Countdown #1: Five Days to go…

In five days, I will attend a tryout with the St. Paul Saints. On Thursday, April 29th, I will arrive at Midway Stadium to register around 8am–with the tryout beginning at 9am. I have little idea what to expect. I will bring my glove, my cleats, and will wear a pair of old baseball pants. I won’t bring a bat, since I can’t hit and the Saints’ league uses the DH rule (phew). My friend Grant Dawson has agreed to come, and will capture some of the 32-year old action on video.
Contrary to what I expected, the last week in Birmingham has been a real boon to my baseball playing. Not only did my family and I take a inspiring pilgrimmage to Rickwood Field in Birmingham (the oldest field in the country), but I exercised quite a bit and had two promising bullpen sessions with a 14-year old Birmingham catcher.
In the two sessions, I had decent command of my pitches (I throw a fastball, a curve, and forkball, and am working on a slider), but what was most encouraging was my velocity. We had no gun, but things just felt fast. And the catcher–who has caught for 3-4 minor league pitchers over the last 8 months–told me I throw as hard as a couple of them. He also said my fastball tails “like a righty’s cutter”, and my curve and fork are “pretty nasty”. We both agreed that my command has something to be desired, but my fastball location is improving. While I may be putting too much stock in the evaluation of a 14-year old, I do feel more confident going into the home stretch.
A few of you may have noticed that I changed text on the right [see “The Challenge”] from “The Major League Scouting Bureau’s tryout in June” to “the St. Paul Saints open tryout on April 29, 2010”.
This is not a complete copout–only a mild dose of reality.
I will keep working out for the June tryout if one of three things happen at the Saints tryout: 1) I make the team or 2) they tell me I’m good enough to make the team, but a) need a little work or b) they aren’t looking for another lefty pitcher (which is a possibility if you look at their published roster) or 3) I feel I still could have a shot at the June tryouts, even if the Saints tryout doesn’t go well.
If none of these three things happen, I will return to my softball team, coaching youth baseball, and maybe, just maybe, will try and pitch a few games for a men’s team, just to make some good use out of having my arm back in shape again.
By the way–in the next few days, I hope to post some funny video of my son Charlie. He seems to naturally throw righthanded, but he has watched his southpaw daddy throw so much that he is doggedly committed to throwing with lefthanded mechanics. He’s certainly mechanically confused!

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