Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ridiculous Day

Well, on the bright side, it didn't rain.  However, when I got to the field for my start I realized we only had 9 guys, including me.  I had to hit, and I knew that after I threw I would have to play the field.  I threw 5 innings and my pitch count was up.  During the entire game, it seemed like I had no rest.  I would throw, hit and go right back out.  I was dead tired.  The fastball had no velocity and every ball fell in the outfield due to us having pitchers playing the field.  I'm not blaming them, I'm blaming the other players who decided to take the day off.  It hurt our entire team, and made all of us look bad.

This is what frustrates me more than anything, lack of effort.  I was out there playing positions I haven't played in 6 years and hitting.  I went 1 for 4 with an RBI single.  I did the best I could, and that was that.  Those players who decided to be lazy or "hurt" have to live knowing they're not giving 100%.  Statistically, it wasn't my best game, but I gave all the effort I could and had as much fun as I could.

I'm probably gonna head home for this week, and come back next week for my start.  I'll have about 3 weeks left when I get back and it'll be good to see my family and such.  I need a break from this place.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Well, today was rather slow to get going. I chose to sleep in until noon.  I lifted anyway, and got a decent workout in so it's not all that bad.  It rained rather hard for about 20 minutes and the field we were supposed to play on is probably under water.  As a pitcher, I don't need to attend every game, which is nice considering some of the fields are an hour plus away.

My teammates are getting ready to leave, probably only to turn around in a half hour and come back due to the rain.  I'm going to find food and such to busy my day up.  I'll start looking at rosters as well for my start on Saturday.  If it gets rained out again I'm going to cry myself to sleep.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Student Loan Day....

Today was that infamous day that I had to apply for a student loan for the next school year.  If you haven't gone through this process, it's basically the same feeling as bashing your head against the nearest desk.  I called up the company and went through the validation process, which was unnecessarily too long.  Once I got on the phone with an actual human, she of course had an indecipherable accent.  I went through the application process without killing anyone and finally got through it.  On the bright side, I don't need an excessive amount of money due to the scholarships I receive academically.

Today was pretty much the same as any other day.  I woke up, worked out and ate.  Now I'm doing my daily post trying to get out some stress.  I'll probably follow this up with some music and Xbox Live.  It's always fun to take out my frustrations on Call of Duty and the 13 year-olds on Summer vacation.  I don't have much more to write about right now.  Here's a video I've been watching a lot lately.  Makes me feel better at times.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solid Tuesday

Today started off like most days here, with us in the weight room.  I love getting up relatively early and getting a great workout in and still having all afternoon to do whatever I need to do.  My suite mates are helping me immensely.  I've put on about 6 pounds in the past 4 weeks or so.  My goal is to gain a pound a week, and it's going very well.  I'm on a better diet and I'm focusing on getting stronger every day.  It's coming through on the mound as well, as I feel a bit more behind the baseball when I throw.

Our team played one of the better teams in the league today, and ended up losing 5-1.  Our pitcher threw pretty well, but a couple home runs made the difference.  With kids from UNC and big name schools, we have to keep the ball down in small ballparks such as the one we played at tonight.

I start this upcoming Saturday, so I'll begin to look at rosters, stats, and such to break down how I want to attack this team.  I have a lot of confidence right now, so that should come through and help me throw a solid outing.  For now, I'm off to half-price appetizers at Applebee's for a late dinner, should be delicious.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday Doubleheader

Yesterday we played a 2 game set.  I showed up for Game 2 as I was in relief.  Game 1 went really well and we ended up beating the team pretty badly, something like 12-1.

Our Game 2 starter did extremely well, as all our starters do.  I came into the game in the 5th inning with 2 outs and got the batter to fly out to center after the previous batter hit one over our shortstop.  I went into the 6th inning and started a kid off with a walk.  I'm struggling with accuracy due to the lack of flat work away from the game, I'm getting my suitemates to work on that with me so I can stay sharp.  I struck the next kid out on a fastball that froze him on the corner.  My arm felt pretty alive yesterday and I felt like I was throwing hard, which isn't usually the case.  The next kid flew out to right and we actually doubled the kid up at first, but the umpire decided to not watch the play.  I battled the next kid for honestly 13 pitches, he fouled everything off to the right side.  I fooled him with a splitter low and away, but the zone just wasn't there for the home plate umpire either.  Runners on first and second, and I got the next kid to fly out to center.  1 hit, no runs, and a strikeout isn't too bad a day for me.

