Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Very Uncomfortable Flight

Good rainy morning. Yes, it is raining in a way that I am confident that someone in the northeast is building an ark and will not let me on board. It's like the skies have opened up and the flood waters are pouring onto our heads.

With the rain, there is one happy guy who is thrilled that two games have been postponed. With an 8-game losing streak, the coaches want to play to regain the team's momentum. However, with the last week of classes and voluminous amounts of work for the college students, most of the guys are happy to be at their desks completing the final projects and papers that are due this week. Tomorrow, the team leaves for Nebraska. On the past Monday morning, the team arrived back on campus from Minnesota at 3:30 am.

With a need to work on his arm, the kid threw his weighted balls at 3:30 am against the pizza shop, then went to bed at 4 am to get up for his 9 am class where he had to give a presentation or speech...something like that. Fortunately, the professor saw the physical condition that he was in and postponed his presentation for when he was awake. With that said, he was in class after only a few hours of sleep thereby garnering the respect from the class and professor....(and his momma).


LW was given the opportunity to come back to the team. All he had to do was go to 5 5 am lifts last week. He did not make it which tells a person volumes. In a way, this is a tragedy, he had an abundance of talent, but he did not give himself permission to succeed. Rather, he spent time drinking and staying up late and missed practices and lifts. Therefore, the new regime gave it to him and cut him from the team. He could not believe it because the old coaches let it slide because the kid had talent. On the other hand, the new guys were not going to tolerate it and let him go, much to his dismay. Do I feel bad about it? Sure. But he made these decisions while the other guys stayed away from partying (for the most part) and made it to practices. Should the standards be upheld for every player or just a few? Hmmm. I will let you answer that question.

I got an early morning call from someone who also called at midnight. He is not sleeping this week and is a bit manic. His voice was the last I heard last night and the first one that I heard this morning. "Mom, two of the guys from the House of Mold did not make it to morning lift. They got in from the bars at 3 am when Dog got in from the library. When Dog knocked on their doors this morning to get to lifts, they did not get out of bed."

Ok, so let's see. Dog is in the library until 3 am. The other two...Gopher and California were drinking until 3 am....Dog made it. Now we will see how consistent these coaches are with the rules. Will they penalize these two young men or ignore their behaviors?

With this said, there is more drama on this team than I ever thought there would be. When a pitcher has to find out that he is pitching the next day by listening to the Czar's radio show, then there is a real communication problem. My kid does not feel comfortable asking because he would be told: "You should always be prepared to play." Ok, but what about the breathing part, Coach? Don't I need to practice before I hit the mound?

'Nuff said. As they leave from the Cornhusker state, I can only hope that the assigned seats are different from the ones on Sunday night. It seems that the Delta flight put the players and coaches in alphabetical order. Guess who sat in the middle with his long legs? Guess who was on his right and left? Give up? On his right was the pitching coach, known as Psycho....on the left was the head coach known as the Czar......Then the plane was loaded and on the runway for an extra hours while storms passed. Who sat in the middle wishing that his seat had been on the wing?

That's right....the big leftie. He has some funny stories about this trip. I can only imagine what the guys behind him were saying....'cause I would have been howling if I had witnessed this flight.

Time to work....enjoy the day!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Two for the price of one

Part 1 of 2.....

Good evening. It's Saturday night.....the team is in the second of two games in Minnesota. The league moved Sunday's game to tonight since the tomorrow there is rain in the forecast. And the sentence to use to describe the team is 'woe is me....'

.....last night, they lost 1-2....then the first of today's game was close but they did not score....

As I sit and listen, I can't help but wonder what the team would have been like if the coaches had decided to like the big lefty rather than banish him to the bench to breathe....

And so, here I am writing and listening....the score after 1 inning is 0-7. Sheesh....need a new Sunday pitcher, 'cause the poor freshman that they started is having a hard time....Now he is out and the old Sunday pitcher is in.....Yikes...not good....score is now 0-10. They can still win, they just have to score 11 runs and shut down the offense......OK, former Sunday starter is now being pulled....

Ut Oh....they have a leftie on the mound. Uh's the big kid, now called the surgeon in to stop the bleeding....guess what....he does.....K, pop up, hit, double play....K...huh? He's being pulled for another freshman.....whack! Home run.....

Now do you believe me? There is no rhyme nor reason to the selection of pitchers except the mantra 'do not put the big guy with the great stuff on the mound because he thinks that he knows more than us'....

