I didn't realize it at the time of it happening, but looking back on the stats/rosters I just realized that I faced florida fan's son in a summer league game tonight. I was pitching and he was hitting (playing shortstop for his team).

Just figured I would give a little shout to florida fan and give some more praise to this great website. It's wonderful to be able to have some sort of connection with so many people around the baseball world (I'm from New York, he's from Florida, we're playing in North Carolina), and a lot of the time this connection is made through High School Baseball Web.
Original Post
Hey JH, That is a amazing. What a great web site this is! I heard you had a VERY GOOD game! Listened on the web pass last evening and unfortunately for us (Swampdogs) did not hear of too many hits being given up by you guys!

The Marlins are off to a strong start going 3-0.

We will be heading up to watch some games in the next week or so. Keep up the good work!

It is a fun time, I heard you had quite a crowd for your home stand inaugural opener, and the announcer for your team, the one that worked the web pass play by play, did an amazing job. We felt like we were there!

By the way I am originally from New York and have family living in Franklin, just next door to Oneonta.
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floridafan- It was definitely a good game. The crowd was very into it and the place was packed, so it was loud. Being that I play at a small school that was easily the most people I've ever played in front of and it was a lot of fun.

We have been pitching very well as a team and the results in the first 3 games have been good. Hopefully as the bats come around we can continue to throw well and win some ball games (also hoping that they aren't as close as the first 3...I don't know if we can manage to play 56 consecutive close games LOL).

Your son sat back on an 0-2 curveball and stroked it pretty nicely into right field during that 7th inning. Luckily for me and unfortunately for him my right fielder tracked it down and made the play, but my heart stopped for a second upon the initial contact.

Let me know if you are ever coming up when we play the Swampdogs again. I know they are in our division so we will play them quite a bit and it would be cool to speak to you in person.

I live in the NYC metro area so going to school in Oneonta has been somewhat of a different experience for me culturally (as is living for the summer in North Carolina). But the Catskills of upstate NY are beautiful and I really enjoy where I go to school. Hate to admit I've never been to Franklin, but it is very close and I'm sure just as nice as Oneonta is.
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Do you agree that is fun to go back over the years and think about then and then think about now !

Great memories
That is great JH. I live fairly close to Morehead City and will try to grab a game or two over the summer. I'm guessing that's the same league Wilmington plays in?

Best of luck this season to you and floridafans son as well.

Yes, it is the same league as the Wilmington Sharks. We played them at their place on Thursday night. Let me know if/when you are ever coming to a game (home or away). I can leave your name at the gate to have a ticket waiting for you and we can definitely meet up afterwards.

TRHit- It is very cool to be able to start see all the years of hard work starting to come together. To have several thousand fans at every game is a great feeling. We have been stopped walking through downtown Morehead City and been recognized throughout town by many of the local people. Although I must admit that signing your autograph on a baseball is not easy, it is a great feeling to be able to have people look up to you for something so simple as baseball, a sport that has been so gratifying to me and that has now begun to give me the opportunity to share the passion and the successes with others.
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JH as you know my son is playing with the Outer Banks Daredevils but is still in Chapel Hill practicing. My wife is headed down to Morehead City in the morning and she will be at your game tomorrow night. She is going to give you a shout out. I am looking forward to meeting you this summer and watching you play. Good luck tomorrow night.
Just another tidbit that I figured some here would enjoy.

I was in the dugout about 15 minutes before game time at this past night's game when I hear my name being called by one of my teammates from the other end of the dugout. I walked over and was introduced to a young boy named Josh, who I was told was celebrating his 8th birthday at the park with his family and friends. He came over to inform me that I was his favorite player on the Marlins, because I had the same name as him and because when I went to his school (we went to local elementary schools the other day and spoke to the kids) I answered one of his questions with a funny joke. I was then informed that he was due to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the night's ballgame, and he requested to the General Manager that I catch the pitch. So when his name came over the PA I jogged out there with him and squatted behind home plate.

Suddenly I had a nervous rush come over me. I was catching this kid in front of thousands of people. It would be so embarassing if I dropped the ball! (I was never this nervous on the mound, but the thought of an 8 year old kid throwing a ball to me 30 feet away and me having to make it look good for him and catch it in front of the cheering crowd was intimidating). Luckily, the kid (who ironically throws lefty just like I do) pumped a strike right to me and I caught it. I handed the ball back to him and signed it personally to him wishing him a happy birthday and sent him back off into the stands with his parents.

