JH

another masterpiece of a post!

Keep hanging in there! Your heart will tell your head when it is time to look elsewhere. I think you are definetely slated for good things in your future no matter what you decide

. Let me know if you run low on books as I have a few that you may be interested in reading while you are on that next long bus ride.

Good luck the rest of the way!
quote:
Originally posted by J H:
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.

One of the most enjoyable posts I have ever read on the hsbaseballweb. Josh - you have a wonderful, wonderful gift - even if you do disagree with me sometimes Big Grin

Seriously, I think with your attitude and honesty with yourself, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I believe you can have a future in baseball - beyond college It's all about what you are willing to let your mind believe. Thoughts become things.
quote:
Seriously, I think with your attitude and honesty with yourself, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I believe you can have a future in baseball - beyond college good It's all about what you are willing to let your mind believe. Thoughts become things.



You have a talent for writing son.You should write more, keep all of it in a journal, and write a book someday.Your posts are honest, entertaining,interesting, and just awesome.Honest, great stuff. Best of luck.
JH:I just noticed this post and read it all the way through from the beginning. It is a masterpiece and definitely should qualify as a golden thread. Keep up the great job both with your career and writing. I look forward to following both!
Josh, you are amazing and wise beyond your years. It's especially helpful for parents to read your thoughts because quite often our sons don't share their deep thoughts with us enough.

I agree with Fan that this would make the start of an interesting book. Hopefully you are keeping a journal of all your experiences. Have fun and work hard for the rest of the summer.

Keep the stories coming!
JH, your posts are great reading. It's amazing your only 20 years old.

You should be very proud of yourself. As should your parents, your school and your CPL team. Keep up the good work on the field and on the computer. It sounds like you could have a bright future in either one.

Continued good luck.
where are you playing at in NC? im going out there for vacation next weekend and maybe i could catch a game. i will be staying in Erwin from the 1st thru the 7th i believe. id love to see some good ball! im from central Illinois so we dont have much good baseball around! also id like to ask you for some advice if you wouldnt mind: i pitch every now and then and i have some wicked breaking balls and dont throw very hard but i have good movement. i thrown a 12-6 curve and a slider. should i keep them both and mix them in with my circle change and cutter? or stick with just one? since i mite be playing against 16 yr olds next year i could really use your help(:
JH,
My sons are 15 and 16. I can not imagine either of them writing with the depth that you do in the next 4-5 years. I wish you all the best as you pursue your baseball dreams. You have undeniable talent in communicating your passion, and I believe you will have tremendous success doing what you love.
That is awesome Josh. You have a fan for life. And I would bet many more that you will never know or meet. You have obviously made a big impression on this young man. But I would be willing to bet you have gotten way more in return from your experience this summer. Great stuff Josh.
I haven't been around the HSBBW as much I used to be but boy am I glad I stumbled upon this tread...

JH your posts have really painted a wonderful picture reflecting the highs and lows of a baseball player trying to figure things out. As much as I enjoy reading Dirks " non prospect diary " and “Bullpen Gospels”, I have to say I'd put you right up there with him in your ability to share the baseball experience on paper.

I look forward to reading more about your journey... you might think about submitting some of your work to a publication like Baseball America… I know I’d read it.
JH,

Just finished reading your lastest addition. My first thought "God, this kid is good."

My hope is that all our sons can have and enjoy their baseball travels as much as you are able to. Thank you.
I've been getting a bunch of PMs from members who asked if I would be posting anymore in this thread, so I decided it'd be best if I did so. This will be the last post I will put up here, simply being that the summer season has come to a close. Thanks to all that have read it and appreciated what I've said, it's helped me to write everything because now I can look back and relive some of things that slip my mind from the summer.

We ended up with a 35-22 overall record, winning the Coastal Plain League Southern Division title. Unfortunately, we were upset in the playoffs by the Edenton Steamers, who went on to the championship round of the CPL before bowing out to the Forest City Owls.

