Archive for the Personal/Family Category

Wistful Memories…

Posted in Personal/Family on August 26, 2010 by tccsp

I was moving the sprinkler this morning and realized I should probably capture the material evidence of my pitching efforts over the last year, since the whole thing feels like a hazy dream.
These black patches of wornaway grass, a few baseballs that my children now play with, and some dents in my garage are the last traces of my efforts to retrieve my youthful pitching prowess.

Worn away grass from my cleats

Baseballs turned to toys

Baseball dents in my garage

No e-mail of response from Jim Rantz, in case any of you were wondering. Ah well.


Countdown #1: Five Days to go…

Posted in Personal/Family, Pitching Mechanics, Training/Workouts on April 24, 2010 by tccsp

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!

Never Die Wondering, or Die Knowing for Sure

Posted in Personal/Family on February 14, 2010 by tccsp

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share a brief story about my wife as it relates to me pitching again.

First, you should know that my wife is a fan of me working out and getting in shape, but she is not what I would call “a believer”. From her perspective, I might theoretically be able to become a minor-league caliber pitcher in the next four months–if I didn’t have other responsibilities (like work, being a husband and father, etc.). Maybe if I quit work, left the family, and moved to Florida it would be possible–but working out 7-10 hours/week?

And she’s right: in juggling my life responsibilities, baseball would certainly qualify as a “hobby”. But the pursuit has become a family affair–and my excitement (despite little evidence of progress) and her skepticism produces a steady stream of (mostly) humorous banter in our home.

This weekend, for example, has rejuvenated my zeal for pitching. With the Olympics, a few good workouts,  evidence of healing in my shoulder, and Aaron Gleeman’s link sending my blog traffic through the roof–I’ve been excited.  Thanks to a reminder from a college friend, I’ve latched onto a saying that was plastered on our college’s weight room wall: “Never Die Wondering”.

So yesterday afternoon, I was doing a plyometrics workout in front of the Olympics–watching Apolo Ohno’s preliminary rounds–and my wife calls to ask me what I’m doing. This is the conversation as I remember it.

Wife: “What are you doing?”

Dan: “Working out in the basement and watching the Olympics.”

Wife: “How is it going?”

Dan: “Good, I’m having a great workout.”

Wife: “No, I mean with the Olympics.”

Dan: “Oh, good. Apolo Ohno advanced to the semifinals… but honey, I’m having a great workout. ‘Never Die Wondering’ you know?!”

Wife: “Sure. Instead you can ‘Die Knowing for Sure'”

Dan: “Honey! (chuckling) You don’t believe in me, do you.”

Wife: “I believe in you, I just think you’ll die knowing you were too old. But I love you honey–keep working hard.”

Dan: “Love you too.”

And I do.

And I’ll die knowing it.

New Year’s resolution–actually do this

Posted in Personal/Family on December 28, 2009 by tccsp

Ever since spraining my ankle in November playing basketball, I all but gave up on the baseball comeback. Work and other more important things took precedent (I have two 19-month old twins and my wife is pregnant, for goodness sake’s!).

But for the last nine days my wife and I have been on vacation in Birmingham, Alabama, and I have been running and doing  workouts. It’s warm, I have plenty of time, I don’t need to get up early. Now if I could only find a way to stay down here for six more months.

But the workouts and the turning of the calendar have me dreaming again–and I’ll set my mind once again to getting ready for going to these tryouts. Once we get back to Minneapolis, I’ll have to corral a group of friends willing to take turns catching me.