Part 2

Written on the airplane yesterday

Good morning….returning home after a few days of southern exposure…time to get back to work. The nice part of travel is seeing the newness of places. I felt the gentle southern breezes and the watched the most amazing sunsets. Although during my Ohio travels, I did question my sanity. But I discovered that my philosophy on being supportive to people that you love means that you do things for them that seem out of the norm. Yet, there was never a doubt in my mind that I would not be at that game. This is what a person does who loves another. And naturally, I love my kids more than the gas mileage on my car....That’s it. Although dad did say to me: “I guess that I cannot talk you out of this, right?” Yep, no one could have talked me out of it.

And now, things have shifted in the big kid’s life. As you know, he keeps a journal and sends excerpts to me. First, he has evolved as a writer. I thank the university and my tuition dollars for this phenomenon. With permission, I put his freshman and sophomore papers on the overhead projector to show the class how to edit. Often, the students would look at my quizzically, the same way I used to look when I read his papers, and I would then share the newer, more improved academic writing skills that he developed. In a way, there is always hope….Fade to black… first essay in college was about a person that we admired. I wrote about the first doctor to perform a heart transplant. When the paper was returned to me, I did not receive an A, B, C, D or even F. 

Nope, I got an “X”. A big, ole X was placed across my paper as I stared at the two page narrative that took me three days to write. By the way, the X was not small. Nope, she took a bold red Flair pen and made sure that I did not miss the grade as the X was the size of my 8.5 X 11” paper.  Now, this was humiliating…..Quickly, I hid the paper in my portfolio and sighed….maybe I could hold up the road signs for construction companies if this college thing did not work out. I heard that the pay was pretty good.

Enough about my idiot college years…..with the success that the kid has had on the mound, more people seek him out and chat with him. He doesn’t understand it because he is the same guy who was sitting on the bench two weeks ago breathing. He must have had the greatest oxygenation level in the stadium…Anyway, he does not trust many people for a number of reasons. For example, a girl who attended high school with him suddenly began to text him and asked him to a party. His response was…she didn’t care about me in high school, why now? 

There are additional perks to his sudden rise off the bench. He hangs out with the starters now. Yes, that is what I said….the A squad. I am fairly confident that his bullpen cleaning days are over….at least while he is throwing heat.

As we spoke a number of times this weekend, he did not expect to pitch after throwing 91 pitches on Tuesday. Although, not expecting it, he was thrown into last night’s debacle of a game. By the second inning, the score was 0-7. The coach started a freshman and things got ugly quickly. Then he went to last week’s Sunday starter and it got uglier…..then…out of the blue….I am sitting on the bed listening to the game and the announcer says: “Another pitcher is heading to the bullpen….gee, it looks like….didn’t he just throw 91 pitches on Tuesday?”  Uh huh….into the game, he ran and as I had predicted on a number of occasions….he stopped the hemorrhage. No one scored….one bloop hit…a double play….an error…..then after facing 5 batters over 2 innings, he was pulled for another freshman who immediately gave up a home run. The team made this conference rival look like the Yankees. By the way, the Czar’s team scored 1 run in three games. I don’t know about you, but I have a suspicion that the pitching was not the issue during this series.

One last note on this past weekend…..the kid has been banned from doing the pitching doctor’s program, yet he said ‘screw it’ and under the cover of darkness has been using the weighted balls and apparatus to strengthen the arm and keep it limber. On Friday night, he took his equipment to the 16th floor stairwell of the hotel and worked out on the concrete landing. He figured none of the coaches were in shape enough to climb 16 flights of stairs so he would be safe.

What does all of this mean? Well, I think that if he does not make his goals, it is going to be on his own terms. He can’t sit back idly and work with the trainers knowing that  their program is flawed. So, he hides his work outs. When it rains, he puts his mattress over the window in his apartment and throws the weighted balls into the mattress. He is obsessed with the program and has seen tremendous results. The fact that the coaches are immune to the science of arm care and velocity is beyond his comprehension but as Big Girl says: “If they say ‘jump’, you say ‘how high?’” Don’t forget they are in charge.

Is all of this sneaking around worth it? In a word….Yes. He is limber, quicker to recover after pitching, and has better command. While he remains at this school, he is under their command….but once he is on his own this summer in the Midwest, he is going to blossom. It will be his own program without Psycho interrupting it. By the way, I still recall when the Psycho told the kid that he should go home, break a mirror, do the world a favor and slit his wrists. Now, that is one damaged man…..

