Discontentment

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One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how quickly humans can get caught up in a routine or daily schedule. With iPhones, iPads, and Surface Pro 3’s receiving our undivided attention, it seems like more and more people are forgetting to soak in all the blessings God has put in front of us on a daily basis. Things that on the surface level seem so small or insignificant that we set them off to the side. Memories that we often take for granted, thinking that it’s always going to be there for us to appreciate. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of being glued to my technology and taking things for granted during numerous points in my life.

Over the past week, I have set aside some time to self reflect; Asking myself a set of questions, “What is my current routine? What do I like about it and what do I want to change?” With the help of family members, friends, and teammates, I have discovered that over the past 5 years, my life has been revolving around discontentment; Always looking forward to the next step, the next goal, the next phases of life. Whether that’s in baseball, school, or daily events, I am always planning for something further on down the road. This can be looked at as a positive trait as well as a negative one in terms of perspective.

For starters, I don’t think there is anything wrong with people who like to plan out their school and/or work week. This is definitely me and if you are anything like me, you probably find creating a to-do-list to be oddly satisfying. Whether it’s something as simple as turning in a homework assignment or something as complex as solving world hunger, if it’s on my list and I completed the task, you can bet your ass I crossed it off with a solid ballpoint pen (organized nerd geek for the win). This technique along with utilizing a planner to construct a strategy for my typical 9 to 5 work day ultimately directs me on a path towards: maximum productivity, erasing wasted effort, and (most importantly) eliminating wasted time. By being efficient during the set hours of the week that are designed for work, I…

1) Put myself in a position to have more free time to do fun stuff like binge watch House of Cards or talk to my family and friends on the phone.

2) Have a clear conscious that everything I needed to do in terms of “adulting” has been completed.

3) Give myself the opportunity to be in the present moment.

What I discovered over the past week is that even though I am extremely organized with my time, I am still not taking advantage of being in the present moment. Why? Because I’ve let my work mentality transfer over into my personal life. Simple fix right? Not so much (at least for me).

As a pitcher, I’ve been taught to constantly focus on the next pitch. A basic mindset that keeps me focused on the task at hand; Letting go of anything that has happened during the previous pitch, at-bat, inning, game, or even season for that matter. This mentality, in my opinion, is the leading outlook on the art of pitching simply because it forces the athlete to control what they can control and that is… the NEXT pitch. Once the ball is released from the pitchers hand, he or she has zero say in what happens next. Gravity, the umpire’s opinion, and the hitter’s decision to swing or not are all up in the air. All the pitcher can do is hope:

  1. He made a quality pitch that is difficult for the batter to hit.
  2. The hitter perceived the pitch as enticing and decided to swing (and hopefully miss).
  3. The umpire felt that the pitch was within a certain area that gave the hitter a fair opportunity to put the ball in play. Hence “the strike zone”.

If any one of these things doesn’t go the pitchers way, odds are there will be a negative outcome. It could be something as simple as the umpire calling the pitch a ball or something as catastrophic as a 3 run walk off Jimmy Jack to lose game 7 of the World Series. Regardless, it’s out of the pitchers control. Like the great Clayton Kershaw said earlier this year, “They pay me to get the next guy out,” once again, reemphasizing that pitchers (even the greatest in the world) are always looking ahead to the next pitch or the next at-bat.

On the positive side, I am aware of what I want to change. On the negative side, it’s unfortunate that it took me 5 years to come to this realization. All those times where God wanted me to just enjoy where I was currently at in life, I was looking ahead 6 months down the road. If I could do it all over again, I would praise him for the blessings of that day and let him handle all the worry, stress, and uncertainty of my future.

Again, I think it’s okay to be excited for the future. It gives us hope. But if you let what’s to come blind you from the blessings of today, your life will be driven by discontentment. A restless aspiration for improvement. When in reality, how you improve you future is giving 100% towards today.

 

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180

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Ever since I signed my letter of intent to participate in college athletics, my life has revolved around one thing… baseball. I speak for all my current/former professional teammates when I say that deciding to make this great sport your main source of income can be one of God’s greatest blessings but also one of life’s biggest challenges. Obstacles constantly present themselves day in and day out in professional baseball just like any other occupation. But what separates this career in difficulty from the vast majority of jobs after college is one thing… spending 6 months of the year away from loved ones, all in pursuit of making our childhood dream a reality. It’s a huge sacrifice for the player and anyone close to the player in anyway.

