Tuesday, February 6, 2007
In the recent Cleveland Indians fantasy camp held in Winter Haven Florida, Hall of Famer Bob Feller, 88, pitched to 24 batters and allowed just 4 hits against competition half his age. Not bad for a guy who last pitched in the majors in 1956 and only picks up the ball for this event each year.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
After breakfast picked up my final stats that will go on my baseball card:
Batting - BA 0.365; 4 hits; 2B; 2 RBI; 6 Runs
Pitching - 20 IP; 15 K; 6 BB; 8 Runs; 8 ER; ERA 4.40
Headed over to Bright House Networks Field for the game against the pros. Each of the 10 teams had a 3 inning game, with the pros limited to scoring 2 runs per inning and all of the camp participants had to complete at least one at bat in the game. As you can imagine, many of the games required up to 8 outs in the 3rd inning to close out the game.
The games were based on final position, so we had the second game.
We ended up losing 3-1 (no surprises there). I caught in the first inning and fielded in left for the remainder. This enabled many of the other guys to have a shot at pitching to the pros.
In my at bat I faced Mitch Williams. Even though he's been out of the game, he is still scary form 60 feet away. Only had one chance so I came out swinging. My sequence was:
Pitch 1 - slider on the outside of the plate - FOUL - Strike 1
Pitch 2 - fast ball down the pipe - SWING AND MISS - Strike 2 (this was easily the fastest pitch I have ever faced
Pitch 3 - fast ball high and away - Ball 1
Pitch 4 - slider on the outside of the plate - HIGH FLY TO CENTRE FIELD - Out
Despite not getting on base, it was a great experience. After the game, Kruk pulled me aside and said, "Doc, you hit that one hard - pity you sent it straight down Ricky's (Jordan) throat." Good times.
After the game I hung around at the complex and watched the remaining 8 games. The pros were undefeated but did give up a few hits and runs. Over a 6 hour period they played 50 innings and faced 140 batters. Considering they were all retired from the game, that's a hell of an effort.
Sadly, this portion of the trip has ended. It was an amazing experience and one that I am sure I'll do again. Might even take a few other Aussies with me.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Another starter was used with mixed success. He gave up a few hits and walks and we fell behind. After the bases were loaded in the 3rd with no outs, Mitch called me in to relieve (I love that I can say that).After the change our bats came alive to take the lead, and I managed to pitch 5 innings of 2-hit shutout ball to get the win and a place in the final.
The Red Barons had a 4-0 record and had yet to give up a run, so we knew this would be a tight matchup. I still had plenty of juice, so I started from the mound. These guys came out swinging and they put on 2 runs in the first. In the top of the 2nd we scored the first run against them all tournament and they knew this would be a battle.
Score stayed the same through the 3rd and 4th inning. In the bottom of the fifth I got behind and gave up some hits and walked a few guys in to push the deficit out to 7-1. Got a visit to the mound from Mitch who just told me to get pissed off at the umpire for making some shitty calls and strike them out. It worked and I knocked them over.
Knowing we only had 2 innings to claw back the deficit, we got the team fired up, and I knocked in a run to bring it to 7-2 in the 6th. They added a run on a fielders choice and the score was 8-2 after 6.
Final inning and their pitcher struck out three to close the game.
Despite the loss, it was a great experience and I was fortunate enough to be matched with a good group of guys. We have the presentation dinner tonight where hopefully a few of the Ravens will get acknowledged for their efforts.
Final day tomorrow and our team will play a few innings against the pros. Looking forward to digging in against Mitch and hopefully getting a single (or a walk or even a HBP) so I can chat with Kruk at first. Add in the Phanatic, and this fella will have made all of the pre-camp aspirations come true.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
This is the sight that greeted me on arrival
Once we suited up, we went out for the kangaroo court (run by LA, Kruk and Mitch Williams) which was extremely funny. Turns out a few of the players and participants had a late night and got called out on it. Afterwards we had the photos (headshot, posed and team) for our farewell kit.
It had rained overnight, and there was some doubt about whether we could play. Despite this we went through a series of drills (hitting, pitching, base-running, infield and outfield) so the pros could assess who they wanted in the draft.
After lunch I was advised I was selected in the Ravens with Mitch Williams and Kevin Jordan. KJ played in the former ABL for Brisbane and has an Australian wife so we had plenty to talk about. Not long after they announced that the game for the afternoon would be cancelled so we stayed with the team for more drills and getting to know each other. This means we will be playing three 5-inning games tomorrow to make up for it - will be a busy day.
Looking forward to the games, as well as the Bull Session with the pros tonight.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Funniest story was when he was asked whether Randy Johnson was the toughest pitcher he ever faced, he said "yes, but I hit my first grand slam off him and probably batted 0.400 against him. Just about everyone at the table just stopped trying to comprehend how you could say something like that without coming off as full of s**t.
About to hit the sheets - have an early start with breakfast at 6:30 and need to be on the bus to the field by 7:30. Looking forward to getting out on the diamond and getting in touch with my inner 13 year old.