OK, I have to run to the Y and hit a few work related meetings. 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dust settles

Good frosty morning! Yesterday was a blur as I drove home as fast as I could without surpassing the speed limit. On the way home from Florida, I was apparently going too fast (71 mph in a 65 zone) and have been sent a speeding ticket. There were no cops, just a camera that clocked me and sent the $40.00 fine to the house.

Yes, the car in the photo was mine.....yes, it was me in the driver's seat eating Skittles or something unhealthy......Yes, I will pay the fine...'cause I did the crime. Therefore, I was a good girl yesterday and only ticked off one wayward trucker who let me know that I was a menace on the road with his horn. Dude, really? You cut me off!

As the dust settles, we received an update from the big kid...

I hurt all over

My toe is torn up

My back and arm hurts....

Blah  blah blah.

it is the usual pain from over exerting and having to lift the day before he threw 91 pitches. Mind you, he has not been on the mound for two weeks and was expected to perform....well...against a team that has been some of the top teams in the country. He only gave up 4 hits against a team that bats over .300. Impressive, yes?

Well the Czar has been taking credit for his turn around...which he never had, he just had an opportunity to throw and show the world what he has...which is talent.  The Czar continues to take credit for it all...mental toughness....breathing....killer attitude.....the blueness of the sky....the green grass..... the Prius....Theory of relativity.....Cole Hamels return to the Phillies....and the chocolate chip cookie recipe...boxed wine.....this guy has quite an ego.

Here is the way to look at it...If he thinks that he is this amazing coach and should be credited for success while failures are the players, then so be it. The point is to prepare, get into the game, and perform. That's it. If he wants credit....sure...give it to him....knowing that.....

he has made a major faux pas by demanding that the big kid keeps a journal. Everything has been documented. Everything....I have the copies of the journal on my hard drive. It waits....silently....until the day when the contents are revealed. Then boom! Coach....will you be bloviating then or running?

Got to go...plane to catch....


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hypothermia sets in

I'm home!!! Thanks to BD, Wildcat, and BP Grandmom for keeping me occupied and laughing as I traveled the turnpike and sat in the stands...alone....

What happened....Well.....Fade to black....

I left for Ohio yesterday morning and the travel time was estimated 5 hours and 25 minutes. Not expecting to hit much traffic, I left earlier that I needed to, which was a very good thing....As I passed Pittsburgh, there was a hail storm where the cars had to pull over since no one could see inches in front of their windshields. I did not count on dying in a hail storm, so I pulled over and remained vigilant as I watched the cars behind me do the same thing. All I could think about was that I was going to miss the game while sitting on the PA turnpike or die trying to make it......

After the hail storm, I continued my journey until I made it on time to the field in the northeast corner of Ohio, north of Akron and south of Cleveland. It was cold, naturally....

As I paid for my ticket, the student gave me $2.00 change for my $5.00. Nice....

No, not NICE! As I looked at the price, I saw that the admission price was 5$ for adults and 3$ senior citizens. Hmmm....did she charge me the senior citizen price? Moi? A senior citizen? Over 60 years old according to the box office flyer....really....sigh.....Hey, I was wearing my coolest Oakley shades and had orange shoelaces in my Nikes....a senior? Sheesh! Fine...bit I was a very cool senior!

As I sat in the stands....the wind picked up....temperature went down....a bitter cold evening was upon us. A not so perfect evening for baseball....more like hockey...where were the pucks?

Finally the game begins and the big kid is on the mound. He is fearless as he mows down the other team....K, K, K, K, K , and K. He gives up one run. Mind you, it is freezing. I could see during the 5th inning that he was losing his command and knew that it was time to pull him. After all, the last time that he pitched was two weeks ago AND the trainer made him lift yesterday because he has omnipotent power to do what he wants with the athletes.

And so, as the pitchers' battle continued, the opposing team pulled out their starter and added members of their bullpen. Thinking the Czar would do the same thing, I was actually not surprised to see him in the 6th. The Czar never follows protocol.

Oh, by the way....the starting line up consisted with the players who have not seen action most of the year. I could naturally see that the Czar did not expect to pull this game out.

As the kid was losing his grip on the ball due to the weather conditions, he loaded the bases with the help of the shortstop and was taken out of the game.

This was my cue to leave. As I was packing, the Czar was tossed from the game for jabbing the umpire. Classy...very classy....

As I left, my body shook from nerves and the chill. But I was happy that I was there. After all, he pitched brilliantly. He needed to have someone who had his back in the stands and that person was me.