I try to shy away from the "sappy" stories and whatnot on this site because I like it to be informational. But this sort of experience will stay with me for a while because I know that kid will probably never forget it. He might forget my name, and he will probably misplace that baseball someday in the future, but he'll never forget the thrill he had throwing a pitch on the field to his favorite player. It really is an amazing feeling to be able to experience that.
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Great story and it is informational as it shows how great of a game we all love baseball is. This kid will follow you for a long time and he will always remember that moment. Hopefully it will lead him to take up baseball to at least get his college education paid for.

I'll check out your schedule and try to find a date I can head up there. I'm still a little busy with our season right now. We won tonight to advance to the state championship series next weekend. Pretty excited about that to be honest.
Coach good luck in the finals I will be pulling for you guys. And JH I love that story. Your doing things in the game right now many dream of doing but never do. Enjoy it and soak it in. My wife said she will see you tonight at the game. Believe me you will have at least two more huge fans at your game tonight!
J H, I don't have anything to add other than to say you are a great representative for your generation; a young man we can all be proud of and root for. Keep posting, I love the positive and well-communicated vibes! Good luck to you!

(and by the way, about this game in North carolina where you, from New York, faced floridafan's son from florida.....caught my eye sitting here in Seoul, Korea!)
Thanks Coach May - hopefully we can pull two victories out. I don't guess you know anybody who has a scouting report on the other team do you????

Thanks for the kind words. You want to hear another crazy small world situation? I have become very friendly with a teammate of your son's. He and I are the only two Division III permanent players right now on our roster so we sort of had an instant connection. We went to the beach today (his first time in the Atlantic, being from Chicago) and have been hanging out quite a bit. He started for us last night and threw very well.

So now we have New York, Florida, Chicago, San Antonio and Seoul all connected in some way in a little beach town in North Carolina. Gotta love it
Yep. We found out today he's not the world's greatest golfer, but he does throw pretty well off the mound so I'm sure he'll be sticking around
The baseball world is even a bit smaller.
I was just checking the site for your team.
Lo and behold, our son played with the Buddy Bengal, your team's VP. They both played for the Newport Gulls in the NECBL in 2003.
Buddy is one of those guys who loves baseball. If there was a definition for baseball junkie, from what I know of him, Buddy's name and picture would be part of it. Buddy knows DIII players can get the job done so it does not surprise me to see you and Klimesh on the roster.
Buddy is certainly a character. I played for a summer team back in high school that is run by a man named Ian Millman. When Buddy was in high school he played for Ian as well, and they still have a close relationship. Ian was the one who got in contact with Buddy about me and said that he believes I could play at the level that the CPL offers. When Buddy called me back in October offering me a contract, I didn't even think twice.

The experience thus far has been great. I have been getting a lot of PM's from various people about my summer ball experience so I think every once in a while I will check in when there is time and give a little bit of details as to how these sorts of things work. I think that could be beneficial to many parents/players who could potentially find themselves on teams like this in the future.
As I said previously, I will be checking in here every once in a while to chronicle my summer experience. This past week and a half has been very busy so I haven't been able to get on too much...we've had a lot of games nearly everyday, and have been partially celebrating the drafting of our friends (my college teammate was the first DIII player taken nationwide, in the 4th round to the Braves).

My entire summer experience had been a positive one thus far, until a disappointing event last night. We had a game in Columbia, SC and were told that it was military night at the park. 4,600 Army soldiers from nearby Fort Jackson showed up to watch the game. Playing in front of them was truly an extraordinary experience. They were loud, funny and passionate. The presentations and special events were touching, as many Medal of Honor recipients were being honored on the field to a standing ovation from the thousands of troops in the stands. It was an awesome event all-around.

The euphoric atmosphere quickly turned sour towards the end of the night. In the Coastal Plain League, doubleheaders are two 7-inning games (since Columbia is 6 hours away from Morehead City, we try to double up on weekend games to limit travel requirements). In the second game of the day, we were losing 9-3 in the top of the 7th inning and things were looking fairly grim. Our leadoff hitter took an 0-1 fastball for a ball. Immediately, the coach for the Columbia Blowfish came storming out of the dugout to argue the call. We couldn't hear what was being said (the troops were loud) but the umpire ejected him. He began to continue arguing, turning his hat around to wear it backwards and kicking dirt all over home plate. This is when we realized that the spectacle was staged. The coach screamed with the umpire for another minute or so, and then proceeded to step back and run to the mound. He turned and gave a fake salute to the troops. He then picked up the rosin bag behind the mound and tossed it towards his dugout, where the Columbia players were standing. When the rosin bag hit the ground, the players fell down and pretended to be hit by the rosin bag, as if it were a grenade.

