Q and A

You asked.  I answered.

Q – My questions involve your conception of how players, in this case pitchers, move up from rookie ball to A/AA/AAA ball. Is it as simple as pitch well and move up, depending on how pitchers above your level are doing? Are you expected to stay at a certain level for a set amount of time? Being on a limited pitch count, does that mean your odds of moving up early are lower? And is that a taboo subject that most players try not to talk about, similar to never discussing a no-hitter in the dugout during the game?

A – This is a question to which every minor league player wishes they knew the exact answer.  There is no cookie cutter approach.  Each organization is different, and decisions are fluid from one case to the next.  The one thing I know to do is to focus on the things I can control.  I can control how much I learn about myself, pitching, and my opponents.  I can control how hard I work, how well I take care of my body, and my performance on the field.  I can’t control how the pitcher in AA is pitching, or even the starting pitcher at the same level as me for that matter.  Being on a limited pitch count means I have about a zero percent chance of moving up this year.  But, that is also by design.  The Angels are being cautious and protective of my arm.  At the same time, I am 22 and that is considered old in professional baseball.  Hopefully, the Angels will want to push me through the system, and at that point, it becomes sink or swim.  As for it being taboo, it is just a part of the business.  It is common for players to move up and down, so we are pretty used to it.  We all hope to be moved up; it’s just a matter of if and when.

Q – So…who leads the antics in the dugout since you aren’t in there every game? Or isn’t that sort of thing allowed in rookie ball?

A – The whole team concept is a bit different in pro ball than in college.  I still do have my fun in the dugout, but I am usually charting hitters and have to stay somewhat focused on the game.  This keeps my dancing to a minimum.

Q – I know a lot of the running in baseball is simply going from foul pole to foul pole along the warning track, or maybe treadmill work depending on the facility. But what exactly is arm care work?

A – I actually only run pole to pole one day out of every five.  For now, I separate my days into 5 days because every 5 days I am pitching (unless blessed with a random off day).  As far as the treadmill, I hate them so I stay away from those.  We do sprints and agility work.  We need to stay athletic even though we’re pitchers.  But to the heart of your question:  Arm care work consists of many different exercises focused on the arms and shoulders to strengthen and reduce the chance of injury.  There are various exercises to focus on strengthening the rotator cuff and scapular area, in addition to some targeted for our elbow. We have 4 different routines we follow and the routine we do depends on which day it is in the cycle.  For instance, the day after we throw is the day with the heaviest arm workout. 

Q – How are hosts families chosen, and does every player on the team stay at one?

A – I’m not quite sure how host families are chosen.  Obviously, the family would have to approach the team, offering up their house for a player(s) to live in for the summer.  I’m not really sure how players are dispersed either.  I know we are asked for preferences like animals or none, smoking or non-smoking, etc. so I guess they try to match up as best as possible.  For the most part, all the players on the Owlz stay with a host family.  It is not mandatory, but our base pay does not quite cover enough for rent, if you get my drift.  Also, it is common for multiple players to live together.  For example, I live with catcher Anthony Bemboom and fellow pitcher, Austin Adams.  

Q – How much do you miss Hoodlands 107, mainly your roommates, and especially DatFischStick? It’s gotta be tough not having such a great guy and positive influence in your life daily.  How are you dealing with that?

A – I do miss the Hoodlands 107, and it shall forever be remember as sacred ground.  My roommates and I gave it a great run, and two of them are still living the dream there.  Adam and I have been replaced, but we know we will never be forgotten! DatFischStick was a great roommate and is an even better friend.  I have been impressed with the fact that he has yet to pocket veto me like he does others!  I am looking forward to my return to Columbia, yet will unfortunately not be able to live in the Hoodlands 107.  Hopefully, Adam and I will be able to find a nice apartment (and one we can afford because checks stop when the season stops) when we return to Cola-town.

Q – Same questions to you that you posed to Ray Tanner: word on the street is that you are using a different shampoo? What kind? Lather and rinse, but do you repeat?
Hey, are you excited to see him in the offseason? #TannerOnTwitter

A – I am a creature of habit, and when I find a product I like, I normally stick with it.  I am using Head & Shoulders Classic Clean scent.  I always lather and rinse, but repeating is only for special occasions!  I am excited to get back to Columbia in the off season.  I could only be so lucky as to get a little bit of ATHLETIC DIRECTOR Ray Tanner’s time.

Q – How did you learn to balance studying and playing ball so well?

