Hello again. I must apologize for not posting an entry or two during the previous home stand as promised. The best laid plans of mice and men… Anyhow, we had a productive home stand with four wins, a loss and a rain out. Not a lot of drama involved in the games and my own performance was somewhat up and down in my two appearances, but we are back out on the road playing the same two teams (New Hampshire and Portland) that we just played at home so I should have ample opportunity for improved performance on the second go-round. Most notably, however, this trip entailed a bus ride from hell stretching from Sunday night into Monday morning. I got on the bus at about 5:30pm on Sunday and by the time I exited on Monday morning it was just after 7am, I had exhausted the batteries on my computer, mp3 player, and cell phone, finished the book I had counted on to last most of the ride (Matt McCarthy’s Odd Man Out, which I would recommend to all fans who have an interest in minor league baseball) and quite probably developed scoliosis from trying to sleep on the bus.
While we were on the field playing and on the bus developing motion sickness, the eyes of many in the baseball community were turned to front offices around the league as Major League Baseball conducted its annual draft. While the focus of fans and media drifts to and lingers on the high-round, big money picks the draft experience tends to be vastly different for most young major league hopefuls. Most of us don’t have Scott “Terrible for Baseball” Boras as our agent, we don’t sign million dollar contracts and we tend not to get tagged with big league ETA’s. For example, among the four guys living in my apartment at the start of the year in Akron, three of us had made minor league all-star teams, three had been to the Arizona Fall League, two had spent time in AAA… and only one of us was even drafted. My own draft day experience actually spanned two days and was ultimately pretty disappointing. I had a great 2004 season at North Dakota State as part of a team that won our conference for the first time in a couple decades but a knee injury, turnover on the coaching staff, a transition to D-I and inconsistent performance on my part resulted in an ugly 8.07 ERA in the crucial 2005 season leading up to the draft. I had still occasionally flashed good velocity and had good showings at a few pre-draft workouts so I still had high hopes for draft day. I watched the first day’s picks happening live over the internet, but when the picks stopped after seventeen rounds I still hadn’t heard my name called. I finally got a call from Les Pajari, a scout for the Cleveland Indians, the next day on my way to play a game for the Mankato MoonDogs in a collegiate summer league. The Indians had selected me in the 21st round, 634th overall and they didn’t even want to sign me, at least not immediately. They felt they needed to see me play over the summer before they could decide if it was worth their time, effort and money to sign me. I did finally sign and the rest, as they say, is history but it was a definitively less glamorous process than I had originally envisioned for myself. Well, that is about all I have for now, so I hope you enjoyed it and as always the poem accompanying this entry.
A Map of the City
By Thom Gunn
I stand upon a hill and see
A luminous country under me,
Through which at two the drunk sailor must weave;
The transient’s pause, the sailor’s leave.
I notice, looking down the hill,
Arms braced upon a window sill;
And on the web of fire escapes
Move the potential, the grey shapes.
I hold the city here, complete;
And every shape defined by light
Is mine, or corresponds to mine,
Some flickering or some steady shine.
This map is ground of my delight.
Between the limits, night by night,
I watch a malady’s advance,
I recognize my love of chance.
By the recurrent lights I see
The crowded, broken, and unfinished!
I would not have the risk diminished.