So, Wednesday was my first game, my first big league spring training appearance, and my mood and my nerves were surprisingly mellow. I thought that maybe I just hadn't gotten close enough to the mound, or the hitter hadn't stepped in yet. First of all, I was in the pen throwing way before I should have. I warmed up too long, though I thought that my reasoning was headed in the right direction.
Everyone had been talking about the 'first time,' and how much their adrenaline was flowing, so since I tend to get worked up anyway, and my adrenaline starts to flow pretty easily, I thought that if I threw a little more than usual, it would even out that rush when it hit. I got out on the mound, and truthfully, I was very comfortable. No nerves, no butterflies, and the back side of my pants were not brown, they were white, ALL WHITE.
Anyway, I got the first two guys on fly outs, or should I say the second guy flied out, the first guy hit a scorcher down the left field line, and EY made a nice grab. Yeah, that's right, Eric Young, made an awesome defensive play...for me...while I was on the mound...in a San Diego Padres uniform...do sump la junta haters! HA!
No, but then here comes the best part. So, yeah, I walked the next guy on four straight. It was really a learning experience for me ya know, I mean I guess baseball really isn't any different in the big leagues, apparently you still have to throw strikes when you have two outs. So he is on first, and I knew he was going to steal but hey, I wanted him to have a better view of what my catcher was signing to me, plus I wanted him to have a shorter run to home plate ya know. I mean come on, figure it out Thomps, ya know? He is on second, the next guy smoked one into the gap for a double, and the run scored. From there, I proceeded to walk the next two.
In my defense, in all honesty, I just wanted all my friends that were there, and the fans too, to see me talking to Bochy all cool and stuff. He came out, gave me a few words of wisdom, and sent me on my way into a dugout full of blank faces and even a few faint sorrowful faces that were all pointed in my direction.
It was quite an experience, I guess you could say I got my feet wet, though really, I almost drowned out there. I'm telling you though , it was awesome. The one thing that I will say is that I should have stayed with what had worked. I got two big league hitters out, and instead of doing what worked, I tried to go harder, snap that curveball sharper, pull the string on that change better. I shouldn't have tried to better what I had already done, I should have just repeated it.
I'm not going to lie though, the rest of that day, and that night, it kind of hit me a little harder. Yes, I know it was my first outing, but you know, this could be my only opportunity. Now I don't plan on going anywhere, but who knows what could happen. I have heard that some people only get that chance once, and that you do everything you can with the chance you receive. I just felt like I had let myself, my family, and everyone that had ever pushed for me, down. I was really disappointed in myself. I got tears a few times, I don't care if you all know it, I'm human just like the next guy, maybe I have a little more sissy in me, but just the same.
It was hard, for me, I have been doing this my whole life, and what, because I know a few of the guy's names, or they make tons more money, or it's a big stadium with tons of fans, what, I'm supposed to completely forget how to do what I have been doing my whole life? It just seemed for a short while there that I was taking up someone else's shot to make it all the way.
Ok, now, after I sucked it up, and stopped, I guess you could say, feeling sorry for myself, I pitched again yesterday. Same feeling as always, no nerves, just waiting, real intense, but with a patient mind, and an aggressive but subtle approach with every movement and breath I was taking. This time though, I was not trying out for the "Playing Catch In the Bullpen" Olympics. I did my normal routine that I would normally take, and then I headed to the mound. First three hitters in my first inning--gone within ten pitches. Second inning, one hit, (my fault though, I threw a soft changeup, it stayed up...I mean even the cooks in our lunchroom would have gotten a hit) it was weak though, and then I got the other three to fly out. So, in my near death experience two or three days prior, it was looking pretty grim, but on day two I managed to do what my job description had said to do. It was good for me, I made pitches, definitely could have done things a little differently, but no runs scored, and after the hit I gave up, now the cooks want BP.
All in all, it was a good day, until I went down to our strength guy, and he gave me my conditioning. Yeah, not so sure I like talking to a person that inflicts pain and strain on body parts I didn't even know I had, but I'm alive. Anywho, that's it for me for now but, oh wait, ok. I have to do a kareoke in front of the entire big league side, don't worry all the first time invites do, and I need suggestions fast. You all have until at least tomorrow to give them to me so I can get on it. Until then.
Email your song suggestions or comments to Sean via his editor at Renwick@SanDiegoSports.net