I start this Saturday, and will not be able to make it home for my brother's graduation party now.  On the bright side, I finally get to start a game, but won't be able to see my friends or family at the party.  I guess this is the price I pay for going 350 miles away to play baseball.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday Night

Last night was pretty much a chill night, as are most of our nights. We were bored after hours of video games and eating, so we decided to go to a movie.

We went to the 11:40 pm showing of The Hangover 2. If you haven't seen it, it's the first Hangover in a different country. It was a decent laugh and after the day I had it was a mood fixer. Today we just hungout and went to Chipotle. I have a double header tomorrow and I will most likely see some work in relief until I know when my next start is. Hopefully soon.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Win Today

Today I was in the bullpen. I was told I'd be needed for 2 innings and possibly more. Our starter threw really well and by the 4th inning his pitch count was getting up around our team's limit. I hate pitch count, but in this league we try to get everyone work. I went to warm up in the bottom of the 4th and was in the next inning.

I walked the leadoff batter. I hate uttering those words but it happened. After a few hits and 2 awful calls in the field I gave up 3 runs. Not happy, I then realize our pitchers are hitting tonight due to a lack of players. We're now down one run and I'm up to bat. I worked myself into a 2-2 count against a D1 kid. I smoked the next pitch into right field. Opposite field hit. I continued to score a run and tied the game up.

The next 2 innings went smoothly and we were leading by 4 when I came out of the game. My first hit in 2 years got me a victory in a college-level game. Not a bad night

I'm writing this on my phone as we have a 1.5 hour drive back to our place. I'm pretty happy about tonight. Even though I struck out to a lefty throwing 90 the next at bat. Oh well. I got the win.

Relief Work Last Night

Last night, I arrived at the field we were playing on and instantly discovered that there was a major key item missing.  A bullpen.  Being in relief for that game, I was pretty upset.  However, I went through my normal pregame; stretching, joking, jogging, throwing, joking, sitting.  Our starter threw a decent first few innings.  He gave up a lot of balls and wasn't working ahead in the count, but got out of jams.  Our second reliever threw just as well.  By this point, I began to realize the number of pitchers we had on hand.  I was called over by my coach and asked if I could sit this night out and be in first relief tomorrow (tonight).  I figured, "I'm already sitting, so why not?"

However, by the time our 3rd reliever came in, his pitch count was getting rather high.  I was told to stretch out and start throwing, with no bullpen.  I threw about 30 balls to get loose and spun a few off speeds to get a feel for my pitches, and of course we go 1-2-3 at the plate.  I was in.  I was told I was only going to pitch to two batters so we could get our closer some work as well.  I worked the first batter to a 3-2 count and got him to lazily fly out on a two-seamer inside which he fisted.  The second batter should have struck out as I put a two-seamer by him twice.  I went with slider in and he lazily flew out to left as well.

That was the extent of my time on the mound last night,  I was pretty happy with the performance being as it was the first time on a mound at all during the game.  I'm in long relief tonight and will surely see an inning plus.  I'm excited as the team we're playing won the entire league last year.  Should be a fun competitive game.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Game Today. Finally!

It feels like it's been forever since I've been to a baseball game. With Sunday's games being cancelled, I've pretty much just been lifting and hanging out.  Tonight it should be a perfect night for baseball.  Playing under the lights is always fun no matter what game you're playing.  I expect to throw one or two innings tops tonight as we have a lot of arms that need some work in.  I've been keeping loose by throwing outside on our quad and doing a lot of band work.  I really can't wait to throw tonight.  I'll most likely post later tonight with how the game went and such.  Until then, I'm off to find food.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chilly Today

Hey all, pretty cold today as the sun doesn't want to come out.  Just got done at the gym and my room mate put me through a pretty solid rotator cuff band workout.  We're going to do this about twice a week and hopefully it will put some good velocity on my fastball.  My arm feels great after doing it and I can tell the tendons are getting stronger with each workout.