You see, most people are going to graduate from college with a degree that they may or may not be able to use at their first “real job”. They will settle into a place that can be familiar or completely foreign but regardless, they are settled at a permanent location. They will find an affordable apartment or small condo that they can officially call home or (for the majority of college students who are in over their heads in debt once they receive their diploma) they will move back in with their parents (hence familiar territory). Seems pretty straight forward and that’s exactly my point. For most young adults ages 21 to 25 who cross this bridge into adulthood, there is a sense of normalcy or a routine in which they can submerge themselves into. This consistent regularity of: an permanent location, interactions with coworkers, and overall social lifestyle makes it easy to start building a foundation for the next stage in life… finding someone to walk this journey with you.

Unfortunately, for most ball players, we don’t receive that same luxury. In fact, the very lack of normalcy that is associated with our job makes our lifestyle difficult to relate to for anyone that is going down the path that I described in the previous paragraph. It takes a special person support a ball player striving to achieve a dream that is so difficult to achieve. Distance apart from people that us ball players care about is something that we all juggle on a daily basis with our significant other, kids (if we have them), and immediate family members. Some players establish a serious relationship that has been in the works prior to signing a pro baseball contract while other players (like myself) try to make new found relationships work over long distance. Neither situation is easy or ideal, but for the players who are starting fresh with someone, the distance can take its toll.

In the past 72 hours my life went from potentially being one week away from having 6 months to grow in the relationship that I was currently involved in while also finishing my degree at Gonzaga to potentially 1 week away from going back to Spokane to finish my degree and focus on bettering myself as an individual because I don’t have another choice. I can use the cliches “What happened was way out of left field,” or “Life really threw me a curve,” or even “My life just did a 180,” but at the end of the day God has a plan and it’s not my job to question it.

Before I go any further, it’s important that I clarify my intentions behind this post. The last thing I want is to make this entry sound like a sob story or that I have ill will towards the person I was previously dating. If anything, it’s quiet the opposite. This person changed my life in so many ways in such a short amount of time and for that I am forever grateful. She brought me closer to my faith, gave me more confidence in myself to do anything I set my mind too, and she made me believe that a relationship with trust and faithfulness does still exist. She’s one of the greatest human beings I have ever had the privilege of spending meaningful time with and in the process, became my closest friend. She had such an impact on me that I decided I needed to pick up my laptop and write again in order to vent and process what is running through my mind. Which is significant because writing is one of my favorite things to do yet I’ve only jotted down one post this season. I truly wish her all the best and to whoever wins her heart in the future… treat her right because she deserves nothing but the very best and then some.

Now that I reeled you in with all sorts of feels (or maybe you think I’m a pathetic try hard blogger who makes a piss poor effort at a meaningful post) I can attempt to end this post on a high note. As I mentioned earlier, technically there is only 1 week left in the 2017 regular season. Which is important information to know because the current team I play for, the Stockton Ports is in a playoff push; Tied with 3 teams in our division for second place and only 1 game back of the division leader the Visalia Rawhide (minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks). Even though classes start at Gonzaga tomorrow, I wouldn’t mind being a week or two late to school if it means I get to take the mound one more time as “The Ports make a run at the California state title!” said Tommy Everidge and Steve Connelly.

Regardless of the outcome of our playoff run, I am thankful for all the blessings God has presented me even with my current 180. He has given me the opportunity to grow as a ball player and as a person this season and for that, it was all worth it. He is also giving me the opportunity to go to the same school as my younger sister Bri for the first time since she’s been born. Words can not express how excited I am to share the Zag experience with her in the upcoming fall months! Finally, I’m thankful for all the new friendships I have made through my new teammates and coaches. When it’s all said and done, I can look back knowing that no one can take the memories of the clubhouse, dugout, and bus away from me.

And with the final line, I thought it might be nice to leave an inspirational quote from a song I am currently using as motivation to keep moving forward no matter what the situation:

“So RISE. Break the dark, piercing the night, you’re made to shine. An army of hope, bringing the world a radiant light.”- Rise by Danny Gokey.

Chase The Lion

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Well it’s been exactly 278 days, 23 hours, and 50 minutes since I last decided to type random thoughts into a text box but for some reason I decided tonight would be a good time to give writing another shot.

