It was kind of
interesting because as I was throwing with one of the kids, Coach Hunter came up
to me and asked me if I could help one of his other kids out. He's a little
lefty that has some mechanical problems that he would like me to iron out.
Now I've played baseball all my life and all I've done is listen and learn. At
that point I looked at the kid and about two million thoughts came into my head,
and all of a sudden I didn't know what to tell him. It made me think, what I say
and change with this kid in the next few weeks, that could determine how his
season goes, how his career may go, and on my side, whether or not I get a call
from his parents in a few months talking about "you messed up my boy's chances
and now he's..." blah blah blah. I mean, I was kind of freaking out about it.
I guess it also taught me a lot about myself and what I have learned along the
way. His preparation for the upcoming season is as vital right now as mine.
Usually, right about this time of the year, I'm playing video games and thinking
to myself, "Damn if I don't start throwing and running, I'm going to go from
'prospect' to 'suspect' in Spring Training real fast.
Now I'm wondering if running twice a day some days just isn't enough. I tell
ya, it took me a long time to grow out of thinking everything was just going to
come to me on the field. This past season in Fort Wayne, I experienced pain in
my arm for the first time ever. The funny part of that is I rarely even went
past six innings. In high school, I threw 192 pitches through 11 innings. I
struck out 24 guys and my arm felt like I could have gone another five. Now, if
I don't keep my arm healthy, keep up with my conditioning and doing my jobs, it
hurts to scratch my head in the shower.
I guess you could say that helped me decide to stay up with my workouts as well,
because honestly, I can't keep progressing without the work. I know I will
start to drag and eventually come to a stand still. Truthfully I'm getting so
excited and ready for the actual season and the fun in everyday Minor League
life. Before I got drafted I had heard some of the worst stories ever about the
Minor Leagues and the long seasons. All the road trips, the Minor League
income, and just the whole atmosphere of "it's everyman for himself, no friends,
just colleagues" and it kinda put me in a sour mood.
Let me tell you, its nothing like that at all. I have loved every minute of it
and wouldn't change a thing. Well, maybe a few things, but for the most part,
its a blast. The road trips are a blast. In what other job is the biggest
concern of the upcoming 'business trip' what movies are we gonna get? I mean
that in itself is just crazy fun. The team unity comes with each passing week.
I mean you always have to have your new college guys that like to get blasted at
least five times a week and think "man, are we cool or what." You know the ones
I'm talking about, each day at the park you overhear "Dude, I drank so much last
night." Its comical because sooner or later they will figure it out. You do
have those guys, and it always seems to amaze me. They can get torched every
night, wake up and go three to five innings on a consistent basis. It's nuts I
Of course its easy to get along with all those guys, plus its always fun to hear
a good story ya know. Then you have the guys that just love to listen to the
same songs in the clubhouse every single day. I mean hey, can I help it if I
like to hear "Amber" by 311 at least 12 times a day? Those guys are funny in
their own way as well.
The 'Bitter Betsies' are my favorites though. I'm talking the guys that come in
and are always bitching about being at the level that they are at, thinking they
should be higher, or not wanting to be where they are, it is always crazy to
hear. I'm not going to lie though, I mean I've been to 'Instructs' so many
times I think I might have my own parking place, and I'm
moving through the system like 90 old women in a school zone, but hearing some
of these guys views on their situation is a treat.
As for my favorite, it has to be the Latin players. By the way, taking French
in high school was the worst thing I could have done. I have learned more
Spanish than I ever would have thought. Those guys are so full of life and they
are so funny. This is only a taste of the excitement and the fun of the past
few years, there's so much more to say, and more to come.