Sometimes I tell myself, “Today is the day! God as my witness, I will write in my blog TODAY!”
Occasionally, I follow through on this decree.
Lucky you, right? I know, I know: You really don’t have to say anything. I graciously accept any adulation you might have for me.
But of course while I joke about it, one fact remains: SOMEBODY is certainly reading this. I know: I get to look at the site stats. So to the about 3 or so folks who seem to keep popping by my site every day: Thanks. That’s actually pretty cool.
So with that, here’s some quick updates/explanations/rants/whatever:
First, for any who might be wondering, baseball is going fairly… strangely. I’m trying to hang on with another team now. Thing that really sucks is that this would my second team of the year so far. I was picked up by one team, threw one live BP and one practice for them before getting The Speech.
If you’ve seen “Bull Durham” (Or pretty damn near every baseball movie ever), you know exactly what The Speech consists of: The manager begins The Speech with some play on the phrase, “Being a manager/coach is the toughest job in the game/world.”. And then it ends with you getting sent packing your bags and wondering what the fuck you’re going to do now. You might be given contact information for another team that might need you for something or another. You might not. Either way; in the present tense on THIS team, you are not wanted.
I would like to point out that my version of The Speech also consisted of another version of the “But we have former pro players and Division I college guys here” excuse as well. Of course, I didn’t get that when I kept making the coaches’ vaunted ex-pro bats miss my knuckler during live BP. But what do I know?
At least I was one of the ones who DID get more contact information for another team. I placed a couple of phone calls and emails. Next thing I know I get in touch with a really awesome coach who despite having everybody he needed on his team, invited me to come play in a game so he could give other teams a look at what I could possibly do.
And how do I repay him? By getting lost finding the field and being nearly 45 minutes late. When I approached him to introduce myself, the game was already about to start and I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself for being so late. If I’d have been better prepared, it would not have been a problem. Coach was still really cool about it though. “You can go into the bullpen and throw some catch,” he explained. “I’ll work on getting you out there later in the game.”
I grabbed Chris (Another fringe guy like me only trying to land as an OF) and we went to the bullpen. Before this day, I’d been worried because I couldn’t seem to find the strike zone. For the last few practices leading to this, I’d developed issues finding home plate. After a few minutes of playing really easy catch though, my arm had seemed to work itself out, so I started throwing from the mound.
I’ve realized that one of my biggest flaws is that I carry unreal expectations: I do a thing once, and I expect that because I could do it once, I can easily repeat it on demand. Naturally I fail. And that failure creates an avalanche of ass which consumes and overwhelms me to the point where I feel like an emotional wreck inside.
What I forget in all of this is that even the best of us have to work into that level of excellence because talent alone isn’t nearly enough. And as I am decidedly NOT the best of us, I just have to work that much more and ease into things.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m learning that I need to step back at times and just chill the fuck out. Not every pitch has to be perfect; they just need to get there. Knowing this has made things a ton easier for me, I’ll tell you.
And with things feeling pretty good and Knuckles moving nicely, I settled into a little groove on the bullpen mound. So much so in fact, that the coach and one of the other pitchers was commenting on it. After a few minutes of observation, coach told me that I was to come in the game at the bottom of the sixth. Pretty cool!
So there I was, standing on the mound in a real game sort of thing. I got my swagger and I’m feeling pretty awesome at this point. The opponent’s first batter steps in against me, and I just uncork it: Knuckles right down the middle for strike one. I love that first pitch: Batters just give it to you for the most part. Second pitch came in low and on the outside.
Then, with the count at 1-1, I let loose with a seriously knee buckling knuckleball and the batter chops it right into the gap between the first and second basemen. Guy playing first dove after it and missed. So I ran to back up the base as the second basemen also dove after the ball and snagged it. The relay throw was wild and to my left, so I had to turn into the basepath to catch it.
To be honest, I’m still not clear about what happened after that. All I can remember is the wild relay throw, turning to catch it, and then next thing I know I’m face down in the dirt near first. What other folks told me was that in turning to catch the wild throw, my upper body was right in the way of the baserunner, who immediately proceeded to run through me, causing my glasses to fly off in one direction, my hat to fly off in another, and leaving my ass laying.
But the coolest part is: I held onto the ball and got the out. Never mind the fact that I could barely think and it felt like the tone from the Emergency Broadcast System was playing directly into my brain. I made the play, and for me that’s something.
Coach ran out after me, and asked if I was okay. I tried to tell him that everything was fine and that I could keep going. But he took a long look at me and he said, “I’m sorry, bud. That was a hell of a play, but you don’t look good. You’re done.”. I was not entirely thrilled with the decision, but as I sort half-walked, half-stumbled my way back to the dugout, the first wave of dizziness hit me and I figured maybe coach was right to get me out of there.
As I sat on the bench shaking things off, one of the other coaches gave me a once over and told me that while he wasn’t sure, he thought I might have a mild concussion. After the game, I went to my doctor and had that prognosis confirmed.
So believe it or not, this is my first concussion ever. I guess this makes me a real athlete now!
After the game though, Chris and I were taken aside and given… different news. I was told that while the Coach liked what I was showing, and he thought Chris had good legs and hustle in the outfield, he didn’t have a spot on his team for either of us. We were however, offered spots in the league as “free agents”. We were then given our player’s contracts (My first time signing one of those too!) which we of course signed.
One of the benefits of the contract is that even if I don’t land on a team right away, the league holds what they call “Free Agent” Games in one of their parks every weekend. So even if I’m not on a team, I can still get real work in actual games. And the clubs watch these games too, so who knows? Maybe I can really impress someone.
In conclusion, I have to admit that everything written above is just a really convoluted way of explaining why I took a job at Starbucks. Even if it’s all true.
So, another thing I’ll be doing starting this May is volunteering with a local non-profit that does various sporting activities with mentally and physically disabled children. My role will be to help coach and play ball with the kids. This might even be a greater challenge then just playing in local leagues. Now I have to be patient, humble, gracious, and kind. And believe me when I tell you that I am NONE of these things. I say it’ll take three days of this before I snap and charge little wheelchair kids with a baseball bat. Any takers?
Okay, that’s it. I have more things to write. But I’ll try and space them out for you. Keep reading!