Hello again. It has been an eventful week since I last checked in. I’ve had two good outings and most importantly I’ve started to feel like I’m throwing the ball the way I am capable of throwing it. It finally feels fluid and natural, whereas for about the first month of the season I felt like I was fighting myself physically on the mound. It was just a matter of time and work, but nice to have that behind me (hopefully). As a team we just wrapped up an eight day road trip to Altoona, PA and Trenton, NJ. We took four of five games from Altoona and had the interesting experience of having one of my roommates (Randy Newsom) get traded to the Pirates, who assigned him to…the Altoona Curve. So he pitched for us one night and against us the next night, which was different to say the least. The Trenton series was a pretty non-descript series overall…except that another of my roommates (Jeanmar Gomez) threw the first nine inning perfect game in the Eastern League since 1943. I threw the last three innings of a combined no-hitter with Hector Rondon in 2007 and that was an amazing feeling, so I can’t imagine how great it must feel to not only take it another notch up the ladder to a perfect game but also to go the distance yourself. It was an awesome game to watch and couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
The time away from the field on this road trip was not anything to write home about. There wasn’t anything of note within walking distance of the hotel either in Altoona or Trenton. Well, Altoona did have a Target and Walmart so I guess that was pretty cool. Trenton was fairly disappointing, because despite being right downtown there really wasn’t much there at all outside of some hole in the wall shops and restaurants that all battened down the hatches against what appeared to be the coming apocalypse at 7 p.m. (it was kind of scary after dark). I did find a used book store in Trenton about half a block from the hotel, which for me is kind of like winning a small lottery jackpot. I love used book stores because they each have a completely different inventory and I can always find either a new book I’ve wanted to read for super cheap or just a random book that I figure I might as well buy and look through because it’s $1. However, after about an hour of rummaging through old books and grabbing four or five books I happened to glance at the prices and realized that clearly this particular establishment did not understand that the idea of a used book store is not to find a bunch of cheap books and then mark them up to the original sale price. So bottom line on this trip was that I had a lot of sitting around time and read, which I did a lot of and I managed to finish off The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine, Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris, and Dogs of God by James Reston, as well as putting a dent in Against the Machine by Lee Siegel. All very good books and a hats off to teammate Ryan Edell for recommending Dogs of God, a very insightful history of the Spanish inquisition and the extermination of the Moors that I would highly recommend to anyone and everyone. Anyhow, if I get going on literature I probably won’t be able to stop myself so I’ll call that enough for now and I’ll be back with more in the upcoming days.