As I write this, I’m sitting on an executive-style office chair in front of my computer which is on a plastic folding table because I cannot find a computer desk that I like. I’m wearing boxers and a golf shirt and I’m looking around for something made of wood. Ah, the framed picture of Nolan Ryan. I had to leave my seat but I knocked on it.
There’s a superstition (and this one didn’t start in baseball) that if something good is happening and you talk about it you need to knock on wood so you don’t jinx it. Weel, there’s a lot of good things happening right now. So I just brought the picture here and set it on the other side of the keyboard from the mouse.
We had a 14-game winning streak. And I didn’t break it. But we are ahead in the conference again. We’re playing like champions and getting it done out there. The other day when I said that about Priebe being only one guy….well, turns out he’s the man. When we got him back was when we went on that streak.
And I have to take a second to say that I’ve been learning a lot from Thunder about pitching. He’s the senior member of the staff. He’s our #1. It’s so automatic that it was put in writing in his contract.
But he came to me and asked if I wanted a shot at the #1 spot in the rotation. He said, “It would be a friendly competition for this year. Whoever ends up with better stats is #1 next season.” And by stats he meant ERA, WHIP, W’s, K’s, shutouts–the basic ones. Right now I have the better ERA but Thunder has more strikeouts. We both have six wins. Our WHIPs are close but I have more shutouts. Knock on wood.
This was Thunder’s idea. I don’t think he would suggest it if he didn’t think I had a chance to be the better pitcher. And that feeling that I have about his confidence in me is breathtaking. Thunder knows about pitching. So when he says I have a legitimate shot at his spot in the rotation, then I do. I know I’m a good pitcher. But that’s a little above what I’d been reaching toward. But I’ll reach it all the same. And next year, it might be Rose on the mound on opening day. Knock on wood.
But we still have to play out this year. If we can continue the way we have the last few weeks, then we’re there, baby. We’re six games ahead of Nashville and New York. We’re walking the walk. This is a great team and we’re achieving great things. They want me to tell you to buy tickets to come watch the Nightmares. But I know if you can be there, you already have your tickets.
Nightmares in 2012! Believe it!