Wazzup Team BKAL member? How are you feeling today (Spiritually, Mentally, and Physically)?
So, what happened between the day I found out I made it to the Big Leagues and the day I wound up in that hospital room?
Well, after that moment with Bobby Valentine in the outfield of the Minnesota Twins spring training home with Kirby Puckett and Shane Mack, I was basically floating on air for the next week until we arrived in Arlington. On the chartered plane from Florida to Texas I couldn’t believe how much it reminded me of being in the fraternity with all my Theta Xi brothers.
Opening day was magical. My parents were in the stands, President Bush was hanging out in the locker room before throwing the 1st pitch and Nolan Ryan was the games starting pitcher. Can you imagine going from shaking hands with the President, to being called out to the foul line during introductions in front of 50,000 people within 10 minutes? It was awesome and if Robin Yount hadn’t made that diving catch in the outfield on the 1st ball I hit, it would’ve been even more spectacular 😉
My actual fraternity brothers from Ucla jumped on a Winnebago from LA for my 1st start in Centerfield and if you can picture it 7 of them painted one letter each from my last name on their chest and did the wave during the game. Nolan Ryan came up to me to let me know that he thought that was pretty cool, to which internally I thought “holy HOF batman.”
Before the slide that sidelined me and eventually landed me in the hospital, one of the most memorable moments I had was at Camden Yards with the Ripken brothers (Cal & Billy). So I’m on 1st base and Valentine puts the hit & run on through the signs of Davey Lopes. I get my 3-2 lead (feel me diamonds-dawgs?) and I choose the pitchers heel as my KEY. He lifts his heel and I take off for 2nd. I count three steps and look in towards the hitter to see where the ball was hit but i didn’t find it. So I swung my head back towards 2nd base and saw Billy Ripken go into a fielding crouch so I continued on. I sensed it was strange that as I was rounding 2nd Cal Ripken was in the same fielding crouch as brother Billy but my body kept on towards third. That’s when I picked up the 3rd base coach who was flailing his arms in the air, “gently requesting” that I reverse direction and head back to 1st as the ball was a 400ft pop up into short right field. Intellectually I knew to retouch 2nd before returning to 1st but i was freaking the F out so I made the decision to run straight from shortstop across the mound and back to 1st…you can laugh, it’s cool…thanks Billy & Cal (best deek/fake out ever) 😉