Before I commence, I want to apologize for all of the typos, bad grammar, and mis-spelled words on this post as well as my posts from a year ago… I have no editor and a person can only read their own words so many times…

Quite a bit has happened over the past 278 days and I am debating on where a solid starting point would be for this blog post. There have been some life changing experiences, a few exciting events, and a fair share of occurrences which were monotonous. Never-the-less, my mind has steered me in the direction towards typing out and documenting some of these happenings. So for those of you who actually decided that this blog post was worth a skim, hopefully I don’t completely bore you.

I’ll start with the here and now.

The town: Beloit, Wisconsin (No that is not a typo).

The time: (12:01a.m. Central)

The team: The Beloit Snappers, Single A affiliate of the Oakland A’s in the Midwest League.

For those of you who (like me) have never heard of Beloit, Wisconsin, it is right on the Illinois/Wisconsin boarder and is fittingly titled “The Gateway to Wisconsin”. An average sized town most known for being the home of Hormel chili, Beloit is where I currently reside (I refuse to call it home… *cough* West Coast, Best Coast *cough*). I moved here in early April after being assigned to the Snappers roster following the conclusion of Spring Training 2017. While Pohlman Field isn’t the most elegant ball park in the minor leagues and the Snapper fan base equivalates to one of a talented little league squad, my teammates have made the deplorable professional baseball setting extremely memorable and fun!

Like all minor league baseball organizations, the Snappers let new players decide on their housing arrangements. While some of my teammates live in apartments in Janesville, I decided to live with a host family a long with a few of my fellow teammates. During the host family settlements, I was lucky enough to be paired with a great host named Dennis Conerton, who happens to be the team president and has been involved with the Snapper’s front office operations for quite some time now. Daulton Sawyer, Heath Bowers, and Sam Sheehan are my housemates. All three are talented pitchers within the A’s farm system and have become some of my closer friends on the squad. It should also be noted that Andrew (Tomo) Tomasovich was one of my housemates as well before he got promoted to the High-A affiliate of the A’s in Stockton, California (Go Ports).

Now for the interesting stuff… BASEBALL standings/results. Yesterday, the Snappers split a double header with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers; keeping our team in 3rd place of the Midwest League Western Divisional standings. We are only 3.5 games back of first with exactly 13 games left to play before the All-Star break. For those of you who are unfamiliar with minor league baseball, play off births can be granted in a few different ways but since I don’t feel like going into detail, I’ll keep it simple… if you finish in first OR second place during the first half of the season OR the second half of the season, you are awarded a playoff birth. So (hypothetically) a team could finish in first place of their division during the first half of the season, lose every game in the second half of the season, and still participate in playoff action come early September. All I have to say is… Don’t let the Snappers get hot… Vamos Tortugas!

Now that you are up to date on sports, I will tap into other things in my life that don’t have a direct correlation to baseball (everything in my life has some relation one way or another).

It gives me great pleasure to announce that my younger sister Bri has not only:

1. Graduated from Broomfield High School

2. Spoke at her graduation

3. Received numerous academic scholarships

4. Was senior class president

5. Senior homecoming royalty

6. And was selected to speak at a Native American conference in Seattle in mid-April

But she will be attending Gonzaga University starting in the fall of 2017! I am one proud older brother and I can not wait to get back to Spokane this fall and go to the same school with my little sister for the first time ever! (*It should be noted that I left out many of Bri’s amazing and outstanding accomplishments. If I were to name all of them it would take me at least 20 minutes of typing which equals at least one hand cramp.)

Another awesome thing that has happened over the past 10 months is that I moved on from a negative/toxic relationship and have been blessed with the most amazing, fun, beautiful (I could go on for awhile but again hand cramp) girl any guy could ever ask for. She has brought out the best in me athletically, academically, and spiritually but I think the most amazing thing she has done is love me for me regardless of my past flaws and for that I am forever grateful Heather.

In other news I have taken interest in reading, Amazon Prime, and MLB: The Show 2017. In the past 2 weeks I have read 3 books which makes me feel accomplished considering I do not stimulate my brain very often now that I’ve been out of school for 6 months. However, reading has filled this void and I enjoy learning new things about topics I actually care about (No offense Philosophy 301: Ethics). The books I have completed are:

  1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by The Creator of NIKE, Phil Knight
  2. Off The Field: Carving Your Own Path to Find Your Best Self, by China McCarney
  3. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness & Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero.

