Logan O’Hoppe stood in front of his locker in the visitor’s clubhouse a couple of hours before living the dream of playing in a big-league game at the Stadium. A Yankees fan growing up in Sayville, his vision actually involved the other clubhouse. But this wasn’t that far off for the Angels’ rookie and starting catcher.
“Here’s a little story: When I was younger [and] in school, I went downstairs in my basement and I put bookshelves together and made it like my locker,” he said. “So I’d come home from school, go get changed in my locker and then go upstairs. Now we’re doing it for real.
“In my head it hasn’t changed, but it’s something I’ve dreamed up for a while.”
O’Hoppe was drafted by the Phillies out of St. John the Baptist High in 2018 and last season was dealt to the Angels in an August trade for outfielder Brandon Marsh. With Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto signed long-term and blocking his path to the majors, it proved an opportunity he has seized this season. In 13 games entering Tuesday’s game, he had a .244/.300/.533 slash line with four home runs and 11 RBIs.
Tuesday, he went 1-for-3 with an infield hit and a walk.
Though he’d played at the Stadium in a scouting event as a rising senior and again in a taxi squad game during the COVID-19-altered 2020 season, he went out for early drills and spent a moment taking it all in. “It was pretty surreal,” he said.
Michael and Angela O’Hoppe, his parents, were on the field for Angels batting practice — “we really just want to see him win,” Angela O’Hoppe said — but there were many more Long Islanders gathered in great swaths of Section 235 in leftfield. Call them “O’Hoppe’s Hundreds.”
“I don’t have an exact number,” he replied when asked about the expected turnout. “I stopped losing count after a couple hundred . . . [A lot] made [it] on their own but . . . But the ones I love the most are here. I knew they’d all make it one way or the other.”
“There was a text message [chain] telling people to buy in 235,” Audra Marcantonio said.
Added Arianne Berritto, “That’s how all of this came together. We’ve all been watching him since he was little.”
"It was great," O'Hoppe said after the game. "It was a great feeling with the stands full."
It was a different kind of O’Hoppe visit to the Stadium that became a popular video on social media in the days leading up to his return home. He and Kevin Czeczotka, his best friend and St. John the Baptist teammate, were at a 2018 Yankees-Orioles game and O’Hoppe caught a Manny Machado home run off CC Sabathia. The clip has him making the catch and throwing it back with formidable form.
“That was me. I was 17 and that was two weeks before the draft,” O’Hoppe said.
Asked what he remembered about the moment, he replied, “I remember not being able to watch the rest of the game because it was the first time my phone [ever] blew up. It was a good learning moment for nights like tonight when my phone is blowing up.”
He did a pregame interview for the Angels’ television broadcast from the spot he made that catch.
O’Hoppe was asked how much he has been looking forward to a week like the one that’s now upon him and replied, “Absolutely. It’s something you’ve worked for for quite a while. So it’s a moment I won’t take for granted.”
And he didn't.
"In the seventh inning we finished throwing warm-up pitches early.," he said. "Right there, I did take a few [moments] to really soak in the atmosphere. It was pretty special."