Hello again out there. Sorry for being a bit over a week between posts, but I no longer have internet access in my apartment so I had to find a convenient time to stop off at the library and write. The major development since my last post is the ending of the regular season. It is hard to believe but after 142 games the regular season is over and it is finally time for the playoffs. As a team we had an outstanding year. We spent a grand total of zero games at or below .500 and were in first place in our division for every day of the season. Our team also produced the Eastern League’s Player of the Year (Carlos Santana), Pitcher Player of the Year (Jeanmar Gomez) and Manager Player of the Year (Mike Sarbaugh) in addition to excellent performances by several other players. Heck, our closer Vinnie Pestano was only a save or two behind the league lead and he didn’t play at all after being shut down in early July with an “upper extremity” injury. Personally, I ended the season on a roll that pulled my overall numbers from mediocre at the all-star break to pretty good by season’s end, and I managed to just sneak in under the 3.00 ERA mark so I’d have to consider it a successful season. My long string of good performance was almost marred by a poor outing to end the season, but I managed to minimize the damage, keep my overall numbers in a satisfactory range, and end the season on a positive note. None of those numbers matter anymore, however, as it is now playoff time and the only numbers that matter are the numbers on the scoreboard at the end of the game. We open up the playoffs at home against the Reading Phillies with high hopes. We played well all season and ended the season with eight straight wins so hopefully we can carry that momentum into the playoffs against a tough Reading team. Stay tuned for those results.
Away from the field most of my focus of late (other than this past weekend when my girlfriend was in town) has been on cleaning and packing up my apartment so that whenever our playoff run ends I can throw all my stuff in my car and leave at a moment’s notice. This is genuinely one of the worst parts of being a minor league baseball player. The awful bus travel, getting paid like an unpaid summer intern, crappy hotels, distance from family…the hassle of moving out at the end of the season is right up there with all of that. The reason being that as players we are entirely responsible for setting up our own housing so despite the fact that we are setting up what amounts to temporary housing in our minds we still have to set everything up as though it were our permanent residence. Throw in the facts that guys move around during the course of the year and that we don’t know our move-out date because we are in the playoffs and it is a major headache. Our cable and gas bills are set up through players who are no longer in Akron and getting a final walk through on our apartment will be impossible so we will be at the mercy of the complex management on the final condition of our apartment. Fun times for all, capped off by long drives for most of us. Aside from dealing with the annoyance that is our apartment situation I have been doing my typical reading, painting and exploring the area on foot when I get the chance. On the heels of the sale of my first painting I decided to go back to the well again so I am working on selling another recently completed piece, again of what I would consider to be dubious workmanship but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. On the reading front I recently polished off Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick and I’m currently working on Richard Wright’s masterpiece Native Son. I meant to read Native Son a few years ago when I went on an African-American literature kick over the winter, but I am just now getting around to reading it and I have been totally absorbed since the moment I picked it up. Well, I should really get back to packing and cleaning before I head to the field. Look for updates on the playoffs as they unfold and until next time, enjoy this poem.
By Anne Pierson Wiese
There are many people who spend their nights
on the subway trains. Often one encounters
them on the morning commute, settled int corners,
coats over their heads, ragged possessions heaped
around themselves, trying to remain in their own night.
This man was already up, bracing himself against
the motion of the train as he folded his blanket
the way my mother taught me, and donned his antique blazer,
his elderly sleep-soft eyes checking for the total effect.
Whoever you are–tell me what unforgiving series
of moments has added up to this one: a man
making himself presentable to the world in front
of the world, as if life has revealed to him the secret
that all our secrets from one another are imaginary.
Hello again. Sorry for the long interval since I last posted, but with the end of the season looming and the playoffs to follow shortly after that there should be no lack for blog fodder in the immediate future. Since I last checked in things have been rather annoyingly consistent. We won two games against Bowie (the third being postponed) and then began the many varieties of the same thing. A four game split against Erie, a four game split with Bowie and losing two of three games to Binghamton with one game left to keep up our roll of splits. Over the last month we have split all of our four game series and alternated 2-1 series wins and losses the rest of the time. Like I said: annoyingly consistent. Having said all that, however, our series at Bowie ended in our clinching a playoff spot and the ensuing celebration is the type of thing that every professional athlete should get to experience at least once. I also have continued to throw the ball well and have picked up a couple saves and haven’t given up any runs since my last post over five or so appearances, which is an encouraging sign.
Off the field I haven’t had a whole lot to report. As usual I have been doing a lot of reading. I recently finished off a few books of poetry, Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones, Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick and I am almost through Hot, Flat and Crowded by (Minnesota native) Thomas L. Friedman. Probably the most interesting of my recent experiences came after a day game when I decided to take a walk down by the Cuyahoga River. Being around sunset there were the usual deer, raccoons and other various small mammals running around, but what was somewhat surprising to me was seeing a couple of river otters romping around and having a gay old time. I had been under the impression that river otters were extinct in this area of the country but turns out they were reintroduced at different points over the last twenty-five or so years and now they live on many Ohio rivers. I just thought it was cool because I’d never seen them outside of a zoo. Much less exciting was walking between two trees and getting a sizable spider web to the face about twenty minutes later. No worries about the spider though, as it apparently managed to bite me on the calf before I shooed it away. Can’t really blame it I guess. Anyhow, I’ll make sure to check back in again sometime in the near future and keep you updated on the playoffs, but until then I leave you with a Czeslaw Milosz poem (by request, even though I find a lot of his stuff overrated I do like some of his more recent work). Until next time.
by Czeslaw Milosz
When the sun rises
it illuminates stupidity and guilt
which are hidden in the nooks of memory
and invisible at noon.
Here walks a many-tiered man.
On his upper floors a morning crispness
and underneath, dark chambers
which are frightening to enter.
He asks forgiveness
from the spirits of the absent ones
who twitter far below
at the tables of buried cafes.
What does that man do?
He is frightened of a verdict,
now, for instance,
or after his death.