Monday, June 28, 2010

Karma

Karma is most certainly a bitch, especially when it isn't even your karma that you have to pay for. So, the last two days we were playing in Jamestown, NY and all I could hear was players, coaches, and staff members bitch about how bad EVERYTHING in Jamestown is. "The clubhouse is so small and dirty" "the dugouts are tiny and I almost hit my head on the top""the field is in bad condition""the people here in Jamestown are so weird""Jamestown sucks"....And on and on, it wouldn't stop. And to be honest, ya it wasn't the nicest place to play in the world , but I didn't think it was all that bad. Uncomfortable, yes, but not to the point to where it had to be the theme of the weekend. Even our manager, the field general, the one who is supposed to be the calm operator of the whole team told me, "Pettis, this is the second worst place that you will ever play in your whole career." I'd hate to see the worst.......

Our bitching didn't go unnoticed, the baseball gods were listening. They said, oh you think this is bad, we'll show you bad. So, to pay for our piss poor attitude as a team, we were given the trip back home from hell. About 30 minutes into our 3 and a half hour ride back home, we pull to the side of the road. And I think to myself this can't be good. After a long, suspenseful pause, one of our coaches stands up and tells us that it will be three hours until a new bus can come to pick us up to go another 3 hours. To make things worse, I had a seat-partner on the bus for the first time since I've been out here. So, for the next 6 hours I was cramped in the corner of a freezing cold bus, trying to get comfortable to sleep off the time (I only actually got an hour of sleep) and half watching the movies that were on half listening to music half annoyed and half pissed off. We got back to the field at 5 am after a 5 pm game (which we lost) that was rain shortened. 12 hours of karma courtesy of the baseball gods...

Here are some pictures I took on my run Saturday in Jamestown...


A nearby park


So old that the streets are made of brick



A typical Jamestown house



A distant view of the field (you can barely see it left of the trees)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Circle of Life.....as a Starter

So, yesterday was my second start....But before I comment on that I want to take you through the 5 day schedule of a starter.

Day 1: The day after your start is the most important one in the recovery process. This day consists of a 25-30 minute run to flush out all the soreness in your arm. In college, this is a day to rest your arm, but in pro ball you only have 4 days to recover so long toss is in order. Then, during batting practice, you are on pig tail (the guy who picks up all the ball that the shaggers throw in). Also, during BP the pitching coach will usually stand with you to go over your outing and talk about things you did well and things you can do better next time. Your work is done well before the game starts and during the game you're usually just trying to keep your eyes open.

Day 2: The second day is your day for adjustments. The running is a little less strenuous, 10 three-quarter poles (which is really pretty easy). Long toss again, and then you throw a bullpen. This bullpen is crucial because, unlike in college where you have 2 bullpens a week, a 5 day rotation only allows for one bullpen. So, make sure to make your adjustments today or you can create bad habits in a hurry. Once again, your work is done before the game begins.

Day 3: This is the lightest day for a starting pitcher. Running is quick and painless, 8 half poles and 2 sets of pickups. Long toss again (the Phillies believe in long toss everyday) but you can temper your effort based on how good your arm feels that day. But, on day 3 you are not only a baseball player, you are also a scout. During the game, the two days before you pitch you have to watch the game from the stands and chart. On this day you get the velocity chart and the radar gun (by far the easier of the two charts). I actually really enjoy getting to see the game from this perspective. Its hard to get the whole picture from the dugout, but from this view you get to see it all.

  My view from our home stands on Wednesday 

The velocity chart



Day 4: The day before your start. Once again easy running, just 9 sprints. Long toss and some flat ground to spin your pitches. And another day of scouting. This time you get the difficult task of recording every pitching stat that you can think of. Not as fun to watch the game with this chart in your hands. Although the second time I did it was much easier than the first, so maybe there is just a little learning curve.

My view at Auburn 


The game chart



Day 5: Your start day! 

So.....yesterday I felt a lot better with my performance than the last game. I made a couple of bad pitches that hurt me but other than that I felt like I executed a lot better. I did a good job of pitching out of jams and preventing the other team from getting many extra opportunities. While I will never be completely satisfied with an outing, especially one in which I give up a run, I feel that the progress I made from the last start to this one is promising. If I can continue to improve and execute the way that I did yesterday I think I will be very successful. 