A – It became a fine-tuned skill.  I have always been a person that enjoyed having fun; thus, it was hard for me to pass up a good time.  But, I am very blessed to have a brain that retains a lot of information quickly.  This helped me reduce studying time so that I could do some other things.  Also, I had an innate ability to know how to study to get right above the “A” mark.  While this might not be the best thing to admit, I also knew that college was not just about my grades, but about my experiences throughout my four years.  Once you learn how much you need to study to make the grade, you can then put your time to other areas.  You also have to use your time wisely.  I was not always great at this and have completed a few all-nighters in my college career.  Basically, my advice is to realize that college is a great experience.  For it to live up to its potential, you need to do stupid stuff sometimes.  Write your paper the night before it’s due.  Stay up all night before a test.  Have spontaneous trips to the beach or even just something simple like Waffle House in the very early morning.  Sleep through a class (especially when it’s raining).  Experiences like this help you learn about yourself.  For example, if your paper sucks when you wrote it the night before, you will learn not to procrastinate.  College is a lot more than just what you learn in the classroom. 

Q – 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 so 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?

A – Actually, in the level of ball I am in right now, I would say the hitters are not more experienced than SEC hitters.  There are some excellent hitters in this league though.  As you move up through the ranks, it obviously becomes greater competition.  Also, most of the hitters I face now are younger than me!  I am old!  As far as what works well for me, it is just knowing who I am and pitching like I know how to pitch.  The goal for the transition from college ball to pro ball is to not reinvent the wheel.  Instead, it’s like buffing up an old paint job.  I have my strengths and weaknesses as a pitcher and try to improve on those every day.  I would disagree with you that I am not a fastball pitcher because, while breaking pitchers are effective, they are only effective if pitching off of the fastball.  Now, I do rely on controlling my fastball, or it will get hit.  As far as adjustments, I read the hitters swings off of my pitches.  We get scouting reports before the game, and while these are useful, I feel that my own eyes and intuition are even better.  If I see a hole in the hitters swing, I try to exploit that to the best of my ability.  Why am I tougher on lefties?  I’d say it’s mainly b/c statistics show that it is usually harder for hitters to hit off of pitchers of their same hand.  I am always trying to improve my pitches to make me effective against any hitter.  The umpires are umpires.  Some are bad.  Some are good.  No matter what, you can’t let them affect your results.

Q – How do the minor league stadiums in the west compare to Carolina Stadium?

A – For the most part, the stadiums where we play are nice, but none of the stadiums compare to Carolina Stadium.  Carolina Stadium is top-notch.

Q – Now that you’re on other side of country, how does it compare to when you were in Columbia? Like how you really couldn’t go anywhere without the fans recognizing you? Is it nice to be low key like your freshmen year at Carolina?

A – Being on the other side of the country has definitely been a change.  Some things are better.  Some are worse.  Utah is a unique place because I am living in a valley.  Left or right, there are mountains on both sides.  And the mountains don’t look like the tree-covered Appalachian Mountains either.  You can actually see the rocks and terrain of the mountain. So, there is definitely a major geographical change from Columbia.  I also don’t sweat immediately after walking outside here so that is nice!  I love running into Gamecock fans when I am in Columbia, but it is nice to be able to sort of blend in with the crowd.  My Owlz teammates gave me a lot of crap in the first week about the CWS and whatnot.  Typical new-guy stuff.  But I am looking forward to returning to Columbia in the off-season.  Especially excited about catching some football games!

Q – A question for you regarding the bus…is it more “Bull Durham” or “Major League?”

A – Luckily neither! It’s a standard Coach Line bus.  Not a great bus, but it could be worse.

Q – Did you have any idea minor league life would be like this? (first road trip)

A – Yes and no.  In some areas, I thought it would be worse…like the baseball part.  I thought I would hate it because it’s a lot more individually focused.  However, I really do enjoy what I am doing.  I knew the hotels wouldn’t be great, but we have stayed at a few nice places.  I didn’t expect things to be as great as I had it at South Carolina just because that’s the nature of the beast.  Division I baseball is the top in its class.  Now, I’m back on the bottom and have to work my way to the top!

Q – What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?

A – Nothing.  I had a hard enough time hitting college pitching!

