I Know That Guy – 4/24/12
I am still here in Dunedin. I am getting really close to leaving, though. My arm is bouncing back quicker each time I throw. I am pitching more often and for longer. On Thursday, I threw 2 innings for the first time this year. I am finishing up my rehab throwing program before heading out to a full-season team. This is the wonderful world of Extended Spring Training. It is a place where you forget about a baseball season because all of us are stuck in an unending Spring Training. Our days look just like Spring Training, practice in the morning and games in the afternoon. Although, now we have Sundays off, which is looked forward to with much anticipation. The soreness that I have been describing is fading with every day even as I increase my workload. The thing that hasn’t been so great is my consistency in my pitching. I haven’t been throwing many strikes. I haven’t been consistent with my cutter or my changeup. This is rather frustrating and not much fun. It is a bummer when I have to compete against myself, just trying to throw the ball close to where I want it with the type of movement I want. I think this will come, though. As with any rehab and throwing program, progress is made through practice and patience. I can’t throw with a full-season throwing program because my arm cannot take it yet (I’m close though). As I get stronger, I am throwing more in between my outings and I’m getting the chance to work on my pitches again. I’m reestablishing the feel. I remember watching some of the great relievers in the game when I was up with the A’s and they threw a flatground everyday to establish that feel. A flatground is a short time of pitching right at the end of your throwing program. Your throwing partner, or if you’re lucky a catcher, will crouch down as a catcher and you will practice your pitches. I really enjoy throwing flatgrounds and finding the feel of my pitches. I am looking forward to joining a full-season team soon and I look forward to getting that feel of my pitches that comes with repetition and practice.
It’s amazing how many guys I know are now in the big leagues. A few of my former teammates have made it to the big leagues recently. And you know what, I have had short periods of envy, jealousy. It’s amazing how we can see someone’s good fortune and immediately we are tempted to be bitter about our situation. We can stew about things that have gone wrong, how things aren’t quite coming together, dwell upon the things that are holding us back. In my heart I’m thinking, “How cool is this, I’m so happy for these guys that they get to experience the thrill of playing the best baseball in the world and are getting paid.” But in my mind, I think, “This isn’t fair, I should be there,” and I am tempted to be bitter and mad. We can always find ways in which our lives are not matching up to what we want or have imagined. Where does my bitterness come from? It comes from wanting something that someone else has. It comes from striving for something. When the thing we want doesn’t happen, we become disappointed, frustrated, sad, or mad. God’s goals for us are that we Love God with all our heart, mind, strength and that we love our neighbor as ourselves. We get distracted from His goals by things like jobs, success, athletics, looks, illness, relationships, etc. The damage done is not through the success or failure in these areas, but by how they affect our relationship with God and with other people. The struggle we should be undertaking is not for our health and wealth, but can we demonstrate God’s love towards others through our lives in every circumstance. I have had parents and kids who come up to me after hearing my story about being cut in high school and tell me that I am an inspiration. They have always dreamed of playing College baseball or playing Professional baseball or playing in the Major leagues. To them I reply, “Playing high level baseball is fun, but sometimes the best thing ever is to get exactly what you have always dreamed of because you will still be unsatisfied.” The gifts and pleasures we have here on earth are a dim sample of the treasure God is. He created all of the good things we have here on earth so that we can have a glimpse of our great Father and know that one day we will get to be in His presence. That is our treasure. That is our dream. That makes me forget my bitterness. That makes me happy for the enjoyment that my friends and teammates are getting by playing the best baseball in the world. That makes me pray that my friends and teammates enjoy baseball and recognize the One who gave us all our good gifts. He is our good gift. I am so thankful for Him. “Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does not satisfy? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good, You will enjoy the finest food. Come to me with your ears wide open, Listen, and you will find life, I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.” (Isaiah 55:2-3 NLT)