Love

Well, last week, I had no idea where I’d be.  This week, I do know.  New Orleans.  I’m a River Bandit.   And I’d like to smile and tell everyone how happy I am, but the truth is, I feel numb.  I honestly didn’t care where I would be pitching so long as I could toe the rubber every fifth day and the catcher and I could go over the hitters and the signs.

I am a pitcher.  It is an integral part of my identity.  It is not something I do because I get paid–it is something that I do for love.   I love the feel of winding up and letting fly.  I love the mental game of throwing what the hitter is not expecting.  And the physical game of powering the fastball right by a great hitter who’s looking for it.

Oh, okay, that is somewhat exaggerated.  I do care where I am.  Because I like winning games.  I like have a good offense supporting me at the plate and a good defense surrounding me in the field.  It really is a team game.  And if you’re going to win as a pitcher, you have to win as a team.

The Crescent City isn’t a bad place to play ball.  And I’ve played for Skip before in Nashville.  Give me another week to wind down and I’ll tell you I’m enjoying it.  But right now, I’m too mentally fatigued to look beyond my love for pitching.

***

I wrote a little something for my former GM to the tune of  “Another One Bites the Dust”

Duke logs onto the EPL
His in-box overflows
You know that nothin’ is goin’ well
For Chandler or for Rose.
Time is passing, yeah it’s goin’ by
Duke needs to get something done
The offers all get ignored
Cuz he’s waitin’ for a better one…. oh yeah

CHRORUS
Another team’s bid ignored
Another team’s bid ignored
And another PM and another IM
And another team’s bid ignored
Hey, has he replied to you?
Another team’s bid ignored…..

How do you think the players feel
About this waiting game
They keep hearing rumors about a deal
It’s driving them insane
Is he open? is he ready to trade?
Or are the players gonna stay?
He seems to ignore all bids
There’s gotta be a better way. … uh huh

CHRORUS

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Love

Uncertainty

I know who I am.  I know what uniform I’ve put on for every day of spring training.  It has my name on the back.  Every jersey I have worn since I was eight has said “ROSE” on the back (before that, it was “RYAN R.” to differentiate me from the other kids named Ryan).  There have been a lot of names on the front though.  Hammers when I wass eight for Andy’s Hardware.  Buckeyes when I was in college.  Nights when I first started playing professionally.  And Nightmares when I first made it to The Show.  Today was the last day of spring training.  I wore my Catfish uniform.

Will I wear the Florida Catfish over my heart when Opening Day comes around?  I honestly do not know.  I have discussed trades with my manager and I have told him I’d stay here.  He has given me permission to speak with other teams.  And I have, to some extent.  I’m not naming names because that’s not the important part.   The important part is I would play for any of these guys…at least the ones who contacted me.  There are a few others I’d play for as well, but I haven’t heard from any of them.  I figure that’s because I haven’t been “shopped” there.  I also haven’t gone around initiating contact with every GM in the league or anything.  Like I said at the beginning, I’m content to stay.

I just want my GM to make up his mind as to what he’s doing.  If he’s hanging onto me till July, then say so. If I’m here tlll my contract is up, let me plan for it.  If he’s trading me tomorrow, then get it done.  The uncertainty is, well, uncertain.  I want to know, that’s all.

I guess it’s like the rest of life though.  When you wake up, chances are pretty good that you’ll be able to tuck yourself in at the end of the day.  For millions of people, that doesn’t happen though.  Everything from car accidents to drowning to drugs to being hit by lightning.  I suppose, in a way, it’s petty of me to worry about who I’ll be working for come opening day.  I should be grateful that I’m around and in good physical shape to play.   I need to be ready to give my team (whatever team that is) and my fans the best I can give.  Not just in the first game of the season, but in every game.

I know who I am.  And that should be enough.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Uncertainty

Blah, blah, blog

If you don’t want to read about medical matters, or about me, then STOP RIGHT NOW and click here and have a party.