Tomorrow we play a night game and apparently I'm in the bullpen for this one.  Most likely, I'll get two innings tops.  I'll make the best of it and get some work in along with some side work in the bullpen working on keeping my mechanics in line.  Can't wait to throw.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good Day Today

Today was a solid day.  Had a great workout in the gym.  One of those workouts where your entire body feels great after.  The suitemates and I followed it up with a game of wiffleball outside our building.  Good youth fun.  Tomorrow should be good as we're working out and heading to the beach if the weather allows for it.  It was cloudy all day.  Hopefully I can get some tan going again.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Start Cancelled

Well, I woke up at 8:30 am with the intent of throwing game 2 of my double header only to find out that it rained through the night.  Our games were cancelled.  This is extremely frustrating to me as I have about a 36-hour pre game mentally.  I take my starts pretty seriously as it's the only time I see the field as a player.

To fill the day out, my suitemates and I were going to lift over at the field house only to realize that it closed at 1 pm on Sundays.  Not too happy about that, we searched for a gym somewhat near us.  We found one 15 miles away.  It worked out really nicely as the owner didn't even make us pay as long as we helped get his name out to people.  Elite Fitness Center in New Jersey is a damn fine establishment.

Other than that, I'd like to congratulate my brother Ryan on graduating high school today.  Wish I could have been there to see him walk, partly because there's a shot he would have tripped.  He knows what this game means to me and he's fine with me missing a ceremony.  We had our good times together in high school and that's more important to him.

Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who's called or texted me regarding this blog.  Especially the post yesterday.  I think it's something everyone needed to know as I'm kind of tired of telling the story, and I needed to get some feelings out.  Have a safe weekend everyone.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


This post is going to be a little different from the others as it won't focus primarily on my actions or sports, but my beliefs.  What I should say first is that there are few things that hurt me to be 7 hours away and actually consider feeling guilty for being so far away.  Over the past year, our family has endured it all.  Last August, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer for the second time in her life.

First, you need to have an understanding on my mother's attitude in her day to day life.  She believes in tough love.  This attitude has taught me more in my lifetime than any class or "teacher" could preach.  It taught me hard work, respect, as well as humor.  Throughout her treatments, every morning (before work) at 6 am, she kept the most incredible attitude I've ever witnessed in a human being.  I would call her after school (my senior year of high school at the time) and see how her day went.  Her response usually being, "Yeah, I'm fine, when's your next game?"  It was incredible.  It's almost impossible to put into words what that span of time taught me in life.  Her attitude was the single most important thing to her eventual clear tests of the cancer.  Unfortunately, this wasn't the only thing thrown at us during the year.

2 months ago, my grandmother passed away.  She lived a great life, and though it was unexpected, we knew she was where she wanted to be.  With my grandfather.  After my family mourned this death, I get a call from my mother once I go back to school.  I was working on a paper and pick up the phone.  My mother had her "quiet voice."  This is never good.  "Are you sitting down?"  Again.  Usually not good.  "We found a lump in your brother's shoulder, we don't know what it is but he's going to need to go in for testing next week."

For anyone reading this who knows my brother and my relationship.  This was not good.  My brother is hands down my best friend and always will be on this Earth and any life hereafter.  We are essentially the same person.  We laugh at everything sacred enough to be laughed at and together, humbly of course, are two of the funniest people one can encounter.  If something happens to him, I want it to happen to me instead.

He went in for testing and they stated it was a tumor on his collar bone.  This could be caused by many things.  Leukemia, lymphoma, bone spurs, etc.  None of them good.  It's never, "We found a tumor, but it's made out of Jolly Rancher so that's gonna be super delicious."  I was at practice towards the end of the college season and see that there's a missed call from my mother on my phone.  She knew I was at practice.  After practice, of course I called her.  Again, "Are you sitting down?"  I was in the locker room with about 5 other teammates.

"Your brother has lymphoma.  He's going to need treatment but he should be fine."