I had a different motive when reading each of these books. With Shoe Dog, I wanted to learn more about the history of NIKE in order to better understand company culture. It’s my dream to one day work for this athletic based company after I call it a career from baseball but until then, I will settle for individualized research. The second book, Off The Field, was brought to my attention through Instagram and Kyle Boddy, founder and CEO of Driveline Baseball. This book’s target audience is anyone struggling to find their true passion. McCarney suggests breaking down each day and focusing on winning all of the individual battles that humans are confronted with on a regular basis, lifting one’s self efficacy which in return clears our perspective, allowing us to discover what we truly want to accomplish in life. Finally, You Are a Badass speaks for itself. By incorporating a consistent positive mindset, I hope to discover that I am indeed a “badass”.

Now that I’ve spent that past hour trying to spill out my thoughts onto this computer screen, I will return to my fourth book that I hope to complete, Chase The Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small, by Mark Batterson. 

Again, self explanatory.

I Hate Bus Rides

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I hate bus rides, plain and simple. I don’t hate them for the countless hours of traveling on highways. I don’t hate them for the inconvenient arrival times back at our home ballpark after an 8 hour road trip. I don’t hate them due to the fact that there’s only one bathroom. For those of you who are unaware, having only one bathroom is a big deal because of the following scenario…If you have to “drop a deuce” your basically SOL. No one wants to be “That Guy” who is responsible for dropping the stink bomb which will consequently travel throughout the bus, pissing off everybody and their mom after you’ve performed your dirty deed. 35 males farting and burping in a small space is bad enough… Just imagine if someone took a sh*t that lingered until you arrived at your destination. Your only option is to focus up, squeeze your cheeks, and hold it.

Surprisingly, none of the reasons listed above are why I despise bus rides. No, I hate bus rides for one reason and one reason only… I can’t fall asleep. The majority of my teammates would probably say that if there was one person out of the group who should be able to find a comfortable position to catch some Z’s, it would be me. Why you ask? Because I’m a midget in a land of freakishly oversized giants that disguise themselves as incredibly talented baseball players. What ever happened to the good old days when guys over 6’6 dedicated their athletic ability towards making it rain on the hardwood or when guys that weighed over 220 pounds used their God given size to knock the snot out of people on the gridiron? I apologize for my short rant, I’m getting off topic. Where was I? Oh right, the reason I’m a perfect candidate to find a comfortable sleeping position is due to my 5’8 inch frame (5’10 on a good day or when I’m wearing cleats). My undersized stature allows me to maneuver myself into some creative lounging positions that my larger counterparts could not experience even if they tried. Imagine 6’7 left-hander AJ Puk finding a comfortable position to stretch out his freakishly oversized arms and legs… needless to say the man gets his own seat. Now me on the other hand, I’m fun-sized and should be taking advantage of my miniature layout, but regardless of what lounging position I decide to utilize it doesn’t matter. I CAN’T FALL ASLEEP!

Coming to terms with this unfortunate truth, I have recently turned to the essentials of staying awake: caffeine, my Beats headphones, my iPhone 6+, and my laptop. The majority of my time on the bus is spent listening to music, browsing my social media accounts, getting a few good games of Hungry Shark in, and texting my family and friends back home on the west coast. Unfortunately, at the beginning of this bus trip from Norwich, Connecticut back to Vermont, I received a text message from Verizon informing me that I’ve used 90% of my data for the month. Looks like no social media browsing for me. Instead, I decided I would begin working on my next blog post and 426 words later, here we are.

There are only 8 games left in the season and while I’m not ready for baseball to be over, I couldn’t be more excited for the next four months and what they have in store. Classes start at Gonzaga tomorrow which means I’m officially a senior in college…

Not going to lie I just spent the last 20 minutes starring at that last sentence trying to comprehend what I had just typed but inevitably, I’m a senior and I truth be told I never want to graduate. Gonzaga is my second home and I while I am currently testing the waters of what it’s like to be an adult in the real world, I’m ready to get back to school and be a normal college student where my only concern is how I’m going to pass my next Sport Law exam.