My face hurts. Well, the left side of my face anyway. I was able to walk off the field with a bloody towel over half my face. I guess when my cheekbone went, it knocked loose something in my nose. They rushed me to a hospital (that sounds like a cliche, but they thought I might have a concussion). At the hospital, they x-rayed me and I had to sign all kinds of paperwork. The team can sign off on payment, but I have to sign off on consent to be treated. And I had to consent to an IV, consent to the x-rays, consent to the surgery …

I didn’t mention the surgery. it was knock-you-out-with-an-IV surgery. I woke up with stitches in my eyelid and my gums above my back teeth but my face didn’t look squashed anymore, only swollen. They had to put two screws in. Because of the stitches in my mouth, I have to be careful of what I eat for the next two weeks or so. The stitches in my eyelid will come out sooner, but the mouth stitches are the dissolving kind.

Had that ball hit me a fraction of an inch higher, I might not be here. Or I might have been blinded. But it didn’t break my eye socket, thankfully. When something like this happens to you, you have to count your blessings. I’m alive and I can see. I didn’t sustain a concussion (I was told it was because I didn’t compound matters by thwacking my head on the ground). I have insurance and I should be able to pitch again in a few weeks. Sure, I’ll have pain for longer than that — bones don’t have the best blood supply because of their density so they heal slower.

***

Yeah, I made those videos to try to keep the guys here. Thornhammer was already on his way out the door. I don’t know if I made an impression on the others. I know at least one was in a wait and see if we make the post-season. And I may have just taken the post-season chances with me, as it could go down to the last few games. But you have to count your blessings. Some philosopher said that that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. And I’m not dead.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Blah, blah, blog

Why

Stupid press conferences.  They always seem to find questions that you can’t answer.  Or that are too complex to answer in thirty seconds.  Like the big one.  Why I’m staying in Florida.  Well, it’s a long answer.

I suppose I could start by talking about how I left New Jersey.  Basically, I felt that management wasn’t treating me the way I thought I deserved to be treated.  So I used a clause to opt out.  Management knew it was coming, but their response was, “do what you need to do”.   And, well, leaving was what I thought I needed to do.  I looked forward to my new life with some new team where I would be treated better.

So I signed with Nashville. It seemed like the perfect fit.  But then Skip … skipped town.  And we had been gelling as a team and playing so well.   But the new manager…he was no Skip.   Well, I didn’t threaten, I just pointed out I only had one year left.  And that this wasn’t the same team I’d signed on with.  So I would be leaving at the end of my contract.  At which point, a deal was made with San Francisco and I was reunited with Thunder *and* Pancakes in the same rotation.  And I did well enough, but the magic wasn’t there and when my year ended, I moved on.

So that puts me in Florida.  We were rolling.  And then he boss disappeared.  I mean vanished.  The league appointed a new guy and that meant that I had the option to leave at the end of the season.   But I’ve done enough leaving I think, between opting out of New Jersey and being traded from Nashville.  I don’t know if it’s because I was given a second chance at life, but I’m not a quitter and I think that opting out is the same as giving up on a team and it’s skipper.  It’s late in the year but Rizzo seems on top of things and I like his can-do attitude.

I’m staying.  I signed a contract and I pledged to the fans that I’d be here.   I don’t want to go all “my word is my bond” or anything but the truth is, I need to step up and start taking responsibility and control of my life.   That includes living up to the contracts I’ve signed.  I’ve disappointed the fans in the past and I don’t want to be that guy anymore.  I want to be a guy the fans embrace because he’s out there giving his all and he’s not cutting and running at the first hint of trouble.

You want to know why I’m staying?  Because it’s the right thing for me to do.

And then …

I’m human after all.  Well, I knew it all the time but it’s tough to put into words.  I knew that I’d come back down to earth but didn’t want to say aything because I was doing so well.  Except in an interview, my agent said, “Rose is riding an eleven game streak” and then followed that up with a statement that now she’d said it out loud, it was broken.  Yup, my streak ended then and while I’m not blaming her, well, you need to watch what you say.

The thing about streaks is they end.  That sounds trite, but it’s true.  While you can look at a streak as a coin-toss-type does he or doesn’t he, the truth is there’s a human element involved.  And whether it’s pressure or fatigue, the human element will end the streak at some point.

If it were a coin toss, the chances of continuting the streak would diminish in a precise mathematical sequence.  They would approach zero but never achieve it.   In truth, that’s a lot like Zeno’s proof that Achilles won’t overtake the tortoise.   It will happen even if you can wave numbers around that say it doesn’t have to.