AS I traveled back east, I wanted to go as far as I could last night before stopping. Dad and Tink kept calling me and begged me to stop and spend the night. When I travel along a highway, I try to stay at a Hampton Inn. You know what to expect, they are clean, and you are given breakfast. So, I found a HI outside of Pittsburgh. Guess what? There was no room at the I continued another 30 miles before I found another off the turnpike. As I entered, I asked for a room and all that was left was a handicapped access room. "I'll take it...." As I entered the room, there was a faint smell of urine. I knew that I was going to spend a nominal amount of time in that place and they would make a bundle off of me as I planned to leave around 4 am.

As soon as I woke, I threw on the clothes that I had on the day before and ran out of the room. I needed, wanted, craved a shower, but was not going to undress there. No way!!!

The trip home continued uninterrupted until I finally heard from the big lefty.

"Dude, you were amazing! So proud of you...."

Then he spilled it.....

It was freezing. During the fifth inning, he could NOT feel the ball anymore. Not caring, the Czar left him in the game until he proved that he could no longer throw by loading the bases....

During his warm up, there were a few wayward pitches. Ok, that is what warming up is all about. An athlete warms up their arms and see it in golf with a golf swing, batters swing the bat several times, and tennis players warm up their serves. Obviously, this is not allowed on this team......

The psycho pitching coach screamed at him during warm ups. He screamed, mocked, and humiliated the kid BEFORE he threw the first pitch in the opening inning. Really? Does Freud support this type of motivation? Uh, Dr. Phil...want to chime in on this style of pumping up your guy?
No? No one?


Anyway, he was so terrific. I finally sat back and enjoyed the show. During the game, I am not sure if I was going into a hypothermic coma or what; but I had visions of when he pitched for the first time....when he hit the ball off the plastic tee when he was one...when he was in  a pitchers' battle during the 8th grade CYO championship.....the time when he blew his cork and ripped off his jersey after pitching in legion this what it is like when a person is dying? They see their life flash before their eyes? Well, I was not only seeing my life but the big kid's life too.

With that said.....he claims that he is in pain today since he threw 91 pitches yesterday. The pitching coach screamed at his 6 strike outs. The big guy claimed that it was not his fault that the other team could not hit his pitches. The coach claims that he should always pitch to contact. Oye! I am going to have an ulcer after this season.....

Let me get this right.....Strike outs are bad...hit balls are it.....

Now that I am home, I need to go back to life as I know it and get the work done. Thanks for traveling this road with me.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Traveling solo

Good morning! It's a beautiful day for a road trip. That's right, BPM is on the road today and traveling to her favorite state...Ohi---ooooo!

This is an unusual trip for me since I will not have my trusty companion, Tink riding shot gun. She is working today and we did not know that I was heading out until yesterday so it was to late for her to get the day off. And so, I go...alone.....

The trip should take about 6 hours and the game is located right outside of Cleveland. Why don't I fly? Great question......Here's the answer....$$$$$$$$$

That's it. I could not find a fare less than $700 which seems ridiculous to fly from Philly to Atlanta to Dallas to Cleveland...then rent a car....and so on....So it seems logical to drive since it is an easy turnpike drive.

Yesterday, the big kid was sent a text..."you're pitching on Tuesday. get ready." That's it. A text....nice. Next time, he can find out via post it note. Either way, the communication still stinks.

Am I nervous about the drive? Naw. Been there...done that....I kind of wish that Tink was going, 'cause she is the greatest travel companion.

It goes like this:

Hey Tink...want to stop for Skittles?


Hey Tink, can you grab my chap stick?


Hey Tink, can you open my water bottle?


hey Tink, want Chick fil et for dinner?


Hey Tink, got any granola bars in that bag?


And so on....

Yep, I'll miss my little companion who keeps me enamored by  her tales of the supermarket. "Do you know how you tell if an avocado is ripe?" Yes, not only is she a good traveling buddy, but she also teaches me about produce. And so, I will open my own water bottle, keep the chap stick handy, and have the Skittles close to the driver's seat.

Back to the big guy, I will be in the stands to cheer him on. Sadly, I looked up the opposing team and they are quite good. Really good. And so, he is tested tonight again. No worries. This is what he is living for...the ball...the mound....a team backing him.....deep breath....throw....


Monday, April 21, 2014

Abysmal losses

I'm back! After a beautiful weekend in the mountains with the family, we are back to life and work. I felt bad for the kid. Why?

Well, as you know, he is not the coach's golden boy. From this point on, I call the coach, the Czar....for multiple reasons. First, a Czar is not necessarily clear headed and often will not admit that he is wrong, ever.

