Monday, April 28, 2014

Two for the price of one

Part 1 of 2.....

Good evening. It's Saturday night.....the team is in the second of two games in Minnesota. The league moved Sunday's game to tonight since the tomorrow there is rain in the forecast. And the sentence to use to describe the team is 'woe is me....'

.....last night, they lost 1-2....then the first of today's game was close but they did not score....

As I sit and listen, I can't help but wonder what the team would have been like if the coaches had decided to like the big lefty rather than banish him to the bench to breathe....

And so, here I am writing and listening....the score after 1 inning is 0-7. Sheesh....need a new Sunday pitcher, 'cause the poor freshman that they started is having a hard time....Now he is out and the old Sunday pitcher is in.....Yikes...not good....score is now 0-10. They can still win, they just have to score 11 runs and shut down the offense......OK, former Sunday starter is now being pulled....

Ut Oh....they have a leftie on the mound. Uh's the big kid, now called the surgeon in to stop the bleeding....guess what....he does.....K, pop up, hit, double play....K...huh? He's being pulled for another freshman.....whack! Home run.....

Now do you believe me? There is no rhyme nor reason to the selection of pitchers except the mantra 'do not put the big guy with the great stuff on the mound because he thinks that he knows more than us'....

Part 2

Written on the airplane yesterday

Good morning….returning home after a few days of southern exposure…time to get back to work. The nice part of travel is seeing the newness of places. I felt the gentle southern breezes and the watched the most amazing sunsets. Although during my Ohio travels, I did question my sanity. But I discovered that my philosophy on being supportive to people that you love means that you do things for them that seem out of the norm. Yet, there was never a doubt in my mind that I would not be at that game. This is what a person does who loves another. And naturally, I love my kids more than the gas mileage on my car....That’s it. Although dad did say to me: “I guess that I cannot talk you out of this, right?” Yep, no one could have talked me out of it.

And now, things have shifted in the big kid’s life. As you know, he keeps a journal and sends excerpts to me. First, he has evolved as a writer. I thank the university and my tuition dollars for this phenomenon. With permission, I put his freshman and sophomore papers on the overhead projector to show the class how to edit. Often, the students would look at my quizzically, the same way I used to look when I read his papers, and I would then share the newer, more improved academic writing skills that he developed. In a way, there is always hope….Fade to black… first essay in college was about a person that we admired. I wrote about the first doctor to perform a heart transplant. When the paper was returned to me, I did not receive an A, B, C, D or even F. 

Nope, I got an “X”. A big, ole X was placed across my paper as I stared at the two page narrative that took me three days to write. By the way, the X was not small. Nope, she took a bold red Flair pen and made sure that I did not miss the grade as the X was the size of my 8.5 X 11” paper.  Now, this was humiliating…..Quickly, I hid the paper in my portfolio and sighed….maybe I could hold up the road signs for construction companies if this college thing did not work out. I heard that the pay was pretty good.

Enough about my idiot college years…..with the success that the kid has had on the mound, more people seek him out and chat with him. He doesn’t understand it because he is the same guy who was sitting on the bench two weeks ago breathing. He must have had the greatest oxygenation level in the stadium…Anyway, he does not trust many people for a number of reasons. For example, a girl who attended high school with him suddenly began to text him and asked him to a party. His response was…she didn’t care about me in high school, why now? 

There are additional perks to his sudden rise off the bench. He hangs out with the starters now. Yes, that is what I said….the A squad. I am fairly confident that his bullpen cleaning days are over….at least while he is throwing heat.

As we spoke a number of times this weekend, he did not expect to pitch after throwing 91 pitches on Tuesday. Although, not expecting it, he was thrown into last night’s debacle of a game. By the second inning, the score was 0-7. The coach started a freshman and things got ugly quickly. Then he went to last week’s Sunday starter and it got uglier…..then…out of the blue….I am sitting on the bed listening to the game and the announcer says: “Another pitcher is heading to the bullpen….gee, it looks like….didn’t he just throw 91 pitches on Tuesday?”  Uh huh….into the game, he ran and as I had predicted on a number of occasions….he stopped the hemorrhage. No one scored….one bloop hit…a double play….an error…..then after facing 5 batters over 2 innings, he was pulled for another freshman who immediately gave up a home run. The team made this conference rival look like the Yankees. By the way, the Czar’s team scored 1 run in three games. I don’t know about you, but I have a suspicion that the pitching was not the issue during this series.

One last note on this past weekend…..the kid has been banned from doing the pitching doctor’s program, yet he said ‘screw it’ and under the cover of darkness has been using the weighted balls and apparatus to strengthen the arm and keep it limber. On Friday night, he took his equipment to the 16th floor stairwell of the hotel and worked out on the concrete landing. He figured none of the coaches were in shape enough to climb 16 flights of stairs so he would be safe.

What does all of this mean? Well, I think that if he does not make his goals, it is going to be on his own terms. He can’t sit back idly and work with the trainers knowing that  their program is flawed. So, he hides his work outs. When it rains, he puts his mattress over the window in his apartment and throws the weighted balls into the mattress. He is obsessed with the program and has seen tremendous results. The fact that the coaches are immune to the science of arm care and velocity is beyond his comprehension but as Big Girl says: “If they say ‘jump’, you say ‘how high?’” Don’t forget they are in charge.

Is all of this sneaking around worth it? In a word….Yes. He is limber, quicker to recover after pitching, and has better command. While he remains at this school, he is under their command….but once he is on his own this summer in the Midwest, he is going to blossom. It will be his own program without Psycho interrupting it. By the way, I still recall when the Psycho told the kid that he should go home, break a mirror, do the world a favor and slit his wrists. Now, that is one damaged man…..

OK, I have to run to the Y and hit a few work related meetings. 


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