Now onto more seriuos matters.   My GM is AWOL.  I miean he is missing in inaction.   No big trades for Florida at the deadlie, no adjustments to the rotation at the break.   I don’t know what is going on but I don’t like it.   And what’s worse is that I may have chased him off.   Oh, not delibereately, but my little accident was tough on the front office.  I’m one of the high-profile team members and while eveyone knew going in that I suffer with anxiety, having your ace OD on a prescription drug, flat-out looks bad.

And speaking of looking bad,  Sportseed has pulled all of my TV and net ads.  There are still couples asking after me, but they say they can’t accept any new samples, either.   The representative met with my agent so I’m not really certain of how it all went down but the point is, when you’re that screwed up, people want to distance themselves from you.

And then … it’s a lot like starting over.   Hi, I’m Ryan, welcome to my blog.

Second chance

I guess you could call it a wake-up call.  That game could have been my last ever.  “Forced retirement’ I guess you’d call it.   And I didn’t pitch it that way.   I pitched it like just another game.

I’ve been asked in the media and by my coaches and teammates what I’ve been doing differently since then. Nothing, I tell them.  Because I haven’t changed my delivery or mechanics.  I’m not throwing off a different part or the rubber.  What I *am* doing is treating each game like it could be the last game I pitch.  And if it is going to be my last game, i want to show the fans, the league and the world who I really am.  Ryan Rose, Cy Young Award-winning pitcher.   Perennial All-Star.  One of the elite in the Elite Players League.

I’m not planning on retiring or being hurt or anything like that.  I don’t *intend* for any game to be my last.   But I didn’t plan that little incident either.   I guess you could say I found out the hard way.  It was something I had heard at church while I was growing up but I didn’t really understand.   “No one knows the hour of his calling” or something like that.  No one knows when his elbow will break, either.  Somehow, though, that didn’t touch me the same way.

Now I’m treating every game like it’s the game of my life.  And it shows.  My fastball has more giddy-up and  my breaking balls bite harder. And I’m hitting my spots well. Getting double digits in strikeouts every game and 18 against the Crush.  It’s like being reborn almost.  Kind of like being a rookie all over again but you don’t have to make the rookie mistakes

I was given a second chance and I’m not wasting it.  It may be my last.

Enough is not enough

So I’m seeing a therapist.  A lot of guys (and girls) see therapists.  There’s nothing wrong with having a therapist on your payroll.  My therapist is named Dr LaDonna Clarke.  The doctorate is in psychology, not medicine, just to clarify.

Anyway, we talked about the concept of “enough”.  As in good enough, strong enough, smart enough, etc.  And how, instead of trying to beat myself up when I’m not the best at something, I need to sit back and say that I did enough.  So I’m supposed to think about that and journal about it.

Um, no.  It all reads real good when she says it, but when it comes down to how it actually happens in my life, in the real world of the EPL, enough isn’t enough.  No, that doesn’t mean I expect to be perfect, but what it does mean is that when I’m not, there had better be something I can point to.  Sometimes it’s me.  Sometimes it’s not.  If it’s outside my control, then, yeah, I did enough.  But if it’s something wrong I did or something right I didn’t do, then, no, it wasn’t enough.  And I can’t pretend like it was.

Maybe she’s trying to make a different point, something that I’m not quite grasping.  But when your ERA is bigger than your shoe size, like mine was last week, then you have to say to yourself, “it isn’t enough.”

Speaking of enough–I took enough Vallium. Not enough to kill me but more than is healthy and, needless to say, I’m taking something else now (anaxapro). And of course I feel bad about it.  It’s effing *embarrassing* to have people feeling sorry for you because they think you’re on the brink.  And tiptoeing around the whole subject.  Dammit, I’m fine.  I made a mistake–well, okay, a *series* of mistakes–but no, I’m not ready to throw in the towel.

And *that* right there is the trouble I think Dr. Clarke was getting at.  Sometimes I try too hard. I need to recognize that there is stuff I just can’t *do* and act accordingly.  Maybe what she means is that if I try my best that the trying is enough, whether or not I succeed.  You can’t measure “try” though.  You can measure success and failure.

The good news is, on the road between success and failure, my pitching seems to be pointed in the right direction. Two shutouts in a row.  And I’m stepping up the ladder of difficulty, though the next step’s a doozy.  Lancaster.