The Call came late at night. After that, no wonder Commack's Mike Belfiore couldn't sleep. He was going to The Show.
Before long, Belfiore, a hard-throwing 6-3, 220- pound lefthander, was on his way from Syracuse to Minneapolis to join his new Baltimore Orioles teammates for their 1 p.m. Mother's Day game against the Twins.
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"You wait for that first call," Belfiore said. "And it all happens so fast. That's the call we all wait for -- the first call-up to the bigs."
The call-up from Triple-A Norfolk was temporary -- he was back in the minors only a day later -- but that did not diminish his experience at Target Stadium.
"I walked into the clubhouse and I said to myself, 'Wow, this is really happening,' '' he said with a laugh. "When we went to the bullpen, I looked around the stadium and saw that third upper deck. There is no third deck unless you're in the bigs.''
Belfiore, who wore number 65, was not needed in relief that day and returned to Norfolk.
"They needed a lefty in the bullpen,'' he said. "Our starters had a few short outings and it became an emergency situation.''
Belfiore was a first-round supplemental pick, 45th overall, of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009. The three-year Boston College standout signed with Arizona and played two years before being acquired by the Orioles for infielder Josh Bell on May 12, 2012.
"It was almost a year to the day of the trade that I got the call,'' said Belfiore, who is on the Orioles' 40-man roster. "Just getting there was a big deal. It didn't matter if I threw a pitch. You never forget the first time.''
Belfiore had his parents, Mike and Pat, girlfriend Ashlee Cassidy and some friends at Target Field to see him wear a big-league uniform.
An All-Newsday selection and Gibson Award winner in 2006, Belfiore was 1-0 with 18 strikeouts in 152/3 innings for Norfolk through Friday. He mixes a 92-to- 94-mph fastball with a nasty slider and changeup.
"Baseball is a very hard career, seven days a week, all year,'' his father said. "I can't be more proud of him. He was interviewed on the pregame show of his first game and spoke very well. Education was always important to me and he went back to college for two semesters and got his degree.''
In the offseason, Belfiore can be found working out on Long Island.
"I did my throwing program at the All-Pro Academy with Neal Heaton and Scott June,'' Belfiore said. "Heaton helped with the mentality of pitching, the focus.''