We were furious as a team. We understood the importance of making it an enjoyable night for the troops in attendance, and understood that was the intention of the Columbia coach. But the situation that occured we felt made a mockery of our team, disgraced the game of baseball and frankly, disgraced the U.S. Army. Our coach expressed his disdain for the situation with the other coach after the game, but did not get an apology, just a smirk and a "have a safe ride home". After eating our post game meal, we boarded the bus and took the 6 hour ride back home with a sour taste in our mouths and our blood boiling from a classless act.
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I don't know who the current coach of the Columbia team is but he ought to be fired. With soldiers actually and currently being killed in Afghanistan and Iraq via real grenades, that was highly disrespectful. Imagine if a family member were there last night who had a son or daughter killed that way. How would they feel? Very dumb, insensitive, and disrespectful.
Checking in once more...

The first half of the Coastal Plain League season ended on Monday, with my team, the Morehead City Marlins, finishing in 2nd place in the South Division behind the Florence RedWolves. For those who aren't familiar with the process...The CPL plays a 56 game schedule throughout the entire summer and is split into two 28 game halves. The winner of the first half gets an automatic berth into the Pettit Cup, which is the playoffs. So while we fell short in the first half, the records carry over and hopefully we can keep up and stay sharp enough to make a run for the second half title.

Our overall record finished up at 15 and 13 for the first half. The last time I posted was after our military night debacle in Columbia, which was a few weeks ago. Since then, we have gotten into a bit of a set routine. We have had 2 "Military Monday" nights in which we honor veterans and wear camouflage jerseys (Coach May- one of my teammates played for the Dirtbags and got so excited when we were told we were wearing camo's) on those nights. We also have had one night for Breast Cancer Awareness in which we wore pink jerseys that were auctioned off after the game, with all proceeds going to charity.

I would say the average attendance at our games is somewhere in between 1000 and 2000 (sometimes a lot more, sometimes a bit less) and from my perspective the games are extremely competitive. A teammate who goes to East Carolina (a perennial regional contender) says that our team matches up very well to their level of play (Conference USA), so for those who don't have a gauge of the quality of play if that helps at all there you go.

The difference between the play in the CPL and the play I have grown accustomed to at the DIII level (regionals included) are unparalleled. The players are bigger, faster, stronger. The game is played at a much quicker pace. As a pitcher, the things I've noticed is that the hitters do a much better job driving the ball to the opposite field here with authority. Anyone can hit a get-me-over fastball, but the separation is extended here in the other offerings that the hitters hit. At the same time if a hitter has a discernable weakness, it is exploited here very quickly and more extensively than at the DIII level. There are a handful of players that I've faced/played with in college that could more than easily compete here, but there are also many that can't.

The only negative I have found about the CPL is the traveling. If you or your son cannot handle spending hours everyday on a cramped bus, then do not play in this league. Road trips range from 2 to 7 hours, and there are several a week. We've left at 9 am and returned at 5 am, just to fall asleep and wake up then next day to catch a bus at 12 and travel another 4 1/2 hours. The travel does wear on you, and days off are hard to come by and gratefully taken (we spend our days off at the beach, good thing Morehead City is on the ocean). While I honestly despise the travel and dread every bus trip we take, I have learned to appreciate the trips. We are well aware of the fact that minor league life largely consists of bus rides that are further in distance, longer in time and more extensive in frequency, and to be able to experience a similar kind of living style while in college is greatly beneficial for those of us who look to play at the next level. I also appreciate the bus trips because it gives me time to spend with the new friends I've made throughout the summer. Having a group of 27 college baseball players together everyday for an entire summer will create lasting relationships off the field in the future. We pass time playing cards (Pitch, Texas Hold 'Em are popular) and riddle games (Hat Game, Snaps, City Game, Green Glass Doors are a few popular ones for those who are familiar).