My mother asks, "Are you ok?"
"He'll be fine, Ron, do you want to talk to him?"

I partly didn't.

"You okay dude?" Good question Ron, very convincing.
"Yeah, I'll be fine don't worry."

It's again impossible to state the optimistic attitude of my brother throughout this endeavor as well.  He went in to have the tumor removed the week after.  Naturally, I came home for this, 3 classes can go to hell if they think I'm missing my brother's surgery.  I walked in to the waiting room to find most of my family, as well as our best friend Marshall waiting around for whatever results were coming.

Before I continue, I need to focus on the actual title of this post.  Faith.  I'm going to be straightforward here.  I don't know if there is God.  No one does.  Throughout this process surely I prayed, but it wasn't so "Ryan would be fine" or "Heal him please savior."  I simply asked Him or Her or Whatever to make sure these surgeons removed the damn thing without ruining his motor functions in his arm.  Let's take this one step at a time people.  No one has magically just not had cancer without a misdiagnosis.  That's like trying to finish a marathon with no training, but hey we prayed right?  This is pretty much my stance.  I'm going to poke fun at all I can to keep my spirits up.  Sounds shallow?  It is.

About 15 minutes later, the surgeon comes out of the "fixing people area."  He stated that it was not actually a "tumor," but a big ugly sac of blood on his collar bone.  Completely benign.  He stayed in surgery another 2 hours until we could see him.  This would be one of the single funniest moments of my human life.

I walk back to where he was set up with monitors and wires and whatever else they chose to hook up to his body.  Marshall and I ask him how he's feeling and he states,

"My tumor was benignant."

Now, I don't know if it was the massive amount of drugs they had this kid on, or just his comedic nature to make stuff up to be funny, but I teared up laughing.  He then continued to feel sorry for himself because, "Chicks loved me when they thought I had cancer."  Of course he could no longer play that card.

So this was the extent of my brother and my mother's cancer.  I guess the main point I want to preach to as many people as I can is this:  It doesn't matter how religious or even what religion, if at all, you are.  Laugh as much as you possibly can.  Nothing in life is sacred, nothing is free of satire.  Why spend this little time we have here feeling sorry for something that has happened.  If I'm ever in a horrible situation and have limited time left on this Earth, I'll be honest, I don't want your prayers.  Come make me laugh.  Please.  It's the one thing on this Earth I will never turn away.  I'm not saying tell God to make sure not to help me, but don't make praying your main method of attack in the war.

Laughter is the one thing here that everyone can relate to, unfortunately fewer and fewer people understand that today.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Day

Okay, so I just woke up.  Big deal.  It's noon-something and my suitemates came in with homemade breakfast.  Today is a better day.  We're going to workout then get ready for our games later.  I'll most likely throw a bullpen and I'll try to get an inning, but have no clue if that will happen.  I'd throw everyday if I could.  I don't love the relief role, but I am very effective as a reliever.  I just love throwing really.  This will be a short post as nothing has really happened today.  Probably because I just woke up.  Stay hot, Ron.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Away from Home

I'm not going to sugar coat anything.  Today kinda sucked.  I woke up late and had a job interview at 2:30. I nailed the interview, but there might not be enough open hours to give me any work.  I don't NEED a job, but I do need something to kill time.  By the time I got back to the room, I was in a "pissy mood" as my mother calls it.  It's not that I can't mentally take being away from home, it doesn't bother me.  It was just one of those days where every little thing sets me off and I end up taking it out on myself.  I ended up in the weight room trying to de-stress.  I just have to accept that some days are gonna be a little rough mentally and all I can do is continue to work hard.

Tomorrow is a new day and I'm going to start it off right by continuing my workout and throwing a bullpen or two at my game.  With my next start being Sunday, I need to start mentally preparing tomorrow for me to be satisfied with my effort by the weekend.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


A lot of people look at me on game day or in the weight room and say, "You look like you want to kill somebody." This isn't entirely true, if true at all.  Let's back track:

It's my Freshman year of high school and I've just finished playing Pony League baseball, age 14.  I'm skinny with no muscle on me, but tall.  I go out for the Freshman baseball team and end up starting every game, either in the outfield, first base, or pitching.  At the end of the season my coach says, "I didn't even think you were good enough to make it, let alone play every game."

