"That Was My Whole Life": Veteran Backstop Thrilled To Join Hometown Team

“That was my team,” Luke Maile said. “That was my whole life, really, since the time I can remember. I started going to (Cincinnati) Reds games at Riverfront Stadium when I was really, really little."

Joining the Reds is a dream come true for the seven-year veteran backstop. The Reds have signed him to a 1-year, $1.17M contract to be a backup to starting catcher Tyler Stephenson. 

The 32-year-old is a Park Hills, Ky., native, and grew up minutes from downtown Cincinnati. Thinking about Opening Night at the Great American Ball Park is giving him chills already, even though it's still four months away.

“I don't think it's truly sunk in how excited I'll be for that,” Maile said after signing his deal. “I'd like to think that I might soak it in for a minute and then get right back to baseball. I'm sure I'll find a way to do that. I'm very aware of how cool Opening Day is in that stadium and in that city.

“I always knew I wanted to play for the Reds at some point and in this game, you never really know how many opportunities you’re going to have to do that,” he continued. “When they were interested in getting a deal done it obviously made me equally if not more interested in getting a deal done. We had a very quick negotiation.”

Maile hit .221 for the Cleveland Guardians this past season, but is a defense-first catcher. 

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