As the bus continues to make it’s way north towards Burlington, I’ve had a few songs pop up on my country playlist that have caused me to reminisce about my friends and family back home on the west coast. One song in particular is “Drink One For Me” by Jason Aldean. Every line from start to finish speaks to the way I’m feeling, reminding me of all my friends who are back up at Gonzaga celebrating the start of another semester and how I wish I could be there celebrating with them, especially my former Gonzaga Baseball teammates. While I’ve made my decision to chase my dream of playing in the MLB, I still can’t help but wonder what my life would be like if I had chosen to return to Spokane and play my senior year for the Zags. Although I don’t regret my decision, I do miss the Zag community that always made me feel like I was apart of one big family…the Zag family.

The good news is I will be returning to ZagLand in T-Minus 8 days and during those 8 days I get to do what I love most, throw baseballs.

My last outing on August 24th verse the Lowell Spinners (short-season Single A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) was my best performance as a professional yet. I came out of the bullpen and pitched 5 innings of relief, striking out 9, and walking zero after our starting pitcher Logan Shore threw 3 solid innings before reaching his pitch count limit. Ever since Shore joined the team, he has been my favorite pitcher to watch because of how much he and I have in common on the mound.

First off, we both throw our fastball in the low 90’s and posses the ability to fill up the strike zone with 3 pitches. The change-up is the best pitch in our arsenals and we feel comfortable throwing it in any given count. We also both throw sliders and have vocalized to our pitching coach that we want to focus on improving this pitch on the days we are not pitching. I try to take as many mental notes as I can when Shore takes the mound because I am aware that we do have a lot in common and I figure if I can mirror his tendencies and how he attacks hitters, that will only help me improve as a pitcher as well. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to try and model your game after a Golden Spikes finalist…

It should also be noted that Logan Shore is one of the most humble ballplayers I’ve ever had the opportunity to play alongside and he is the definition of what it means to be a professional. He has also become one of my good friends on the team, adding to the list of great guys that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know since the June draft.

While this season with the Lake Monsters might not be one of the most memorable seasons in terms of on-field success (our record is 24-44), it is however one of my most memorable seasons because it’s my first year in professional baseball. Now if I can just master the art of sleeping on this damn bus I think I’ll be alright…

 

 

 

The Final Stretch

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Well it’s been about 2 weeks since my last blog post and so much has happened I’m not really sure where to start… So to avoid writers block I’m just going to regurgitate my thoughts onto this post and hopefully it all makes sense.

I’ll begin with the first thing that comes to mind and that’s my 2016 Chevy Colorado pick-up truck. I recently purchased this beauty back in June shortly after being drafted and while it might be cliche to buy a brand new vehicle after signing a professional sports contract, I actually needed a way of transportation due to an unfortunate event that took place in Spokane a month earlier. With about twenty days left in spring semester, “Carrie (named after the beautiful country singer Ms. Underwood)” my 2003 Saturn L300 was stolen outside my off-campus house in the Logan neighborhood. After about a week of waiting, I received a call from the Spokane Police Department informing me that they had found my car totaled and abandon in a parking lot. Just the news I wanted to hear right before finals week and the beginning of the NCAA tournament…

Fast forward to the present and how this relates to me thinking about my new Z71, well it’s simple… This pick-up represents all of the hard work I have put in over the course of the past 12 years and I want to make it AWESOME. The truck was already sick when I drove it off the lot but since this is my first vehicle purchase ever, my plan is to go all out! I decided to have a few minor details done right off the bat which included installing a sunroof, running boards, tinted windows, and having the bed liner sprayed. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of research on what I can do to make the truck even more jaw-dropping; Utilizing the knowledge of my cousin Matt and my new travel roommate Xavier Altamirano in order to make the best decisions in terms of performance and functionality.

Xavier or “X”, actually became my new travel roommate a couple weeks ago after Logan Shore, the A’s second round pick, arrived in Vermont and started rooming with his former college teammate AJ Puk. Puk, who was Oakland’s first round pick this year, was my original roommate on the road and has become one of my closer friends on the Lake Monsters roster. After the news broke that Shore was going to be joining the team, I had a gut feeling that Puk would want to room with Logan since they both attended the University of Florida. Naturally, I was assigned a new roommate which was Xavier. X, who was recently voted as a NY-Penn League All-Star, has become my closest friend on the team and shares my love for jacked-up trucks. This past week, he provided me with a few great tips on what I can do to improve my new toy and I’ve decided to set a plan into action. I won’t share all the details simply because I don’t want to bore the two people who are actually reading this post but I will say that a 6 inch lift is in the works!

