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24 Hour Game Diary Pt 5

Saturday, October 18, 2003
8:30 am
Arizona time (Pacific)

Ow. Ow. Ow. Well, if I thought I might be less tired and less sore today… I was wrong. If I felt yesterday like I had been hit by a car, today I feel like I was run over by a monster truck. Repeatedly. My feet are very sore, worse than they get for a trade show. My head hurts, and my stomach is a bit queasy. My roomie from Colorado thinks that might be a touch of altitude sickness. I don’t have many individual muscles sore so much as I feel just like my entire body is gassed. It’s very odd, because I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way before. I feel sort of like I spent the day moving thousands of fifty pound rocks–except that I didn’t.

Oh well, time to try some more hot water and ibuprofen. Or maybe I should switch to Tylenol.

I’m going to hobble downstairs and grab some breakfast. Then it will be time to pack up and head to the field.

***

3:30 pm

Well, I was the last player to the field today, so I ended up with an extra large size jersey, which was all that was left. As usual, the larger the jersey the higher the number, so I took number 55. (Matsui’s number.) Given the way I played in left, though, I probably should have taken Manny Ramirez’ number. It was a track meet out there. The only ball that was close to me was just beyond my reach and rolled to the wall. Then there was a high pop fly, deep but foul… except that it bounced right on the chalk and rolled into the corner, where it stopped dead instead of bouncing back to me… inside the park home run! I wonder who ran further, the batter or me? And then there was a line single that took one bounce and went right past me, to the track. All in the same inning. Pant, pant, pant.

I’m telling this out of order though. Let me back up to the beginning of the game. My squad played in the very first shift. In the first inning, I got up to bat (I’m batting seventh in the order) with two out, two runs in and men (women?) on second and third. I had a long at bat–facing Nicky Helms, the lefty pitcher from my team in Pawtucket! First time I’ve ever seen her from the batter’s box. She throws hard, but she threw two wild pitches at my feet, and they both brought runs in. So then the bases were empty. I had a nice rip–oh it felt good–but the first baseman (basewoman?) snared it! Argh! It did get me a nice high five from Weeks, though. An inning later he comes over to me and says “a foot or two either way and that’s a hit, nice rip.” It sounds a little silly, but the handshakes and backslaps from teammates, even when I make out, really make me feel good.

We’ve got two coaches, one All American Girl, Jeneane Lesko (nee DesCombes), and one Live the Dream coach–ours is currently Weeks (Chris Weekly) who I think I mentioned before. (Or maybe I just mentioned him as part of the group of “hot” guys…) If I am remembering Weeks’ story right, he’s currently a minor league free agent hoping to hook on with a team, and working with Kevan at Live the Dream this offseason.

Anyway, the inning where I ran all over the place really gassed me. My next two at bats I felt like I could hardly get the bat going, and I struck out both times. Once was with the bases loaded and no outs, and I could have taken a pitch in the shoulder. But I thought as she fired it in, hmm, if I get hit in the shoulder now, it’s going to hurt this entire 24 hour game… so I hit the dirt to make it a full count, then swung and missed the next one. Argh.

Then I played two innings at second base and the one chance I had to make a play was this. We had two outs and runners on the corners. The shortstop tells me: if it comes to me I’m going to give it to you at second for the force. She motions me about four or five steps toward second. The next ball hit is a grounder between first and second. I ran all out to my glove side and dove and rolled, just missed it. If I had stayed in position, I probably make that play–whoops. Ah well. When I came into the dugout Jeneane asked “were you leaning toward second?” “Yeah.” “With two outs, play more in the middle next time. You can’t anticipate a play at second.” “Okey doke, coach.” Learn something new every day. Now I grass stains on my pants though, which I think is kind of cool.

My shift is now over for the moment, and I’m in the clubhouse typing this. The third squad is about to take over. I’m about to tell this even more out of order though. Let’s back up to this morning.

When I took the shuttle this morning to the field, I was on the last bus over. I had lost my glasses inside the room somewhere. I am wearing my contacts, of course, but I wanted to give my eyes a rest at some points, so I thought, I’ll bring the glasses. I also brought dry undershirts, clean clothes, shampoo, the computer, etc… practically everything. After I packed, I could not find the glasses. I unpacked everything, still nothing. Eventually, just when I had given up, I saw them on top of the TV cabinet. I must have stuck them up there without thinking about it.

In the shuttle over, I rode with Fleming. At some point I mentioned how much I was hurting, and he asked Lonnie Alley, who was driving, to stop at the Circle K and he bought me two Powerades. Even though I was pissing clear and often at that point, he said I probably needed to replace electrolytes and not just water. He must have been right because the green Powerade tasted great! Thanks, Doc!

I’m now drinking my second one, as I’m starting to feel a bit queasy again. I grabbed a sandwich about an hour ago and took some ibuprofen. I still feel as weak as water, but my body doesn’t ache quite so much. On the other hand my knees and my elbow tendon hurt from playing…

All right, back up, let me tell you about the very beginning of the game. The sky is a completely clear blue, and it is very very hot today. The two teams are the African Gray Birds (in gray shirts) and the Red-Eyed Nites. I’m on the red team. We’re the home team, in white pants and black hats. The Grays are in gray pants with a black hat with gray bill. We lined up with us along the third base line and them along the first base line. Rob made a short speech, some players sang the national anthem along with the organist and a young player named April Poe who played the sax. I and most of my teammates sang, too. (April is here with her mom Debbie Russell–they drove all the way here in a red convertible from Alabama. Hot damn!)

Then Ted threw out the first pitch (he bounced it) and we took the field. And the overwhelming feeling I had as we took the field was: we belong here. This field is ours. For the next twenty four hours, this is our turf.

Is that what guys feel like when they make the majors? Or even the minors? I just felt like, wow, I’ve made it.

I’d feel even better now, of course, if I’d gotten that hit or caught one of those balls, but I’m not really that worried about it. I have a bunch more at bats coming to me at 8pm, and again at 2am.

Oh yeah, last I looked, the score was 14-8 Grays. But that was two hours ago. Ah, someone just told me it’s 26-16 Grays.

(Did you enjoy reading this blog entry? Please consider buying me a hot dog.)

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