A Typical Day

My first month of Minor League baseball was interesting to say the least.  In my opinion, all highly successful people, whether top-notch athletes or valuable CEO’s, are routine-oriented people.  Having a routine helps you reach a comfort level, but it also allows you to be organized and efficient with your time.  The past month, I have been focused on molding my new routine.  As an amateur, I had my routine set.  I threw every Friday and had a lot of latitude with my warm-up.  My routine was basically up to me.  I also had two extra days of rest as I was throwing once a week.  Now, I am starting every 5 days.  And, as a professional, there are now set rules and policies that I am required to do.  There are arm care programs, long toss programs and pitcher/catcher meetings.  We are even encouraged (which means it’s mandatory) to keep a notebook.  A pitching diary, of sorts.  This book includes anything from throwing programs to self-evaluations of outings.  Now, the trick is to take the organization’s requirements and mold a new routine for me.  I want to stick to my roots and continue what has allowed me to be successful; however, I must be able to adapt to survive and hopefully climb through the professional ranks.

Many people have asked me what a normal day is like.  I will try to break it down for you in the most interesting way possible (sorry, it’s just not all that interesting!).  Most days, I roll out of bed around 10:30 or 11am.  While that is pretty late, I don’t normally go to bed until 2am.  It takes a while for me to unwind after a game (even if I’m not playing in it).  This also allows me to be used to the late night bus rides that occur every other week.  Most days, we head to the field around 12/12:30ish.  Depending on the day, I will get a workout in before our pitcher/catcher meeting at 2:30.  We go over the previous game’s notes and discuss what everyone is supposed to do for the day.  As a starter, I always know (at least I should) what I am supposed to be doing that day.  Then, we stretch.  This isn’t a 5 minute stretch.  It’s a break-a-sweat 15 minute dynamic stretch.  It’s one of those things that you either love or you hate.  And that can even depend on the day.  The next couple of hours are the toughest. We throw, run, and shag for batting practice.  All that fun stuff.  I have to be careful to manage my time so that I get my arm care work and running in before BP.  I miss being able to hit, but at the same time, it is nice to focus on only one thing. The little things that I hated doing in college because they were very tedious I don’t mind doing anymore.  I realize that this is my job, and I need to do everything possible to make sure I can be successful.  No regrets.  After BP is finished, we have about an hour and a half before the game starts.  This is our free time! We make phone calls, send texts, and tweet.  I am lucky because the Angels are one of the more laid back organizations.  Some programs don’t allow cell phones in the clubhouse.  Several orgs also make the players wear baseball pants whenever on the field.  The only time we have to wear baseball pants is for game time.  It makes all the early work much more bearable, especially when it’s hot! Right about game time is when my day changes.  Three out of the five days, I am in the stands running the video, velocity chart, or pitching chart.  The day before I pitch, I am allowed in the dugout to do the spray chart.  The spray chart is just marking down where the other team hits balls and what pitches they were.  Ok…maybe a little more detailed, but you get the gist.  And finally on day 5, I am able to pitch.  Unfortunately, I am on a 30-40 pitch count or two innings for the entire year because of the number of innings I threw this year in school.  And now the crazy part!  After I pitch, I am allowed to go to the clubhouse to do my arm care stuff.  I don’t even have to go back into the dugout!  That has been the weirdest part of minor league baseball to me.  I can’t even imagine how different my career at South Carolina would have been if I weren’t in the dugout!  No screwing around or dancing! After the game, we usually have a post-game spread of some sort.  Subs, burgers, Panda Express, etc.  It’s a mad rush to get to the meal table after the post-game meeting! Then, we head home.  If we are on the road, we stop to eat and hang out for a bit before returning to our hotel rooms, but at home we head back to our host family’s place to help save money.  So that’s it.  That’s my typical day.  Nothing too crazy or exciting.  Obviously, some days are more fun than others.  The tough days are the days after riding on a bus through the night and the REALLY fun days are paydays!!! Haha.

Through all of your comments, I have noticed a lot of questions, so I’ll do some Q and A in the next post.  All previous questions from other posts will be considered.  Here is your chance to ask anything and everything (well, almost).

The WBC

Recently, I was contacted by the British Baseball Federation, asking me to participate in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Regensburg, Germany from September 20-24 this year.  I am able to play for Great Britain thanks to my wonderful English mother.  (She reads this blog!)  My mother was born in Kettering, England and moved to the US when she was 12 years old.  Not only did I gain most of my smarts from my mother (or was it my smart mouth?), but I am also a dual citizen because of her.  This is an incredible opportunity to represent my heritage and see another part of the world.  And, it ties in well with the International part of my degree!  I am very honored to have even been considered for this opportunity and am hopeful I will be able to compete.  You may be asking why it is not a definite yes since the Owlz season would be over.  Well, like many contracts, when you sign a Minor League Baseball contract, you have, in essence, signed your life away.  I must gain approval from the Angels in order to compete in the WBC Qualifier.  I am on a very limited pitch count (due to the number of innings I threw in college this year), so I don’t know that they will grant me permission.  Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those circumstances where I can do it now and ask for forgiveness later (didn’t you teach me that, Mom?).  Nevertheless, I thought this was quite a unique experience, and I wanted to share.