Besides my truck, the next thing that comes to mind is my team’s previous road trip to Brooklyn, New York where we played the New York Mets Single-A affiliate the Brooklyn Cyclones on August 9th through the 11th. It has always been a dream of mine to one day travel to the Big Apple but I never would have guessed this dream would come true at such a young age. During our 3 day span in the big city, I made it a point to venture downtown to Times Square to do some sight-seeing. X, myself, and another one of my teammates Ty Damron (a left-handed pitcher from Texas Tech) decided to take the subway north towards Manhattan on the morning of our final day in Brooklyn. You could easily tell we were not from the area because we were the only people on the subway attempting to decipher the complex map which was supposed to assist us in navigating our way downtown. After about 10 minutes of head scratching we decided to ask for help and were informed that we needed to take the exit onto 42nd Street.

Anticipation and excitement continued to build up inside my chest with each minute that passed. Ever since I was old enough to comprehend the game of baseball my favorite team growing up (besides the hometown team the Colorado Rockies) was the New York Yankees. Players like Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill, David Cone, Mariano Rivera, and Bernie Williams fueled my love for the team in pinstripes. As we moved closer to the city, I could feel my passion for Yankee tradition surfacing. After about an hour of waiting, we finally made it to our destination and quickly made our way up to ground level. The experience I had next is almost indescribable…

Never had I seen something so magnificent, vibrant, and extraordinary. There is a certain aura or ambience that flows throughout New York City; A distinctive atmosphere that is luxurious and subtle, its occupants moving at a speed that seem to be faster than Usain Bolt himself (couldn’t resist mixing in an Olympic metaphor). Surprisingly, I was not overwhelmed. In fact, I felt rather comfortable. As we began exploring what the city had to offer, I made it a point to take as many pictures as possible. I saw the New Years Eve ball drop, Central Park, the Plaza Hotel made famous by one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, NIKETOWN NYC where I bought 2 new pairs of shoes, St. Patricks Cathedral, and finally the Empire State Building. For those of you who are familiar with New York City you would know that my teammates and I traveled roughly 2.5 to 3 miles on foot and let me tell you… It was worth it!

As far as baseball goes, it seems that the team is starting to get back on track. Before this weekend home-stand where we played the Tri-City Valleycats and won the series 2 out of 3, the Lake Monster’s had lost 11 games in a row. It’s not easy facing adversity over the course of a 2 week span but we persevered and continued to show up to the ballpark ready to give it our all.

I’ve been throwing the ball pretty well as of late. In my last 3 games I’ve pitched 12.1 innings and struck out 9 batters. During that span I’ve only allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits. I’m hoping to finish the final 2 and a half weeks of the season strong so I can go into the fall semester at Gonzaga feeling confident about my first season in professional baseball. With 4 starts left, my main goal is to continue to work fast and fill up the strike zone with all 3 of my pitches. I’ve also been working on developing a spiked curveball and I’m looking forward to focusing on adding this pitch to my arsenal this off-season.

2 and a half weeks left in the 2016 baseball season…The final stretch.

 

It’s 1:00am…

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It’s 1 o’clock in the morning here in Vermont and I’ve spent the majority of my off day doing jack sh*t…Which is typically normal for the average joe who plays baseball in the summer time like myself. Off days come few and far in-between during the months of June, July, and August, so when one of these rare (yet desperately needed) occasions presents itself, ballplayers have to take advantage.

If you’re like me, you generally spend the day sleeping in until noon and then casually taking a stroll to the kitchen to devour whatever happens to be in the fridge at that moment in time. When the stomach is full, you retrace your steps back into your bed where you open up your Macbook and watch some Netflix. This is then followed by some pointless online shopping for the newest Nike products to have hit the market in recent months. For players enrolled in summer school, you feel guilty for not touching the homework from the 6 week online course you mistakenly thought would be a cake walk back in March when you were registering for summer and fall classes. After about an hour of hell, the rest of the afternoon is yours to do whatever you so please. For me, I decided to call my mom today to see how things are going back home in Colorado. She informed me that my dad is working late tonight trying to rack up a couple extra hours in order to make up for being absent this upcoming Monday and Tuesday. My parents are flying out to Burlington to spend the weekend with me and I couldn’t be more excited! The only downside, my younger sister Bri is not going to be able to make the trip due to her busy work schedule at The Egg and I, a local brunch restaurant where she is a hostess part time.

