact."
And a major step in that came on Monday night at Chase Field.
It's a night Castellani will never forget, like that night Werth hit those two home runs, and the Phillies beat the D-backs with Castellani in the stands.