David and Dominic Fletcher spent a while this offseason visiting the place their mom grew up in for the primary time.
As gamers for Team Italy within the upcoming World Baseball Classic, the brothers from Cypress went on a tour of the nation with a few of their teammates. The objective of the tour was to convey extra consciousness and pleasure in regards to the sport to a rustic during which it isn’t standard.
The group made a shock cease in Florence only for the Fletcher brothers, permitting them to satisfy and have dinner with cousins from Fernanda Fletcher’s facet of the household.
“Our mom taught us Italian when we were young,” Dominic mentioned. “We kind of grew up speaking Italian and then over the years lost little bits and pieces. We still speak decent Italian. It was good enough to be able to have a decent conversation with our family.”
Italy’s WBC staff is managed by Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, who has lengthy been an envoy for the game within the nation. Piazza, who moved to Italy together with his household after he retired from Major League Baseball, performed for Team Italy within the inaugural WBC in 2006, then returned to the staff as a coach for the following two editions.
WBC groups have till Feb. 7 to finalize the 30-player roster they are going to take into the principle competitors in March, and each David and Dominic are more likely to be on the Italian staff. It can be the primary time since highschool that the brothers will play collectively on the identical staff.
David, 28, has been with the Angels since they drafted him out of Loyola Marymount in 2015. The versatile infielder will enter the third 12 months of his five-year contract with the staff this season. Dominic, a 25-year-old outfielder, performs within the Arizona Diamondbacks group, which drafted him out of Arkansas in 2019. His purpose this season is to get a call-up to the majors.
Since turning professional, the Fletchers have performed on the identical area solely as soon as. That was this previous summer time. David was on a rehabilitation task with the Angels’ triple-A staff, the Salt Lake Bees, who had a recreation towards the Diamondbacks’ affiliate, the Reno Aces, who Dominic performed for.
Though Dominic thinks David is the higher participant between the 2 of them, noting David’s contract, of that triple-A recreation, he playfully mentioned: “I got more hits than him.”
“Yeah, that was pretty cool,” David mentioned. “Getting to play on the same field in professional baseball and hopefully one day in the major leagues too.”
David was referred to as as much as the massive leagues the week earlier than Dominic and the Razorbacks have been to start out their run on the 2018 College World Series. Their father, Tim, already had tickets and plans to see Dominic play. He discovered a flight to Seattle to catch David, the place he was making his debut.
Tim couldn’t comply with David and the Angels to their subsequent recreation, which was in Oakland, due to work. The subsequent week, on the College World Series, Tim parked himself away from a lot of the gang, in a set of stands within the outfield, in order that he may see Dominic play proper in entrance of him. At the identical time, he streamed the Angels recreation on his telephone.
When the boys have been kids, they’d wait for his or her father to come back residence from work in order that he may pitch to them.
It was a each day routine that included enjoying makeshift baseball video games with a number of the different kids from across the Aliso Viejo townhouse they lived in. The household moved to Cypress when David and Dominic have been 8 and 5, respectively.
“They just loved to play all the time,” Tim mentioned.
Between the brothers — who’ve a youthful sister, Daviana, who’s a cheerleader at Arkansas — baseball began with David. Dominic picked it up from him. But it wasn’t a sport they discovered from their dad.
“I think my dad wanted us to play football and my mom was against us playing football,” Dominic mentioned.
David grew into the game on his personal, a easy pleasure of throwing and catching baseballs, tennis balls, even balloons, and studying tips on how to use a glove when he was a toddler.
“I didn’t know then, but I know now that not a lot of people can do that,” Tim mentioned.
When David was 5 he requested his mother and father to ship him to a summer time camp on the Mark Cresse School of Baseball — which has three places in Southern California and whose alumni embrace Piazza and former Angels All-Star Mark Trumbo. Fernanda would convey Dominic along with her when she introduced David to camp and by the following 12 months, Dominic was asking to take part, as effectively.
“Throughout both of our careers, he got to do everything first,” Dominic mentioned. “Not only advice he told me, but just being able to watch him and learn and pick up on things that he did throughout his journey has really helped me.”
David mentioned that though he affords recommendation to Dominic, his youthful brother does effectively on his personal. “I think he sets a good example of how to work hard,” David added.
The Fletcher brothers performed collectively on the identical staff simply as soon as, at Cypress High. That was in 2013, when David was a senior and Dominic was a freshman, an incidence that may not have occurred as Tim and Fernanda contemplated sending Dominic to a distinct college. They helped the Centurions to their second CIF Division 2 championship in program historical past.
“Those two boys were incredibly tireless workers,” Cypress coach John Weber mentioned.
The Fletchers don’t all dwell in the identical place anymore. Dominic lives in Arkansas within the offseason and David lives in South Orange County.
David nonetheless goes again to the fields at Cypress High — a particular place for the Fletchers, who’ve run round and performed on these fields even earlier than they have been youngsters — to look at video games and even work out in his offseason. He additionally lends his time and assets to help his previous staff. Weber mentioned one among his gamers had his baseball bag and cleats stolen from him. Weber referred to as David, who despatched over a brand new pair of cleats for the participant.
“He does things like that, he donates time to our poker fundraiser, he donates things, he comes to our events,” Weber mentioned. In the previous, David has additionally gotten Angels teammates, like Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, to donate a few of their gear to his previous highschool staff’s fundraisers.
When Dominic is on the town, he works out with David and helps a few of his neighborhood outreach efforts, like David’s charity poker event. The subsequent version of that occasion, proceeds for which go towards Summer Harvest Food 4 Kids, is Jan. 20 on the Old Ranch Club in Seal Beach.
“I’m awful proud of them and I’m not just talking about baseball,” Tim mentioned. “I said, ‘You gotta give back in some way when you get the opportunity.’ ”