By: Nick Piecoro, Arizona Republic
(Photo courtesy of Rob Schumacher, The Republic)
Tim Melville was the perfect Little Miss BBQ employee. He worked late. He worked hard. He did whatever was needed.
“I would absolutely love to have Tim full-time,” Little Miss BBQ co-owner Bekke Holmes said.
For now, it seems, she will have to settle for having him as a seasonal employee.
Melville was busy with his other job on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field, where he shut down the Diamondbacks over seven strong innings as the starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies.
“A lot of guys play golf in the afternoons in the offseason and I was just, like, tired of that,” Melville said in a postgame interview on YouTube, on which the game was broadcast.
“I fortunately live close to one of the top barbecue places in the country and I’m a big food guy. They let me do an interview process. I kind of told them my resume of 10 years of minor league/major league baseball. Some cooking experience. So they let me get on board.”
Melville is a journeyman pitcher. A former fourth-round pick by the Kansas City Royals in 2008, he has pitched parts of 11 seasons, most of it in the minors, with seven major league organizations. He had accumulated only 35 days of big league service time and had never won a game at the major league level prior to Wednesday.
Melville, a Valley resident, was unsigned when the season began. He said he even attended a Diamondbacks-Red Sox game at Chase Field in April before eventually latching on with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. The Rockies signed him in May and sent him to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Little Miss BBQ co-owners Scott and Bekke Holmes said Melville, an avid barbecue fan, had been coming to their restaurant on University Drive for years. When he found out they were opening a second location in the Sunnyslope area last fall, Melville wanted to get involved.
“He just wanted to come in and work for free and do an internship,” Scott Holmes said. “Whatever he could to help us grow the restaurant.”
Melville went through the interview process and landed a job in October. He helped get the new location ready, then worked as a front-of-the-house employee once it opened in November. He ran the register or bussed trays. He helped in the kitchen or cleaned up in the pits. He washed dishes or took out the trash.
“He wanted to be involved, wanted to be around it,” Bekke Holmes said. “He loved everything we did over at University.”
Scott Holmes and a handful of others from Little Miss BBQ were in attendance on Wednesday, watching Melville turn in the best performance of his major league career. He gave up just one run on two hits, walking two and striking out four.
“It made me very, very happy for that guy today,” Holmes said. “He trained so hard during the offseason. He trained all the time, was always watching what he eats. To see the guy go out there and pitch the way he did today … It was pretty cool. He had a great game.”
Holmes was asked if he is expecting Melville to come back to work once the baseball season ends.
"We’ll see," he said. "I hope so. We’ll see what happens."