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Smiles Everyone

So this is just a little view of one of the characters that we encounter on an everyday basis in Williamsport. This is Rhashan, the self-entitled Director of Smiles, before our last road trip to State College. We couldn't start the trip before one last cheer....Enjoy




....and here is his official Bobble-head doll


Back on the Saddle

Well, I haven't been able to post in a while because as you can imagine the wireless internet situation in humble Williamsport, PA is less than up to my yuppie Southern Californian standards. So, today in order to post I have propped open the basement door with a folding chair and the screen door with a rocking chair, all in order to steal wireless internet from the next door neighbor. Thank you USR8054, whoever you are.

So the past few days have been very very long but things are starting to feel normal. I've settled down with my host family Fran and Don Pfaff. It's a pretty good set up. Jeff and I have the basement to ourselves, complete with living room, bathroom, refrigerator, and bedroom. I am getting more comfortable with my teammates, and even starting to communicate with some of the Latin guys. And our team is, dare I say, pretty good. We started out winning the first three games and things looked pretty easy for us. We lost last night but I think that is probably just a blip on the radar. Our team is FAST. We beat out infield singles, run balls down in the field, and are overall just a fun group to watch. Now, by no means are these guys polished, and to be quite honest thats what I expected from this level. But you can see the talent....

Oh ya, almost forgot. I started my first game this week. I felt awful, but the results were good. There is no doubt in my mind that if I stay healthy I will do just fine in this league. The balls we use here have smaller seams and the fastball moves so much. It took me a few innings to get used to the extra movement. So, while I was making my adjustment I was a bit sloppy and not really pitching the style of ball I like. But, the last two innings were really good and have my confidence high for the next outing. It's really easy to keep working hard when you get good results like I did my first time out. I'm excited to get out there everyday and try to get better...

So here is what a standard day looks like for me....(except for the 2 days a week that we have to workout @ 930)

Wake up @1030 or 11
Shower and eat
Get to the field @1
Do arm exercises, get stretched out
Pitchers stretch @245
Conditioning then long toss
Everyone stretch @330
Fundamentals @350
Batting Practice @4
Rest in the Clubhouse from 5-630
Game from 7-10
Home by 1030
Sleep @ 1230 or 1 then all again the next day

Thats about all for now.... Here are some pictures from the past week


Our Bedroom





My Bed


State College's field


Post-game Picnic




First-start Baseball









Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Christmas in June

So if yesterday was the longest short day ever, today was the longest long day ever. Did I mention it was long....

First I had my 5 am wakeup call to take a shower and get ready for physicals. I walked with the seven other new draftees a few blocks through downtown Philly to get to the Rothman Institute. From 7am to 10 we were getting ultrasounds, x-rays, ortho and general physicals. I was already tired. After getting a quick bite to eat we had to be back down in the lobby at 1130 to get picked up by the bus on its way to Williamsport.

When I walked into the bus I realized that this was minor league baseball. Twenty some odd new faces, 30 percent of which only spoke spanish didn't even care to glance as I walked on, entranced by their card games. So, I sat in the front next to Jeff and proceeded to be cramped for the next 3 hours. After dropping our bags off at the hotel that we are staying while the host family situation is settled, we were on our way to the field.


Santa must have recently been to Bowman field because there was loads of new stuff waiting for us when we got there. New shorts, socks, hats, workout shirts, cleats, and glove were all nicely packaged in our Phillies bag. It was more and nicer stuff than we had ever gotten at Irvine. Next we picked our numbers....Those who got moved down from low A got first choice, then those who came from extended spring got second choice, and the new draftees were last. Already accepting the fact that I would end up with a horrific number, I was shocked that my second choice #21 was left when it was my turn. So now I am officially #21 in your Crosscutters program and #1 in your hearts.

After a short workout we were back to the hotel, quick meal at Olive Garden, and back to the room for some well needed rest. Today was a long day, but it was well worth it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

DAY 1



  
Day one is the longest shortest day ever. My body has no sense of the time of day. The only thing I know is that I have to leave the hotel at 6:30 eastern, 3:30 body time for physicals tomorrow. But I guess that's what you have to do when your a professional.

I love big cities. Philly is so cool. Our hotel has got to be in the richest area of the city, with the Ritz-Carlton adjacent. Jeff and I walked around a bit today and while the buildings are really cool the weather is not.....at 9pm it felt like we were in a sauna. I guess thats what we have to get used. I looked at the weather for the next 10 days and its anywhere from 85-95 degrees and sticky. Won't have to worry about getting loose.

Anyway, its been a pretty exciting day. Probably the only day for the rest of the season we will be treated like big leaguers (our dinner was comped too). They're giving us a little taste so we know what we are working toward. Tomorrow is physicals and a 3 hour drive to Williamsport.....


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