Archive for the Training/Workouts Category

Update: No call coming

Posted in Scouting/Minor Leagues, Training/Workouts on April 30, 2010 by tccsp

Based on a story I saw in the Star Tribune, it does appear that any callbacks that happened occurred yesterday, the day of the tryout. Apparently a couple of pitchers were called back, but neither were offered a spot on the team. A catcher named Ryan Richardson was apparently the only guy offered a spot on the team, and the Saints have already added him to their roster list.

I’m not surprised, of course–and only slightly disappointed. I am intensely curious, however. Curious about where I fell in the pitching coach’s evaluation: was I in his top 5 to call back? Top 10? Was I just too erratic? Too old? Too slow? Would he think I should pitch for a men’s team for the next five weeks and then go to the June minor league tryouts?

I actually just left a message for the same promotions guy that I called a few weeks ago about my cartooning idea, and asked if he thought the pitching coach would be willing to briefly chat over the phone. Anyway, I’m guessing he won’t be interested in chatting with me (if he chats with me, he’ll have to chat with every single guy, he’d say)–but I figured it’s worth a shot.

Thanks for reading–and all of your support. I realize I am a vicarious instrument for many of you–so I’m trying to hold up my end of the bargain.

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!

7-10 Days of Hope

Posted in Training/Workouts on February 21, 2010 by tccsp

If you’ve been checking my “command/control” report you may have noticed that I haven’t thrown since February 4th. I took two weeks off to rest my sore shoulder, and then did some light throwing this past Thursday– just to see if anything seemed torn.

I’ve still got some pain–but it doesn’t seem to get worse with throwing. My hope is that this is just persistent tendonitis, but it could certainly be something worse.

I should have started this earlier, but just yesterday I began a high dose regimen of ibuprofen–600 mg four times a day–for 7-10 days. A week from Monday I will start throwing lightly again. In the meantime, I’m running and doing some leg workouts.

If it does end up that I have a comeback-ending injury, I did want you all to know that I’m already trying to get in touch with Morgan Freeman’s agent to see if he can do the voiceover for my farewell Olympics-inspired VISA commercial.

I’ve already blocked out the storyboard:

[1993 baseball video] At the age of fifteen, Dan Olson struck out 19 batters in a seven-inning game.

[1995 baseball video] At 17, he was invited to professional baseball scouting camps.

[1998 baseball video] But at 20, he walked away from the game and never looked back.

[2009 baseball video] Eleven years later, he began the comeback of a lifetime. For six months, he worked out erratically and didn’t improve much.

And then, [cut to close up of me in excruciating pain] he tore his rotator cuff.

[clip of me eating ice cream in front of the TV] But in the midst of his pain, he stayed up faithfully to watch the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Ice that shoulder, Dan.

Visa, the only card accepted at the Olympic games.”

Mr. October – a paltry first showing

Posted in Pitching Mechanics, Training/Workouts on December 28, 2009 by tccsp

In October, I pitched in two games for a men’s league. My command was terrible at worst, and erratic at best. I was falling behind batters left and right–relying on my fastball exclusively, since I couldn’t get ahead of anybody.

The first game, I pitched two innings. In the first inning, I struck out two guys, walked one, beaned one, and gave up two runs. Nerves, I thought. The second inning, I was even more wild and four or five more runs scored.

The second game wasn’t much better. I pitched five innings and felt good at times–but I was still very wild. Here is a breakdown of what I recall my pitching lines looking like.

…………….Inn….H…..R….ER….BB…..K….HB
Game 1……2…..2…..6…..4…….4…..5…..1
Game 2……5…..5…..9…..6…..10…..9…..0

I have to admit that after the second game, I was ready to throw in the towel. Most of these guys were just playing for fun, and I fit right in–a regular old joe just throwing meatballs. The only thing that was encouraging was the strikeouts (14 in 7 innings), and my teammates telling me that I had “the best stuff” of all the pitchers, and that “you throw harder than anyone in this league”. There was still a small kernal of talent, apparently. It was just hidden underneath years of disuse.

I have a long way to go, and lots of work to do. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping to be able to improve command through regular throwing–possibly in my basement, though I only have about 25 feet to work with.