Our season finished up on Friday, August 6th. The game in which we got eliminated was an away game, and our bus arrived back in the stadium parking lot around 1 AM. To our surprise, there was a collection of about 40 people standing in the parking lot, with signs and confetti and noise-makers. They all cheered when we got off the bus and we took pictures with them, signed a few more autographs and thanked them once more. It was sort of surprising to see this crowd there. We'd known that the town was behind the team, being that attendance was good and there was good coverage in the area. But the reception in the parking lot put things into perspective. There was a collection of little kids who leaned against their parents in tears because the season was over. There were adults who painted their faces with Marlins colors and pleaded with the underclassmen to return the following summer. We saw that the team was more than an event that they could enjoy and a league that we could just play in to get better. The populous of the town really connected with the team, and put their hearts and souls into cheering us on.

I became close with a young man this summer named Aaron. Aaron was 19 years old, recently a high school graduate. He suffers from severe cerebral palsy, causing him to be wheelchair ridden. He frequented our games in the early part of the summer, placing himself near the dugout in the stands and very much in view of the team. He quickly began to strike up conversation with us, and we kindly obliged. Most of the guys simply felt bad because he was disabled, but quickly grew a bit detached from Aaron because frankly, he made some obnoxious comments. He was trying to fit in with our sense of humor (baseball dugout jokes are typically very vulgar), and was at first taken the wrong way. I got sick of the kid in the wheelchair making fun of me initially, and sort of placed myself accordingly so that I didn't have to speak to him much.

Over time he sort of grew on me though. He was obnoxious, but he was funny. And he could take a joke in return. I started speaking to him more, and some of us developed a friendly relationship with him. One day, he asked me if I could drive him home after the game. I asked him why and he said that he didn't want to wake his mom up. I grudgingly obliged and drove him home. The next day, I pitched very well and we snapped a losing streak and being that I am a baseball player- and superstitious- it was a no brainer...I had to drive Aaron home again. And lo and behold, we won the next game as well.

And so it began...I would pick him up from his house everyday and get to the park for batting practice. He would hang out in the dugout, messing around with the team. Sometimes we would have a catch with him on the side. The team owner quickly gave him a job at the park as a ticket collector and an usher, and he would sit in his usual location next to the dugout and intently watch every game. After all the fans cleared out and we ate our post-game meals, I would help him out of his chair and into my car and drive him back to his house.

One day, Aaron decided that he wanted to shag fly balls with the team. He went up to our head coach and asked for permission, and our coach said "if Josh is out there with you to make sure you don't get hurt, sure." So he wheeled himself out to left centerfield and shagged with me during BP. Every ball that was hit in our direction would be given to Aaron to toss in towards the bucket. About halfway through the session, he turned to me and said "the greatest day of my life was the day I got to meet the Tampa Bay Rays after their game. But this is the second greatest day of my life. I'll never forget this man."

Aaron called me in tears after we lost and told me he was going to really miss everyone. I told him don't worry, the team will be back next year. He said he didn't want next year, he wanted the same group of guys and he didn't want anything to change. I reassured him that change was part of the beauty of the game of baseball.


After an absolutely miserable drive back home to New York (Washington DC traffic is no fun), I finally settled back into my own bed. Since February, I had previously spent a total of 12 hours at home. After my college team lost in regionals I had just enough time to get home, get laundry done, eat a meal and go to sleep before getting on the road and going to North Carolina. The relief of being home, seeing the family, and being able to relax for some time has been absolutely fabulous.

This year has been quite the roller coaster for me personally. In February in a span of two weeks I had two seizures in my dorm room at school. I had never had any neurological problems previously, and the random events were unexplainable. I saw a specialist and basically said to him "give me whatever you can so I can get back on the mound." He told me I couldn't drive a car for 90 days, I couldn't drink any alcohol and prescribed medicine called Keppra in pill form, which I have to take twice a day everyday. Since February 15th, I have never missed a pill, and have had no ill-effects since. 2 weeks later I was on the diamond again, and considered it a blessing. My college team finished in 3rd place in our regional- the first regional appearance in school history. I led the conference in ERA for the second year in a row, which pleased me because allowing the least amount of runs means my team has the best chance to win the game. My summer team won our division and I continued to have success on the mound.

I will be heading back to school this Friday, and next Wednesday is the first day of classes. Saturday the 28th is our first day of fall practice...my first day as an upperclassman on the field in college.