On to the weekend games....

The team played a conference rival that was 'not that good' but the home team made them look like the Yankees. There was plenty of hitting but the pitching did not hold up. Hmmm.....did the kid get to throw? Well, if you consider throwing out the trash in the bullpen to be throwing, then the answer is 'yes'; he threw.

After Saturday's loss (and I have to say...a wonderful spring day....), guys continued to walk up to him and question why he was not pitching. Why indeed? The only thought was that the coach was saving him for the Sunday start....yes? Uh, no....

The starter partied the night before the noon game. In fact, most of the guys partied on Saturday night since the locker room smelled like beer and vodka pre game. So, if the pitchers and players are drinking until the wee hours of the morning, what kind of shape are they when the game begins? And so, the question was answered in the pre game warm ups when the pitcher could not find the plate. He was yanked mercifully after 4 innings, with the score 1-4. Did the big lefty enter? uh, no, a decent freshman got the ball....then they called the right fielder in to pitch an inning....then....OK, you get it. He did not dirty his uniform.

After the game, rather than heading home, we stayed to celebrate Tink's birthday together. As we chatted, the kid mentioned that he really does not understand it. In fact, he continues to strike out their number one guy in practice who is batting .380. The other day when he struck him out (again), the coach did not believe it and grabbed the ball to see if it had been doctored. Then he questioned the catcher who acknowledged that it was indeed a strike and the super star fanned out again at the hands of the benched pitcher.

Why doesn't the coach like the big guy? No one knows, especially his team mates. However, dad suggested that he approaches the coach on Wednesday after they return from Ohio and ask him: "Coach, why don't you like me?" This will put him on the defensive and he will have to have the answer.

After the game yesterday when the Czar generally screams, he said to the starting pitcher that he gave a gutsy performance (with a horrific hangover) and would definitely give him the ball again. As my kid looked at the coach with quizzical eyes, he saw the reason for the Czar's calm demeanor, there was a recruit in the locker room. As such, the Czar was on his best behavior to demonstrate how he is not all about winning but about education. Such a hypocrite.

With that said, the Czar recently celebrated his 300th win. My son reported that the teams that he has beaten were as good as a bad high school team. Therefore, any team that could actually throw a ball would defeat the team, even if Ray Charles was pitching and Stevie Wonder was the catcher.

Last week during a press conference, the coach mentioned his 300 wins and said that it was no big deal, but he continued to reference it, when no one was asking.

Now comes the moment of truth. Tomorrow the team heads for Ohio for a mid week game. Will the big lefty be given the ball? Who is left after the weekend? If he does not pitch, not only will the team, but the student body may revolt. After all, they can see what the Czar continues to dismiss. That is, this guy is good. He can throw. Does he have bad days? The answer is absolutely, but this guy refuses to develop him and allow him to help the team. In fact, it seems that the Czar would rather lose a game or ten rather than admit that the big lefty in he line up could be helpful.

Therefore, tonight at 6 pm, I will do what I do not want to do. And that is listen to his radio show to find out what the heck. Yep, he has his own radio show. The only start that my son received was announced on the radio show. The Czar never told him until three hours before the game. Fortunately, Tonto has been listening to the radio show the previous night and gave the kid a heads up. Sadly, the Czar loathes the kid so much that he refuses to even text him to prepare him for a start unless he feels that the lefty would psyche himself out if he knew. Stupid.

Remember the best revenge is to live well..... After all, according to Lady Gaga: he is on the edge....But John Fogerty says it best: "Put me in coach, I'm ready to play."


Well, a-beat the drum and hold the phone
The sun came out today
We're born again, there's new grass on the field
A-roundin' third and headed for home
It's a brown-eyed handsome man
Anyone can understand the way I feel

Oh, put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Look at me, I can be centerfield

Well, I spent some time in the Mudville Nine
Watching it from the bench
You know I took some lumps, when the mighty Case struck out
So say hey, Willie, tell the Cobb
And Joe DiMaggio
Don't say it ain't so, you know the time is now

Oh, put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Look at me, I can be centerfield

Yeah, I got it, I got it

Got a beat-up glove, a home-made bat
And a brand new pair of shoes
You know I think it's time to give this game a ride
Just to hit the ball, and touch 'em all
A moment in the sun
It's a-gone and you can tell that one good-bye

Oh, put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Look at me (yeah), I can be centerfield

Oh, put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Look at me, gotta be, centerfield
Yeah u

Ok, I have to finish laundry and get to work. Time waits for no one.