The first game in Billings meant my first professional outing. I was also expecting to see my best friend and roommate of 4 years, Adam Matthews. It didn’t happen though as he was still in Arizona. Nevertheless, I was excited to be getting back on the mound. It had been a little over two weeks since my last collegiate performance, so I was excited to get a professional game under my belt. I have a game-day routine I’ve always followed since becoming a starter, and breakfast plays a huge part in it. I was able to find a really nice local bakery and had some great breakfast. Eggs, bacon, and French toast. Always have to go with French toast on game day. And coffee, of course. I thoroughly enjoy food so I really like to experience restaurants that are location specific. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent chain restaurants, but it is always interesting to eat at locally-owned restaurants. I think that is why I love The Drover and Lo Sole Mio in Omaha so much. Anyway, game time came quickly, but with it came rain. We were pushed back 30 minutes due to the downpour. I didn’t realize until afterward, but my first start at South Carolina was also pushed back due to rain against Georgia Southern. Hopefully that means good things are to come! It felt great to be back on the mound again, except during warm-ups, I had 30 mph winds blowing in my face with some misting rain. I needed a whole tube of Chapstick after getting loose! It wasn’t ideal circumstances, but you always have to make the best of the situation you’ve been given. I didn’t have the best outing, but I was still glad to be out there. I took away a lot of positives from my first professional outing. I have to say, though, the weirdest part about being a “professional” pitcher is being able to head to the clubhouse during the game. (By the way, I put professional in quotes because I feel like you are only a professional baseball player if you are actually in the big leagues. Just my opinion.) Once I was out of the game, the next inning I left with the strength coach to get my arm care work completed and ice my arm. We didn’t even know how the game was coming along until the next pitcher came to the clubhouse. Well, I eventually found out I took my first professional loss! That’s ok though because that means the next outing can only get better!
After a 3 game set in Billings, with the third game ending at 12:30 am, we headed out for Missoula, Montana immediately. It was the most pleasant trip I had been on considering we just got smoked 22-6 and had a 5 hour bus ride staring us in the face. After tossing and turning on the bus, we arrived in Missoula at America’s Best Value Inn around 6:45am. Now having a degree in marketing, I understand laws allow the service/retail industry to use puffery such as “Best Milkshake in Town!” but what I can’t figure out is who allowed this hotel to be named America’s Best ANYTHING! Uncle Sam should consider suing this company for libel, slander, the whole gamut! I guess the manager knew I would be upset because I was one of the very few to be given their own room. A beautiful king size bed with random black hairs stuck to the sheets was waiting for me. In my drowsy state, I didn’t quite care and flopped right on the bed to enjoy the 5 best hours of sleep ever!
I was really looking forward to playing Missoula because another former teammate, Evan Marzilli, was on the team. I was scheduled to pitch the third game of the four-game series. Of course, Evan was so scared that he asked for the night off when I pitched so I was unable to face him. Side note: some of my twitter followers wanted me to hit him! I thought you guys were a little bit nicer than that! Dang! My second outing went well, and we had a fun time in Missoula. Evan and I were able to grab a bite to eat after the games and enjoy some of the nightlife Missoula had to offer to help break away from some of the monotony of the minors.
Our 8 day road trip flew by pretty quickly. After four games in Missoula, we had a 9 hour drive to get back home to Orem, but fortunately had the rest of the day off. Driving through the night, we made it back to Orem around 8 am. Those two midnight bus excursions have taught me how to sleep in almost any contorted position. I’ll probably need to find a good chiropractor in the off season!
I am a little behind on the days still with this blog, so I will be catching up rather quickly, but I want to encourage you to comment and make suggestions. This thing can only be as good as you guys make it. Let me know what you are interested in hearing about. Until next time!