Thanks to everyone who read all these posts over the last few months once again, because it allows me to look back and remember things from my experience. I encourage anyone who has experiences that could help others to share them, because I learned a lot about the game myself just from reading on this site alone.
Last edited by J H
jh

your wise beyond your years.i think i have enjoyed your journey as much as you have.

keep at it.
Josh I have never met you but I feel like I really know you. That is a credit to your writing, your ability to put your feelings in writing and taking me to a place I can actually see what you are talking about. You are very talented Josh. As I was reading that I could see that kid in the wheel chair and I could see him shagging balls with you.

I wish you all the best this coming season. I have enjoyed your posts and looked forward to the next addition this summer. Your the type of young man that makes this game so special. Your the type of young man that makes this country what it is and what is should be. Good luck Josh.
quote:
I wish you all the best this coming season. I have enjoyed your posts and looked forward to the next addition this summer. Your the type of young man that makes this game so special. Your the type of young man that makes this country what it is and what is should be. Good luck Josh.



Smile
One is never taller than when he bends over to help another human being.

I pray that next years team has the same compassion and understanding for this young man. JH your grace and dignity will be returned to you in this life and in the hereafter. God bless you and good luck. Remain true to yourself and you will always be a success.
JH,
As you already know, I think you are very special, have enjoyed your summer blog.

Keep working hard, good things will come from it!
Josh- thank you so much for sharing this summer with all of us on the hsbbweb. We all obviously love baseball and it's been heartwarming to read your stories. Your love of the sport comes out in your writing. You are an amazing person and writer and I think your future holds great things.

Thanks for sharing with us all. Please check in through the year. Good luck to you and your team this season.

Thank you!
Thanks for sharing your summer with us Josh. You have a genuine ability to bring us into your story, and that's a special gift. Congratulations on a successful summer, and best of luck to you this upcoming school year!
Where does Josh go to school? I would like to follow him this year.

If he's half as good of a pitcher as he is a writer he should have a long career playing baseball! Smile

Good luck Josh.
The reason why this site was invented is to read a thread like this one! Josh, your last entry put the "icing on the cake." You are a fine young man, and may success come your way no matter what you do. Best of luck going forward.
Last edited by MN-Mom
Josh - that last season ending post was terrible! it really was just not that good! -
Big Grin

Aww- just kidding! I wanted to see if you were awake yet from your long season!

Let me know when and if Oneonta plays on LI (perhaps at Baseball Heaven) and this dad of another NY college pitcher will try and come out to root you on- perhaps against that other SUNY team that has an evil dragon! Wink

Best wishes- I will be keeping tabs on you and the team!
Last edited by K Complex
Josh,

Good luck this school year. That one time we chatted in the chat room was indeed a memorable treasure. I will look forward to next Summer and we can exchange notes. Thanks for all the insights.

That you tube video was indeed "GOLDEN".

Like my signature says.."You are already a DIAMOND in my eyes."

RR23
I'd once again like to thank everyone who has read/followed/posted here on this thread. I started it back in May as merely a cool little tidbit and since then it has been viewed by thousands of people and been made a Golden Thread. I appreciate all the support and it made me very happy to know that my writing was not only thought of as mature and correct, but that it was positively touching and helping people that shared similar passions for the game as I do.

Before I start getting into this post I'd just like to throw in something really quick for those who had previously followed along in the thread. The young man Aaron who I befriended throughout the summer will no longer be returning to his spot as an usher for the Morehead City Marlins. He called me about a week ago to inform me that he'd be moving in and living with his father next summer in Raleigh and working as a clubhouse attendant for the Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate for the Rays. He also informed me that he would be attempting to start taking classes in January at a local community college in hopes of working towards an associates degree in management, and is interested in moving on to some sort of front office position with a team in the future. I just wanted to share this information with everyone here because I felt so proud of Aaron when he told me this. With everything that we'd been through during the summer and all the talks we had, he began realizing that he is able to make strides in his life to do the things he loves, despite his specific incapability to do certain things due to his disability.