The coaching staff thus far has been great. I have worked hard with the pitching coach (former DI pitcher and a member of the 2004 Greek Olympic team) on mechanical aspects of pitching, as well as many conditioning aspects. The head coach, Jay Bergman, has a career coaching record of 1,300 wins at the DI level and is truly one of a kind. In a short amount of time he and I have delevoped a great relationship. While his past has been surrounded with controversy, his passion for the game and caring for his players is unparalleled from what I can tell and is greatly appreciated by his team. Here is a quote from Coach Bergman in the locker room after one loss that we had:

"I've coached this game for 42 years. If I quit tomorrow, the game would move on. Nothing would change in the game. But if I quit tomorrow, I couldn't go on. I'm 71 years old and I need this game now more than ever. I couldn't go on without this game. You need to decide if you need this game. If you do, then you need to play like it. If you don't, then hand in your uniform now and go home, because the game doesn't need you."

Next Monday we have a game against the U.S. Military All-Star Team, also called Heroes of the Diamond, which should be a fabulous experience. Other than that, the second half of the season will be much of the same kind of grind the first half was. Its a grind that goes by way too quickly, and sometimes is taken for granted. I've posted all this info because I know there are a select few people here that would love to know the inside knowledge about a league like this, and I'd be glad to help anyone who has any questions pertaining to anything I know. And if you aren't interested, thanks for letting me post this as a log for myself to look back on and remember some of the things I forget from this summer.
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J H,
this is terrific. It is terrific to read and is so well written. If you have not read "Bullpen Gospels," I would strongly recommend it for that next 7 hour bus ride...the one before the game, not coming back. Wink
You have a wonderful ability to provide words that vividly capture the people and the experience.
Sharing your appreciation of Coach Bergman and what baseball means to him, and most importantly, what he expects from his players, even in the Summer, should be helpful and provide guidance for all those players/parents who have a Summer experience in their future.
I especially appreciated your thoughts on the challenges and reality of being a DIII player on a top Summer Wood Bat league team.
I doubt I am speaking alone when I say we look forward to your posts and experiences as your Summer progresses.
Congrats on a very solid first half. You are making those of us from the DIII level stand tall.
Great Post JH! You guys probably have the longest road trips of any team in the CPL being way out there on the coast. I would wish your team well tonight, but the Swampdogs need a win! Wink

My guy has the laundry gig again and is rarely back in his bed before 3AM then at the field at 1PM the next day. 2 off days since the season began. Pretty gueling but he would not trade it for anything... almost anything, I mean!
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Your post are awesome.Your ability to write and communicate your experiences are really exceptional.Sounds like your having a great experience.Hope your team continues to do well.I also think your assessment of D3 to D1 with exceptions, (as there always are) can be helpful for parents who are not sure of where their own players fit in.Look forward to your posts.
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JH, I love your posts! I have been awaiting the next installment, and happy to have found it! Thanks for putting your experiences into print.
FF- Tonight's game was a pretty wet one. Luckily for us our offense put together some timely hits and broke it open in the mid-innings and we were able to pull it out. We've gotten a pretty good one-two punch in the bullpen with a submarine RHP as a setup guy and a mid-90's closer who was drafted by the Twins and is in negotiations, so hopefully they can remain healthy and steady and we can ride them out late innings.

Lucky for us on another note, our owner has the interns on laundry duty...so we just put the uni's in a bin after the game and they're hanging on the dugout railing numerically the next day when we arrive at the park. I feel bad for your son that he's on laundry duty.

Might I add for those who are reading, Floridafan's son is the 3rd baseman for the Fayettevile Swampdogs and hits in the middle of their order. We keep pretty extensive hitting spray charts and pattern charts on opponents (Fayetteville is a division opponent, meaning that tonight was our 7th game against them and we still have 5 more to go). FF's son is easily the most difficult hitter in the Swampdogs lineup to figure out. A lot of guys show tendencies in their approaches and these can be exploited by looking through the charts and then executing accordingly on the mound. But FF's son doesn't really have a pattern. He's been very successful against us in all counts, against all pitches and in all locations. When a player can prove to be consistent like that, he is often the toughest out to get because he has no true weakness.

infielddad- I'm headed to the library tomorrow to do some P.R work for the team and read books to local kids, so I'll make sure to try and look around and see if they have Bullpen Gospels. I first heard about it during my conference tournament, but between that, finals, regionals and now the CPL, I haven't had much time to do anything else aside from get my life in order.

