My Big Debut

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!


37 thoughts on “My Big Debut

  1. i will, along with lots of others miss seeing you in the carolina dugout. But i’m sooo happy for you. You doing soo well. I hope to see you in the Angels bullpin soon! i love you & all you’ve done while at carolina.

  2. Love reading about your experiences in the minors! Your fans will stay loyal no matter what you write about, so please just keep the updates coming! It’s fascinating to read about your trips and game-day routine. You seem very humble, and you know who you are and where you’re going, so stay true to that! Wishing you luck & cheering you on all the way from the great state of Texas! 🙂

  3. I’m helping with fundraiser called Carolina Kick Off for a Cure and would be absolutely ecstatic to get some sort of Michael Roth original memorabilia for the live/silent auction. Plenty of baseball fans will be in crowd considering Coach Holbrook is our guest of honor. Event is October 13 at The Zone in Williams Brice. More info at Thanks!

  4. I’ve heard Ray Tanner speak at events and he tells of your sense of humor. It really does come out in the blog. (Poor Evan, ha ha!) My son was at USC baseball camp the year you guys went on to win the second CWS, so we have pics of William and you, as well as with Jackie and Matt, a fellow Sumter Survivor! Btw, my little baseball player wants to major in international business. I’m thinking that’s what you majored in.

    I truly enjoy your blog. Your personality shines through and I am so proud to be a fellow USC alum!! Knock ’em dead, and remember, a Chick-Fil-A is never very far away!

  5. Your comments are very interesting and you tell your story very well. It would be interesting to hear more about your initial experiences pitching in the minor leagues. Obviously, you are facing more experienced hitters than you saw most of the time in college, but what works for you and what does not work as well? You were basically a control pitcher rather than a fast-ball pitcher, how do you adjust to older, stronger batters? The stats seem to indicate that you are doing better against lefties than right-handed batters, why is that and how do the coaches help you to deal with them? Finally, are there significant differences in the way the umpires set the strike zone that make it harder to get calls on either right or left handed batters? You are doing a fine job, and we really enjoy hearing about your experience.

  6. Thank you Michael for taking us along with you on your journey. Years ago, we loved following along with our dear friend, (former USC pitcher) David Marchbanks when he signed with the Marlins. We learned that the Minors can be pretty tough on you as far as living conditions. Take care of yourself and thank you again for posting your thoughts and letting us tag along on your adventure. We are proud of you as you represent USC, Greenville and South Carolina!! I loved reading your blog to my family tonight. They loved it!! God Bless you!!

  7. Really enjoy reading your blog Michael, and being able to follow your career from your prospective. Since you asked, I would like to see some pictures of the ballparks you guys are playing in.

  8. Love your blogs! I’ll be a sophomore this year at Carolina and I love that the students and fans can still keep up with what you’re doing after college. Everything you have put on here has been SO well written I can’t even believe it. It’s like reading a story! Much love from South Carolina.

  9. Absolutely love reading your thoughts on your new life! Not only because it’s you and we love to keep up with you, but you’re living the dream of so many people and it’s awesome to see what it’s really like! Funny and articulate….look forward to more! Good luck! -Chris

  10. **Superstar**, lol you are to me!! Love the blog. Your writing style with hints of humor, keeps me tuned in for more. So glad that you are getting to experience all the new venues, towns and food! Looking forward to your next adventures.

  11. Buck and I love the blogs. You are a great writer. Can’t wait to her of your next adventure! Brooks has had many too. Once the motel he stayed in caught on fire by a meth dealer in the middle of the night! Crazy times!

  12. Thank you for sharing w/ your loyal fans a little part of your “new life experience.” It’s almost like we’ve become attached to you boys and are so happy to see you moving forward into your next chapter. It’s especially nice to share with our children the “reality” of “living the dream.” The millions of dollars and all the perks that come with it are gotten through hard work, honest work ethic and perseverance. What is like being a part of a new team where you know you all could be moved at any time? Is it harder to build a sense of unity? Also, how difficult is it to only pitch approximately 30 pitches a game? It must be a tease. 🙂 This blog is also nice because the other day I posted a quote from Remember the Titans, “Reflection is the better part of a Champion.” It will be so nice to share and reflect on these humble moments when you’ve achieved all your goals! God Bless you!

  13. I second David’ s comment. Your words paint a great picture and look forward to the updates.
    Listening to the play by play updates on the owls website is turning into a habit.

  14. Love the blog. Do not hit Evan Marzilli. I do wish u would go pitch for his team though. It is hard to listen to 3 baseball games at once- Owlz, Osprey, and Ironbirds. I would stick to an orthopedic doctor and a PT with a Masters degree for ur spine,ect. I am glad u are happy at what u are doing. That is what is important. If u are ever playing in the suburbs of Chgo. – Walker Bros. is the best for breakfast!

  15. Michael, I really enjoy your blog post. It’s great to hear about the real side of the climb to the Majors. I find that your experiences validate the fact that, baseball teaches and prepares you for life. Thanks for painting pictures with your words that I can share with my family.

  16. thoroughly enjoyed watching you on the mound at Carolina! Love the inside look into the minors you are giving us through this blog. it sounds simultaneously trecherous and fulfilling!

  17. I love reading your blog! You may have a job as a writer! ha Good Luck and remember once a Gamecock always a Gamecock! We will miss #29

  18. Hi Michael – I’m enjoying reading your blog posts – it’s like a grittier version of, well, some movie that escapes me right now. Glad you didn’t peg Marzilli – good work. And Montana is just beautiful – great that you got to see some of it in the daylight!

  19. I love reading your experiences. I became a baseball fan watching you and the rest of the guys win the first cws.

  20. Michael, I truly enjoy reading your blogs. You are a true inspiration and a truly classy young man. Us Gamecock fans love you and you know that. Continue to go far and keep positive everyday. I will continue to look forward to how well you are doing.

  21. Thanks for the updates on your new career. The hotel arrangements sound horrible! Bet you didn’t realize how you had it made it Columbia. Columbia and Greenville will miss you!

  22. Love reading about your experiences. It is fun to read about how it really is while you are pursuing a dream of playing in the ‘big league’. We will miss you at Carolina but know we are pulling for you as you take the next step in life.

  23. Michael,
    Now that your on other side of country and how is it compared to when u were in columbia how you really couldnt go anywhere without the fans recognizing ya and being celebrity status. Is it nice to be low key like your freshmen yr at carolina?
    Thanks for the informative post! Wish u many yrs of success!

  24. I am enjoying you taking us along as you experience the minors, Michael. You are funny, dry and truthful through it all and I appreciate that. I’ll be watching the day you get called up to “The Bigs.”

  25. Love hearing about all the ” non glory” of the Minors! Wow-you have to have a pretty good work ethic to go through that! Not really even like high school because in high school you probably had your parents watching your back; right? ( being a mom of a former baseball player and remembering how much I did). Wish you were closer to the East Coast! Above all-don’t lose your sense of humor!

  26. Love your blogs! It’s a great way for fans to really understand what minor league baseball is all about and what you guys have to endure. I can only think that it must feel a little like your first year at high school, all the dirty work and none of the glory. Though your first outting wasn’t the best. We all know that the best from you lies ahead. Thanks for keeping us posted and look forward to all the “Trails and Tribulations” to come. From one of your many loyal Gamecock fans!

  27. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It is exciting for those of us who watched you at Carolina. Keep up the good work!

  28. Congrats on being where you are first off! You will be missed greatly by everyone at “The Ray” next season. Any way a question for you regarding the bus… is it more “Bull Durham” or “Major League”. At least the Bull Durham guys didn’t have to get out and push! Good luck MR!

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