For those of you who don’t know what the World Baseball Classic is, it is essentially the FIFA World Cup of baseball.  Best way to describe it.  Just not as big.  When baseball was part of the Olympics, only college and some Minor League players would play as the timing of the Olympics conflicted with the MLB season and other professional leagues around the world.  The first WBC was in 2006, the next in 2009.  It was then decided that it should be repeated every four years. (not sure where they got four years from???)  Thus, the next WBC is in March of 2013.

If you so desire, you can find more information at www.worldbaseballclassic.com .  Website is a bit lacking though so you may just want to Google it or hit up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Baseball_Classic.

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!

Road Trip!

After a quick three days in Orem, Utah, we hit the road on our off day for an 8 day road trip to Billings, Montana. Yes, the very first off day that the team had after 19 straight games (something like that), we were going to be on a bus all day long. Imagine our excitement. We left at 9am and immediately pulled into a Wal Mart (Stop #1). Apparently this was the time to get all the items we might need for the trip. We hit the road again and after a quick hour drive we stopped (Stop #2) in Park City, Utah, which is right outside of Salt Lake City. I found it to be quite ironic that we were stopping here because the day before we left, I was talking with a friend back home and she asked if had been to Park City yet. At that time, my response was “Uhhhh no.” not having a clue what was significant about it. Well, let me fill you in. Park City is where the Winter Olympic Park was built for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The Olympic Park had all the crazy ski jumps, the long jumps, luge and even the bobsledding tracks open. Basically, after the Olympics they transformed the park into a tourist attraction and a training ground. They had a long zip line down the mountain which our entire team signed up for. It was a whole day’s pay so we were expecting something big!

Ski jumps. Also the top of the mountain that we zip lined down.

We enjoyed our time at the Winter Olympic Park for the first 45 minutes we were there. The next hour is when the problem came. As our entire team is walking towards the parking lot to find the bus, we realize that the massive white thing isn’t there. Nor is it anywhere to be seen! (And we were standing on a pretty large mountain.) So our second stop took an hour longer than planned, and we still had to stop for lunch in Park City. We stop for lunch (Stop #3), and then hit the road again. But wait! We had to stop again (Stop #4) in SLC in order to switch bus drivers. And it wasn’t because our coach ripped him a new one for disappearing on us. Let me remind you, SLC is only about an hour outside of Orem, and it was already 2pm! Well, we hit the road again, and this time for good. That is, of course, until dinner rolls around. We stopped (Stop #5) for dinner. After a nice meal, we continue on our drive that takes us by Yellowstone National Park and into the Big Sky State. This was the best part of the trip. We were literally on a two lane road driving through the valley of the mountains. It was absolutely gorgeous. And remote. So remote, in fact, that we had no cell phone service. FOR 2 HOURS!!! We’ve all seen those Verizon commercials that have the map of the US with all of the red marking their coverage. I spent two hours of my life in one of those tiny little white spots! Oh well, I guess time away from twitter has never hurt anyone. It was absolutely gorgeous though. Imagine how the pictures would have come out if I wasn’t in a vehicle traveling over 60 mphs and behind a very cruddy window. Still awesome though.

Passing by Yellowstone

Those of you who thought we would make it a straight shot to Billings after dinner are wrong. We stopped AGAIN (Stop #6) to get snacks. These stops wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t always make you spend money. I mean, you almost feel bad if you don’t go in and get a water or a chocolate milk. And then you see everyone get on the bus with Beef Jerky or some M&Ms and the cravings start to kick in. So after spending half of my entire trip’s meal money in one day, we continued on to Billings finally to arrive around 1am. Only the Orem Owlz could manage to turn a 10 hour drive into a 16 hour trip. The only consolation was that we were staying in a Crowne Plaza.

Livin’ the Dream

When I first signed my contract for the Angels, I was relieved.  Relieved to know what sort of path lay ahead of me.  There is always a level of discomfort when uncertainty lies ahead, but once I inked the contract, I knew that, at least for the foreseeable future, I would continue to wear spikes and baseball pants, rather than a suit and tie. I would be able to “live the dream,” as they say. I was excited to embark on a new adventure, meet new people, explore new places, and heck, maybe pitch my way to the big leagues soon!