I'll check back in periodically whenever there's a few hours that I get a layover. I'll share a little more in depth information about what kind of preparation goes on off the field, the comraderies formed, and some interestingly humurous things that have gone on
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Thanks, J H. This indeed is great. Keep up the great work on and off the field. It would be interesting to know what you think of each of the towns where you play. I lived in Fayetteville for a couple of years 30 years ago, although it seems like yesterday. It would have been great to have one of these summer teams in town way back then.
jemaz- To be perfectly honest I don't really know much about the towns. In the CPL we don't do overnights, so I haven't experienced any sort of "on the town" type situations. Meals are given to us post-game at the stadium, so I haven't had any experience with local restaurants either. Each stadium/field brings it's own unique differences to the game and I could provide a pretty detailed analysis of the places that I've played at if anyone would like.
J H,

You have an amazing ability to paint a picture and bring us into your story. I have to be honest, I didn't read your first "Summer ball" posts. I thought they looked rather long (too much work for me Wink), but that was my mistake! You have a gift, if your baseball career comes to an end, you should sincerely look into becoming a writer. I believe you could probably write about anything and do an exceptional job, but as of right now...keep your summer baseball experiences coming...Thanks!
J H,

What an enjoyable thread you have created here. Stumbled upon it while eating lunch. I look forward to checking back from time to time.

I can bring NH into the equation for Morehead City, NC. I've only been to NC once in my life as a teenager going to visit an old high school friend of my fathers. Where did he live but in Morehead City, NC!! The beaches were nice that I remember and if I'm not mistaken out on some barrier islands there are or were anyways (28 yrs ago) wild horses running free on them. I think we took a small boat out to see them. I do remember that everyone was nice down there where ever you went and that they loved their Dr Pepper..but drank it warm..YUCK!! I think they also hold an annual "Bald man's convention" there in Morehead City too.

Good luck with the rest of your season!!!

Haven't been on the site for a while because I've been watching a lot of college baseball recently, but I will tell you that I came across the thread and really enjoyed your summer entries. As a former CPL dad, many of your assessments are spot on. (Yes, the Columbia coach is both classless and a clown.) But you really hit the mark with your travel entry. The road trips are killer, especially if you play in a city on the fringe of the league. Six to seven-hour bus trips every two to three days can really sap a player, especially in the Carolina heat. You have to love baseball to keep plugging. Even minor leaguers get a few days in the hotel after a long road trip. The CPL guys come right back and do it again the next day. What's really fun is when the bus breaks down. Smile

Keep up the good work with your posts. They're a real eye-opener for kids who haven't played summer ball yet and give a nice flavor of what it's like. Best of luck to you the rest of the summer and next season back at school.
Hey everyone...checking in from sunny and beautiful Myrtle Beach, SC. It's the All Star break in the CPL and I decided to take the few days and drive down the coast to visit a family friend who recently moved down here and enjoy the area for a few days.

The Morehead City Marlins are currently in 1st place in the southern division for the 2nd half of the season. We sent 4 players to the All Star game (2 pitchers and 2 position players), and have won 10 of our last 13 games. As I said previously, we fell into a bit of a routine with games, and other than the game against the Heroes of the Diamond on July 5th, that routine has been pretty much followed to the tee.

This post will be focused a bit less on what is occuring on the diamond and more about the experience outside the stadium. First thing's first: I'd like to thank CaBB. CaBB sent me a PM last week and asked if I would like her to send me a copy of Bullpen Gospels, which her son (a player in the Northwoods League), had just finished reading. I excitedly accepted, and a few days later received the book in the mail. In a 3 day span our team made 2 long road trips...one to Columbia, SC and one to Forest City, NC. I read the book cover to cover on each of those trips. It was a fabulous read, and really painted a great picture of minor league life and the happenings surrounding the game. It was both funny, dramatic and climactically emotional, and was very enjoyable not only to pass the time through the rather bland highways of the Carolinas, but also very informational. So CaBB, thank you very much for the book and I am definitely going to pass it along to some friends.

The players in the CPL view the league in different ways. Some view at as their opportunity to shine against top competition, and put immense pressure on themselves to do so. Some view it as an an extension of college ball and follow similar sorts of routines and habits that they did while they were on campus. Some view it as a stepping stone to the pros and seem to be here just to pass time until they're eligible to move on. And some treat it as summer ball, and come to throw the ball around a little bit and go to the beach and meet a lot of local girls. Our team has been fairly successful in finding a happy medium to fare positively on the field, while enjoying ourselves off.

