It’s been no secret that I have been struggling at the beginning of this season, and I was searching for something to get me going in the right direction. I started to feel little better when I made a transition to the bullpen, where I was able to throw more frequently so I was able to work on my mechanics and feel more confident with them in game situations. I started to feel better about how everything was feeling, when the least expected thing happened to me.
My roommate came barging in my “room” and I use the ” ” because my room consisted of me blocking off a portion of the living room with black sheets so that I could have a little privacy. So my roommate came through my “door” and told me that I had to call the manager immediately. When I was told that, I asked if he knew anything and of course he didn’t so I called him with a million things running through my mind. He told me to pack my stuff because I needed to get on the road to Syracuse as fast as I could. With a million questions running through my mind, the only thing that I could think of to say was thank you and “am i up there for good or is this a short term?” I obviously knew the answer being “I have no idea” which no-one really does, because this is such a fickle industry and it is based on performance.
Before my managers words could even sink in, I hung up the phone and proceeded to fill every plastic bag, suitcase, and box that I could get my hands on. As quickly and oddly efficiently as I could get everything packed, I got my entire life together packed it into my roommate’s car. He drove me to the field, where i was met by the trainer who had my travel plans for me which had me returning a teammates car and then picking up a rental car of my own and driving it for hours to make the game in Syracuse.
I tried calling everyone and anyone that was close to me on that drive (using a Bluetooth, don’t txt or talk and drive!!!) trying to answer everyone’s question as best as I could but it all seemed everyone had more questions that I had answers. The drive seemed to take about 20 minutes because my head was spinning about a thousand miles an hour and I was thinking of grateful and blessed I was to be blessed to be in this position and have this opportunity. In this game there is a lot of luck that is factored in you make it to the big leagues, not only do you have to be good but you have to be good at the right time and when you get an opportunity you have to make are you take 100% advantage of it, and I knew this is what I had to do with this one especially since I faltered out of the gates in AA.
One of the first people that I called was my girlfriend, but she was embarking on a journey of her own. I was able to convince her that she should come spend the summer with me, living with me while I was playing baseball for the summer and she was in the middle of her drive as I was promoted. I called her and told her that she needed to re-route and drive an extra six hours to come to Syracuse. I felt incredibly bad for her, because she was already coming from the south so she already drove an extremely long way but her first reaction was that of complete and utter enthusiasm for me and just telling me how proud she was, and at that time I was extremely grateful that she was coming because this was the first time that I was promoted in the middle of the season at any level and I was a little bit nervous going into a new city but I knew she would be with me so it calmed me down a lot.
By the time I got everything together in my apartment and in my locker in Harrisburg, running to the airport and finally hitting the road, I left around 1:30pm to start my journey to Syracuse. Pulling into the stadium with about 45 minutes until game time, I rushed into the stadium to find a familiar face in the coaches office, that of Randy Knorr. Randy was my coach when I came over from the Texas Rangers and was assigned to Harrisburg so it was a little bit of a calming affect too seeing him. He explained to me my rolls in the bullpen and how things were being run, and with a few short words I was out of the office trying to find my locker and get acclimated with my new team. I got too my locker and set my stuff down, and a familiar number was staring at me in the face, the 40 gleaming at me on the back of the home whites with “Tatusko” above the number. With a slight smirk on my face and a deep breath, I put on my first AAA jersey and headed out to the bullpen with an extra kick in my step.
The game wasn’t going exactly how we planned it on paper, and when the starter hit his pitch count limit, the team on the wrong end of the score the manager and pitching coach decided that it was time for this guy to be thrown in the fire. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Jogging in from the bullpen mound to the game mound, the only thing I could think of was too not walk the first guy I faced but the thought of that was silenced the butterfly’s in my stomach and my knees knocking. Thankfully everything went well, and I got the through the eighth inning against the best hitting team in the league without any harm and managed to sprinkle in a few strikeouts in the inning. Coming off the mound, I acted like it was all business for me as usual and that it didn’t faze me too be out there, but the little kid on the inside with his grass stained baseball pants, his hat four sizes too big had the biggest smile on his face. He too was reflecting on what it was like to be in the “minors” at eleven years old and being asked to play in the “majors” (14+ age), being able to pitch an inning and getting an ego-boosting strikeout. Sitting in the dugout, among the slaps on the leg and the “great jobs” that’s where my mind and heart were, on that sun scorched little league field with my dad in the dugout. It felt good to be in that place again, as it was the first time I have been there in a long while…….
Until next time readers…….