It’s only been two and a half weeks since I last saw my family but I miss them like crazy. On Saturday, July 9th, my older cousin Matt got married in Pueblo, Colorado and I was honored to be his best man and lucky enough to even be in attendance. The week prior to the wedding, I was spending my days at Fitch Park in Mesa, Arizona at the Oakland A’s Spring Training Complex. I was playing for Oakland’s Rookie Ball team in the Arizona League and was uncertain if the A’s would be willing to give me a few days off from work in order to attend my cousin’s wedding. After throwing a side (bullpen) on July 7th, I spoke with Keith Lipman, the A’s Minor League Field Cordinator. He informed me that he was perfectly comfortable with me leaving for the wedding and casually mentioned he liked what he saw during my bullpen session. He also informed me that I was being promoted to the A’s single-A short-season affiliate the Vermont Lake Monsters and would catch a plane to Burlington on Sunday morning after the wedding.

Two and a half weeks may not seem like long time to the average person but for summer baseball players, two and a half weeks can feel like two and a half years at times. Distance and the time difference seem to be the two most difficult part about summer ball (at least for me). The past two summers I have spent 90 days of summer on the east coast playing baseball. Last summer I played in the Cape Cod Baseball League and lived in Yarmouth-Dennis, Massachusetts. This summer, I’m playing in the New York-Penn League and living in Burlington, Vermont. While the east coast is a beautiful part of the country, it does not compare to the West Coast, the Pacific Northwest, or the Colorado Rocky Mountains in my personal, biased opinion. The majority of my family and friends live on the West Coast and operate according to Pacific Standard and Mountain Standard time, a 2 hour difference from myself over on the East Coast, making it difficult for me to communicate with friends and family due to my busy schedule during the day.

I show up at the ballpark roughly around 2:00pm everyday and don’t leave the park until 10:30pm that evening. A typical day consists of: an active warm up, team game review, stretching, pitchers throwing program, conditioning, pitchers fielding practice, shagging for batting practice, grabbing a bite to eat off the spread, an individual workout with my strength coach Omar, arm care with the Lake Monster team trainer Toshi, “Suiting Up!” (or in other words put on the old uniform), sitting and watching a baseball game for 3 hours (unless I’m on a chart or pitching that day), shower, eat the post game meal, and finally…GO HOME! Not a bad work schedule for anyone who loves the game of baseball. However, by the time I return home to my host family’s house it is 11 o’clock at night and I am absolutely exhausted. My extreme fatigue would not be an issue if I played in the same time zone as my family or my girlfriend Wolfey because they would be going to bed at the same time as me. Unfortunately, it’s only 8:00pm where they are. Prime time for conversing and FaceTiming.

Since today was an off-day, I was able to catch up with my loved ones at a somewhat decent hour. As I hung up with Wolfey over our FaceTime chat at 9:00pm in comparison to our typical midnight conversations, I thought about how my summer was going. I thought about how I had just finished my book The Arm by Jeff Passan and how I was anxious for my parents to bring out more books for me to dive into. I thought about my first month in professional baseball and all of the crazy experiences I’ve already had. I thought about Gonzaga and how I missed my former coaches, teammates, and the beautiful stadium which makes up the Patterson Baseball Complex. I thought about Nike and how I passed up on an opportunity to be an intern at their world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon in order to chase the dream of hopefully one day playing in the big leagues. I thought about how different professional baseball is in comparison to the college game. I thought about what my future plans and goals for this offseason would be. I thought about the academic fall semester at Gonzaga and how it conflicts with the Arizona Instructional League in late September and early October. I thought about my signing bonus and how I’ve never been one to bitch or complain about taxes until I received my first of two bonus checks in the mail last week. I thought about pay day and how I needed to save every dime I can to pay for gas and food this fall. With all of these thoughts running through my mind as I lay in bed unable to sleep, I decided now was as good of time as ever to start something that I have been contemplating doing for about 2 years.

I’ve never been one to share my personal thoughts and experiences with more than a handful of people but I feel like this journey through professional baseball is one that I have to document. Being a Gonzaga student, I try to focus on developing my mind, body, and spirit which is part of the University’s core values and principles. Baseball has done a great job of developing my body but recently, I feel like I have been laking in the development of my mind and spirit. Maybe the best way to get the intellectual juices flowing would be to write about my experiences here in pro ball? And as I look at the time it’s 2:44 in the morning and 1,328 words later.

I guess there is no better time than the present to start doing the things you want to do and being the person you want to be.