I flew out of Greenville/Spartanburg Airport at 6:30 am EST.  I felt big-time.  The Angels had arranged my flight, and I just had to follow the itinerary.  Quickly after boarding the first plane, I realized I wasn’t so big-time after all.  If I was, I would have had a First Class seat next to the gorgeous brunette I was forced to pass by as I maneuvered to coach.  After crying myself to sleep for the quick two and half hour flight (because I had to pass the brunette, not because I was leaving home), I stepped foot in Texas for the first time, in Dallas Fort Worth Airport.  I swear when I got off the plane, I immediately smelled southwest food.  It wasn’t like I expected Texas to smell like a Moe’s so there were no mind tricks going on.  Maybe Moe’s just smells like Texas.  One will never know.

I have always found flying solo to be quite enjoyable.  Something about having the time to yourself with absolutely no one to bother you is relaxing (I do exclude text messages and twitter from this statement though).  I grabbed a big breakfast before boarding my plane to Salt Lake City, Utah, and I spent some time people-watching.  I’m talking about the people-watching that only airports can offer.  Seriously, what other gathering spot has a better array of people?  NOWHERE!!!  Anyways, boarding my plane to SLC is when I definitely realized I had reached the lowest of the low!  Not only had I not been placed in first class, but I was in a window seat!  Not just any window seat, but a window seat three deep!  Ok, maybe not the lowest of the low .  I could have been stuck in the middle seat where my buddy, Bob, sat.  I call him my buddy because he wouldn’t stop talking to me during the flight.  I don’t mean that in a rude way at all, it’s just that he had a nasty Boston accent (offense, guys.  offense).  Bob broke the ice by asking me if  I played a little ball.  Now you may think, “Wow, this guy Bob sure was perceptive; however, I’m pretty sure it was the glove I was carrying that may have given it away.

My Glove

I explained to him that I had just signed with the Angels, and blah, blah, blah.  Because my mom taught me manners, I asked him where he was headed.  He was going somewhere right outside of SLC to be a caddy for some friend of his in a golf tournament.  Seeing as I MUST have an interest in golf now, we briefly talked about the mental side of the game.  Being a pitcher, I need to get my golf game up.  Finally, I got him to put on his headphones, and I was able to look out the window and noticed the landscape.  It was strange.  I remember looking out the window for at least 15 minutes and didn’t see a single sign of life (meaning human life, as in houses, cars, Wal-Marts).  Fast forward to reaching the Utah valley and flying into SLC.  We banked right over the Great Salt Lake, which didn’t look very great to me.  It looked gross, and the water literally did not move.  It was like a massive puddle.  Getting off the plane and heading to pick up my luggage, I rode the escalator down towards where families and friends wait along with the creepy guys holding up names.  Of course, my name was NOT on the list.  Because I was so big-time, I was forced to wait on my luggage alone and then headed to the Express Shuttle to order my ride to Orem.  I hopped into the minivan, ready for the last leg of my journey.  Luckily, I was able to spread out since I was, again, alone in the van.  As talkative as Bob was on the flight, Joe, the express shuttle driver, was the exact opposite.  After the silent 45 minute ride to Orem,  I was dropped off at the baseball field – home of the Orem Owlz and Utah Valley University – at 1PM MT.

Good thing the 9 hours of travel was somewhat relaxing because the rest of my first day as as “pro” was a cluster.  I was thrown into the fire.  I filled out paperwork for insurance, taxes, paychecks (didn’t mind filling that one out), medical junk, radio broadcasts, pitching information, and even more medical junk.  Luckily, I write with my right hand or I wouldn’t have been able to throw that day.  I had to shuffle through the leftover pants in hopes of finding the size that fit me best.  It didn’t happen.  Then, slowly, some of the guys started to come into the clubhouse, and I met person after person…too many to really remember anyone.  Finally, the madness broke when I was able to go on the field and go through the stretching routine with the pitchers and catchers.  Afterwards, I met the manager and proceeded to get a physical and a concussion test (I still wonder how many of the guys on the team actually passed the concussion test because it was not easy).  As if my day wasn’t crazy enough, a bomb was dropped on me.  I would be charting pitches in the stands for the night. And, the next night.  And, then, I would be able to dress…but I had to chart from the dugout!  After four years of avoiding pitching & hitting charts, I would be forced to do them 3 games out of 5!  I sure hoped I was living a dream.

Game 1

First game I was allowed to dress out. With Jarrod Parks @jeparks9 from Mississippi State.