Sunday, July 12, 2009

Living the dream!

Well, alas I can say I'm living the dream once again. I received a text message last Thursday night from my friend on the Long Beach Armada, Sean Buller, asking me where I was, to which I replied "At home. Why?" He texted back saying one of the outfielders, J.J. Sherrill, just went down with a hamstring injury and that he would talk to the coach and let me know if they wanted to sign me. To my suprise I received a phone call from Sean about an hour or so later. He asked me, "What are you doing tomorrow? Do you think you'd have time to come down and sign a contract?" As soon as I heard him say that my face lit up with a smile from ear to ear. Of course I would have time! I was partly shocked and relieved, but mostly excited. I was shocked because I was starting to think that me signing with a team wouldn't actually happen. To my suprise though it did. All the contacts I had made and people I tried to get hooked up with hadn't come through but this time it actually happened. I was even happier to know that I was joining the team I had gone to spring training with and actually knew everybody on the team. It seemed like everybody on the team was really happy to have me back, so to speak. They'd been telling me about how they missed my bat in the lineup. It was good to hear the positive feedback from everybody and to know that they all really cared about me.

I sat out the first day I came in just to get myself adjusted and settled in and then I was in the lineup the next night against the Tucson Toros. I made my debut in right field Friday night and was hitting 6th in the lineup. In my first professional at-bat I sliced a ball between the first and second basemen for a base hit. I couldn't believe it. My first hit as a professional in my first at-bat. I had visions of hitting a home run, like any other player would, but hey, a single is just as good in my book. It was kind of reminiscent of my college days. I got a base hit in my one and only collegiate at-bat. Here I was standing on first base after my first hit. I felt a sense of relief as well as a sense of confidence; to know that I can actually make this transition from pitcher to outfielder.

A little off the topic, but I just read an article about a guy I know who pitched for the Rockies named Scott Beerer. He ended his pitching career in 2006 and was out of baseball as far as I knew. I was surfing around Minor League Baseball's website,, and saw an article featuring Scott Beerer with a picture of him pitching and hitting. Apparently he's made the transition and is hitting the crap out of the ball. He was sent to Short-Season A ball with the Tri-City Dust Devils (Rockies minor league affiliate) and hit .558 in 43 at-bats. It made me realize that this really is possible. He's 27 years old albeit, but he's doing what I'm doing. He was a two way player in college and chose pitching because he thought that's where he'd have the most success. It just goes to show that it can be done and it's an inspirational story as well.

So after my first hit I was really excited but settled in as the game went on. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I was going to be during my first at-bat, but the nerves were definitely there. I almost hit a home run in my second at-bat, but fell just short and lined out to the center fielder on the warning track. I finished the night 1 for 4 with a single and 2 runs scored. Not bad for a debut I don't think. Last night (July 11th) I went 0 for 4 with 2 Ks, a groundout and a fly out. I was a little frustrated but figured out what I was doing wrong and corrected it today. I felt pretty good going into the game today knowing what I had to do at the plate, which was to just relax. Tempe (our manager Gary Templeton) told me last night as he was leaving the clubhouse, "Good hitters are slow and bad hitters are fast." He meant that good hitters slow everything down and see the ball and react. In 2 of my at-bats last night I felt like I was pressing and really anxious, which showed. Everything in my swing was rushed and just didn't feel right, so I took that attitude into the game today and tried to relax at the plate and see the pitch. My first AB went alright. I fouled off two pitches that were right there and just missed them but ended up striking out on a 2-2 fastball inside. My next AB I was a little more aggresive and swung at the first pitch but missed. The second pitch came in and I sure as hell didn't plan on missing it. I hit a line drive into left field for a single and was back on track and feeling good. My third AB of the night went horribly. I took the first two pitches for strikes and swung at an 0-2 slider inside for strike three. I was visibly upset and frustrated on the inside. I just have to realize that it's only going to be a matter of time before I get adjusted to hitting professionally. I'll get my timing down and be able to adjust the more ABs I get, so I'm not worried. I just get frustrated sometimes when I miss pitches I know I should hit, but hey, that's baseball. My last AB of the night came in the bottom of the 8th inning with two outs and us trailing by 3 runs. I worked the count to 2-1 and then it happened. I saw a fastball about chest high and swung at it. By the feel of it I knew I had put a good swing on it and hit it hard. The ball shot off my bat into the evening sky headed for left-center field. I knew I had hit it hard but didn't know if I had hit it hard enough to go out. I thought maybe it would land at the warning track because I hit it too high. To my delightful suprise just before I rounded second base I saw it go over the wall for my first professional home run. I gave a small fist pump as I rounded second base and a shot of adrenaline ran throughout my entire body giving me the chills. I had done it. I'd hit a home run in a professional game. I was so happy and excited inside, yet calm and cool on the outside. I was greeted by my teammates in the dugout with cheers, high fives, and fist pumps. It was such an exciting moment for me and one that I'll never forget. It was the culmination of all my hard work from the past year of making the transition. I knew I had it in me but it feels good to actually see it happen and know that I can hit and can make this transition. We ended up losing the game 4-2, but it won't be a game I'll soon forget.


  1. good hitters are not only slow but have short memories after rough AB's. looks like you're working nicely at both...and, for the record, they should have big leagued you back in the dugout. weak effort out them.

  2. and thanks for taking the word verification off this thing.

  3. I totally thought they were going to big league me. I was actually expecting it. I would've played it off though. I would've given air high fives and pretended like they cared. haha. No problem about the word verification.

  4. my one and only HR in the northwoods league (aka my college career), my teammates did that to me...pretty funny. congrats man, and keep raking!