Well, long time no see. I apologize for what regrettably seems to be a consistent pattern of not posting entries on here as much as I should, but in this instance I actually have a legitimate excuse. As you will know if you read my previous entry, I was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Oakland Athletics on May 10th/11th and since then have been in the process of putting my affairs in order, driving across the country, finding living accommodations, putting my affairs back in order again, and trying to get my bearings back after a whirlwind two weeks. There is also the interesting problem of this blog’s address being linked to the Indians, whom I no longer play for. After considering it (briefly) I decided to just change the color scheme on here and keep it going, under the assumption that not enough people visit this blog for anyone to particularly care. Anyhow, the last two weeks have been a very strange experience. First of all, before I even got to Midland, TX I found out that one of my new teammates with the RockHounds was going to be one of my old teammates/roommates Ryan Edell, which has made the whole transition to a new organization a little bit easier (my other ex-roommate Erik Stiller is actually playing for Corpus Christi, the opposing team in our current series so the gang is back together so to speak). Speaking of which, the transition from one organization to another has been both fairly smooth and kind of akward. All of the basics are the same; you throw, run, lift, do shoulder programs, and play, but each organization has different ideas, philosophies and points of emphasis so after five years in one system it feels a little weird to be adapting to another one. I feel like I’m in the wrong place a lot of the time, but as I’m here a while things will feel more and more natural. Away from the field there has been precious little to report (unless of course you would like to hear the details of my housing search). I’m currently plugging through Lars Brownworth’s history of the Bysantine empire, Lost to the West as well as Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Anyhow, I’m going to stop writing before I bore everyone to death and as always, before you go enjoy a poem on me.
By W.S. Merwin
Autumn comes early this year
the last morning of August
fog fills the valley clouding
the late roses and the scent
of wet leaves floats in the light
one day after the full moon
it is the time of going
small flocks of migrant birds catch
like strands of wool in the trees
west of the village and wait
for something to remind them
of the journey and their own
way and when the fog lifts
they have gone and with them the days
of summer have vanished
and the leaves here and there begin
taking to themselves
the colors of sunlight
to keep them
Hello out there in cyberspace and thank you for joining me for this entry, which documents one of the more significant events of my professional career. Today I had a day that I had seen coming for a the last week or so, but that I wasn’t prepared for in the least: today I got released by the Cleveland Indians, only to be told an hour later that I hadn’t actually been released I’d been traded to the Oakland Athletics. The Akron Aeros had been accumulating bullpen pitchers of late (up to a high of ten as compared to the usual seven earlier today) and as one of the few pitchers on our team not drafted or acquired in the last two years I seemed like one of the logical guys to be moved out in one manor or another, but my mental preparation left me wholly unprepared for the reality of it. When I was called into the manager’s office after the game I all but knew that gig was up, but the sinking feeling is just something you can’t help no matter how much you expect it. Making it especially bittersweet was having the news come on the same day that my longtime teammate, friend and roommate Erik Stiller got released. It was somewhat fitting to be flying home with a guy who I’ve played on every team with except one. After having called all the relevant persons about being released, however, I was informed that I had actually been traded to the Oakland A’s instead. So I will still be flying back to Akron to put my affairs in order, but instead of heading home afterwards I will be heading to Midland, Texas instead. Joining a new organization with an opportunity to get some new eyes on me and some fresh input on ways I can get better is certainly an opportunity I am very glad to have, but at the same time it leaves me with a sad and disappointed feeling. Leaving the organization that drafted me means leaving unfinished my goal of playing in the major leagues for the Cleveland Indians, but leaves intact my goal of playing major league baseball. The hardest part will be leaving behind the relationships with staff members, coaches and players that I have formed over five seasons with the Indians. Both of my roommates actually got released this week so I feel fortunate to be heading to a new team but it is hard to be overly happy when two close friends are currently without such an opportunity. Anyhow, I should go finish packing up for the upcoming plane flight and cross country drive of the next few days, but I will leave you with a poem as always and update you on my situation next time I get the opportunity.
by Langston Hughes
To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me–
That is my dream!