I spoke to Coach Bergman a few weeks ago and requested another contract for next summer. Unfortunately, he informed me that there was no room on the pitching staff for him to offer me anything more than a temporary contract. He said that there was a lot of high profile players that they were bringing in and the roster was pretty tight and full. At first I was pretty upset...I argued with him that I deserved a spot solely based on my good performance last year, and it wasn't fair that he would take higher profile players over me just because I go to a D-III school. He told me that he was extremely sorry and wished there was something he could do, but "you know how it works."

A few days later I called him back and apologized for speaking to him the way I did and told him I felt like Crash Davis in Bull Durham when he added that last part of the conversation in. He laughed and said that if anything comes up I'll be the first person to call, but they'd only be returning 3 players from last summer's roster. I told him I understand and I am not upset, just disappointed because I loved the experience. We parted on good terms, and I told him I'd keep in touch.

I have no hard feelings towards the Marlins organization. I'm very thankful for the opportunities they gave me and the fabulous experience they provided last summer for me. In fact, I began thinking it could be a blessing in disguise...that I'd have the opportunity to have a different experience.

I began e-mailing other summer teams for the 2011 summer (my last summer of collegiate summer eligibility, barring injury). I scattered e-mails throughout leagues...the Cape, Northwoods, NECBL, Alaska. I got various levels of responses ranging from "No thanks" to a temporary contract offer. But I wanted security, I wanted a full-time contract with a team so that I could play for them for a full summer. I got frustrated with the process and started flipping through HSBBWeb for some advice. I figured since everyone has been so great here in the past that perhaps I could find a pot of gold for myself.

Lo and behold, I was right. I came across a post by hokieone saying that he had just become the GM of a new team in the Valley League, the Strasburg Express. I sent an inquiring PM to hokieone explaining my situation and requesting more information about the team and whatnot. Within 24 hours of my initial PM, the Director of Player Personnel for the Express mailed a full contract to my college coach's office for me to sign.

So next summer I will be playing for hokieone's Strasburg Express of the Valley League. hokieone has been very hasty in the signing process, and it has been greatly appreciated on my front. My initial skepticism about joining the team (there's always a sense of insecurity when trying new things) was quickly washed away when I received an e-mail from the Northern Virginia Daily. hokieone recommended to the NV Daily, the local newspaper for the Shenandoah Valley, that I provide a blog type publication for the newspaper throughout the summer, documenting the team's progress from a player's perspective. While this hasn't been finalized, I have spoken with the people from the newspaper and articles will probably begin to be published sometime in the spring, before I report to start playing.

Thank you to hokieone for believing in my pitching abilities and for providing the opportunity to experience playing in the Valley League next summer. It feels very good to be wanted for a team, and the ease of the entire process has been great. And thank you once again to everyone that has been following my documentation of my experiences. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my stories with all of you and am truly grateful for the wealth of responses that have come from it. If everything goes smoothly with the newspaper, I will soon be able to add "published author" to my resume, and I give much of that credit to those here who have taken their time to read what I have to say.

Thanks again, and starting in June of 2011, Go Express!
Last edited by J H
For all of those that put down the HSBBW and use it for other purposes in which it is intended need to read this, what a great story!

Way to go hokieone!

Josh,
You got a lot going for you, whatever you are doing keep doing it. Smile TPM
quote:
For all of those that put down the HSBBW and use it for other purposes in which it is intended need to read this, what a great story!

Way to go hokieone!

Josh,
You got a lot going for you, whatever you are doing keep doing it.


That is simply awesome JH. I am so happy that everything worked out for you. And lets give a shout out to one of our own who stepped up and took care of one of our own. Thats the way the baseball world works. Good people taking care of good people. I have no doubt you will do very well and help them win games. And hokieone knows that.

hokieone, from one baseball guy to another great call!
Very Very Nice! Congratulations JH, I may have to subscribe to the newspaper up there to follow your blog. You are a class act and will go as far as your dreams will take you.

Awesome example of our baseball cyber community!
Baseball and writing. Wow. That's really terrific! I think many of us sense there are many chapters left for you to write.

And congrats to Aaron as well.
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

congratulations to both of you. sounds like a win,win.
And the karma continues on this great site!

What a great story all the way around. Way to go jh and hokieone!!!

hokieone's actions show that they are a class act and they will be an asset to the Valley League.

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