This is the moment I always think back to. "Not good enough."  This is why I have this look every time I take the mound and every minute I put in in the weight room.  I want to prove to everyone that I am good enough to play this game.  Most of all, I want to prove this to myself.  I've had unlimited support from my family and close friends, but some just see me as a tall skinny kid who has an "ok" fastball and decent off speed stuff.  This is why I'm pushing myself so much.  I didn't get any offers to play under scholarship out of high school.  I made college baseball happen for myself.  I never got first team all-conference in high school, yet I had the best record out of anyone in my four years.  I'm used to this kind of thinking, and it's what gets me excited to play this game every day.  I wake up and think about my goal, I go to bed thinking about my goal.  When I'm taking tests, I'm thinking about it.  Even when I'm sleeping I'm dreaming about it.  This game means more to me than anything.  It's how I want to support my family, and it's how I want my kids to learn hard work someday.

I guess the main point I'm trying to make is that I don't care how distant a dream playing baseball after college is.  I have four years in college to become the best player/person I can become.  If it happens, I did it for myself, with no help from "who I know."  And I know there will be people who read this and chuckle, because I still am underweight or "not talented enough."  Honestly, I'd laugh in their face if given the chance.  Only I have control of how long I will play this game, and I'm going to do everything in my power to play it as long as I can.  If there's kids reading this, do what makes you happy for as long as you can.  Do everything you can to extend that time you've been given.  I can't imagine waking up and not being able to play.  I don't want that day to come for a very long time.  And this is why I work my a** off.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Successful First Start

I had my first start for my summer league team today.  With the amount of pitching that we have, I'm grateful to be a starter as a Freshman in this league.  It does, however, limit the amount of pitches our starters are able to throw.  We need to work everyone in, so starters get about 4 innings or 85 pitches.  I threw 4 innings today to a good-hitting ball team.  After I was done, I had 5 strikeouts and gave up 2 hits for 2 runs.  I was very happy with those numbers as some of these kids are no-doubters for the draft whenever they're eligible.  Every pitch felt great and my velocity is picking up as well.  Working out every day is definitely showing on the field.  I threw to this team just like I would any other team, working fastballs inside and soft stuff away to freeze hitters.  This worked out extremely well, as I gave up only 2 hits.  One being on a terrible hop due to an undragged field.  In a league like this, a pitcher needs to work inside as much as possible.  I hit one kid (the pitch was actually a strike) by working a Splitter inside on an 0-2 count.  Things like that happen, and overall I was very satisfied with the result of my day.  Now, it's another week in the weight room and I'll be ready for my next start.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

First Start Tomorrow

Well, it's Saturday and the suite decided to sleep in.  Rightfully so because we've been hitting the weights hard every morning and it's taken a toll over the week.  I'm taking the day off today for my start tomorrow. I'm very excited to throw, as well as coming off my Freshman year and already being a starter in this league, there's a lot of talent. A LOT.  My approach for tomorrow will be the same as any other start, attack batters and get them confused quickly.  I know enough from my coaching over these past few years to know how to really exploit batters and make effective pitches at the right time.  With wood bats, good pitches will be rewarded with weak slaps and loopy fly balls.  This is unlike the metal bat situation where a terrible swing could be a double up the line.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First Game Last Night

Last night, I went to the first game with my summer league team.  Essentially, I was just showing up to get my uniform and get a bullpen or two in to stay crisp.  Our starting pitcher threw a good outing and one horrid inning led to an 11 run loss.  Pretty much all I could do was shrug my shoulders and look forward to my start on Sunday.  We played my roommate's team last night and we play them twice Sunday, so that should lead to some good competition.  I'm applying to jobs and working my tail off every day in the weight room to put as much velocity as I can on the fastball.  It's nice working out around Division 1 football players to get some motivation to get stronger.  It's definitely something everyone needs from time to time.  Above is a picture of part of the Monmouth campus.  The place is unbelievable.