To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening . . .
A tall, slim tree . . .
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.
Hello again, sorry for the extended absence. I could have sworn I logged on and posted something but apparently not and to be quite honest the details of the last two weeks have been absolutely brutal. I have thrown a few times, some good, some bad with basically no correlation to how I actually threw the ball. Very frustrating, but basically the story of my season to this point. The good news is that I am healthy and both my arm and body are feeling great so I just have to go out on the mound and make it happen. As a team we have been absolutely awful. After a 5-2 road trip to open the season we have since gone 3-14 to put our record for the season at 8-16, the exact same record as the Durham Bulls when they got the lollygaggers speech in Bull Durham. It is now reaching the point of total embarrassment the way I and my teammates are getting beaten basically every night, but hard as I try to be mad I can’t do it. It is extremely frustrating and it really sucks, but guys are still playing hard and everybody else is as upset about how we are playing as I am so there isn’t anything to be done but keep on working and hope things turn around at some point. We have two more games against Trenton at home before we head back out on the road and taking two to split the series would be a great start back down the road this team was on all of last season.
Away from the field I have been doing my usual high volume of reading, as well as exploring the local park system. While the Cuyahoga is probably most famous (or more likely, infamous) for it’s past penchant for catching on fire due to the extremely high pollution levels, Summit County has made it the centerpiece of a rather sprawling network of parks around Akron. I’ve take a few cursory strolls through some of the parks before, but I utilized the recent off day to make a bit more complete exploration in a couple of them and also took in one that has recently reopened after some rather extensive construction. Getting away from all of my teammates, the field, and everything baseball related to get out in the woods for a while is very relaxing and helps me to refocus when it is time to get back to business at the field. Anyway, I’ll leave you with the usual poem and a promise to get back on sometime in the next week with another update.
A Winter Without Snow
by J.D. McClatchy
Even the sky here in Connecticut has it,
That wry look of accomplished conspiracy,
The look of those who’ve gotten away
With a petty but regular white collar crime.
When I pick up my shirts at the laundry,
A black woman, putting down her Daily News,
Wonders why and how much longer our luck
Will hold. “Months now and no kiss of the witch.”
The whole state overcast with such particulars.
For Emerson, a century ago and farther north,
Where the country has an ode’s jagged edges,
It was “frolic architecture.” Frozen blue-
Print of extravagance, shapes of a shared life
Left knee-deep in transcendental drifts:
The isolate forms of snow are its hardest fact.
Down here, the plain tercets of provision do,
Their picket snow-fence peeling, gritty,
Holding nothing back, nothing in, nothing at all.
Down here, we’ve come to prefer the raw material
Of everyday and this year have kept an eye
On it, shriveling but still recognizable–
A sight that disappoints even as it adds
A clearing second guess to winter. It’s
As if, in the third year of a “relocation”
To a promising notch way out on the Sunbelt,
You’ve grown used to the prefab housing,
The quick turnover in neighbors, the constant
Smell of factory smoke–like Plato’s cave,
You sometimes think–and the stumpy trees
That summer slighted and winter just ignores,
And all the snow that never falls is now
Back home and mixed up with other piercing
Memories of childhood days you were kept in
With a Negro schoolmate, of later storms
Through which you drove and drove for hours
Without ever seeing where you were going.
Or as if you’ve cheated on a cold sickly wife.
Not in some overheated turnpike motel room
With an old flame, herself the mother of two,
Who looks steamy in summer-weight slacks
And a parrot-green pullover. Not her.
Not anyone. But every day after lunch
You go off by yourself, deep in a brown study,
Not doing much of anything for an hour or two,
Just staring out the window, or at a patch
On the wall where a picture had hung for ages,
A woman with planets in her hair, the gravity
Of perfection in her features–oh! her hair
The lengthening shadow of the galaxy’s sweep.
As a young man you used to stand outside
On warm nights and watch her through the trees.
You remember how she disappeared in winter,
Obscured by snow that fell blindly on the heart,
On the house, on a world of possibilities.