There are many reasons as to why a baseball player does not perform well on the field. Most of the time, it can just be chalked up to "a bad day"...a combination of a little stiffness, a little lack of focus, and a lot of bad luck. But some days there are other reasons as to why people have bad days. I had a few outings this summer that I was roughed up pretty good, and my stats reflected as so. At first I said to myself "I just had a bad day". But after getting past the emotions and sitting back and thinking about the happenings, some thoughts hit me. Two particular outings, specifically, stuck out in my mind. One poor performance was probably a direct result of the night before, when I went out and partied with the team. I was wreckless with my body and stayed up way too late. Feeling tired, sore and frankly a bit hungover, I took the mound and disappointed my coaching staff, my team and myself. Three days later I decided it would be intelligent to take part in a baseball tradition with my teammates and throw a lip in (dip...or chewing tobacco for those who don't know) in the first inning. Some are used to this practice, but I'm not. I sparingly do it (afraid of addiction and not too fond of the taste to be honest) and quickly became dizzy and felt sick. By the 4th inning I felt better, but my body was drained. Come the 7th when I was called upon to pitch, I performed poorly.

Are partying and tobacco direct reasons why I did not perform well on those particular days? Maybe, maybe not. But they are certainly possible reasons as to why this would happen. These two experiences taught me a little bit about myself and what I can handle. Some guys can party every night and have no lasting effect on the field. Some guys can eat fast food and not exercise and still rake during the game. But I am not one of those people, and I learned this the hard way. For high school players or parents that happen to stumble upon my post(s), please understand that it is part of life. Experimenting and enjoying yourself is part of the age that my peers and I are at. But one has to be smart with what they do and prioritize accordingly. I made the mistake of taking my body for granted and suffered consequences (luckily a bad outing won't ruin my career) accordingly. The irony of these last two paragraphs are very apparent to me, being that I'm a 20 year old college kid who is lecturing about taking care of one's body. But from experience, it does matter.

A few weeks ago I went to the local library to read books to children. When the kids came into the room, the librarian introduced me as an "almost famous" baseball player. I rolled my eyes and gave a warm smile, but it is sometimes very tough to come to grips with the fact that this is true. While it is evident through my past posts that the life I am experiencing through this summer team is fabulous and I love it, the reality of the situation is that I am among a group of several thousand that are just trying to prove myself to the world in order to fulfill a dream. While that dream is a pipeline for most, the yearning for it has driven us to the point that we are at. The CPL, as well as many other leagues, provides a wonderful situation for the select college players that have the opportunity to live it. But the drive that pushes us is to continue to play and continue to move on to the next level. And sometimes it is frustrating to sit back and think about it all. I've been playing baseball since I was 5 years old and I believe it is safe to say that I have more successful experiences on the field than I have had negative experiences on the field. And through all that time, I've put in countless hours of sweat, soreness, smiles and tears. A lot of my life is dedicated towards baseball, the passion that I have for the game and the desire to be successful in playing it. College ball and the CPL are awesome, but yet there is still so far to go, so much do to, and so much to learn. I am 20 years old and find myself questioning the necessity of what I'm doing, questioning the importance of everything. Knowing that despite where I am right now, the chances are still so very slim. The doubt instilled in my head grows on me to the point where I've had sleepless nights saying that continuing to play is pointless and I should just give up right now and move on with my life.

I have always been an introspective person, and I think that's part of where the skills I have acquired in writing come into play. I've found it easy to portray my emotions into words and formulate them so that other people can get a better understanding of how I feel. These negative thoughts I've had are not rare, trust me. Any competitive baseball player that tells you that he's never thought about quitting the game is lying to you. The defeats of the game and the stress it causes wears you out to the point of lack of desire many times. But as Dirk Hayhurst said several times in the book the Bullpen Gospels, for some reason baseball players shake off those thoughts and set foot on that field once again the next day. I can't really explain what forces me to put the negatives aside and push myself back to the park the next day, but I can tell you this: I never regret it. Once you are back out there, it feels like home once again. Once I'm back out there, I start to wonder how I ever could have even considered quitting this game. I call myself stupid and happily smile.

I've been playing since I was 5 years old and hope to be involved in the game for as long as I can in whatever way I can. The experience I've had this summer might be a pressure-packed stage, or a stepping stone, or a party. Whatever it is, I've learned to appreciate every minute of it...positives and negatives...because it's a piece of the entire puzzle. Puzzles are tough to put together but they sure can be a lot of fun sometimes, and baseball is one of the toughest, grinding, and most rewarding puzzles one has to put together in life.
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