I figured that I was due for a Day in the Life post but with Major League Baseball’s playoffs in full swing I thought it would be fitting to do a post from my former life as a Minor League Baseball player. I played for two seasons and the following would be a typical day for a home game in which I pitched.
11:00 pm (previous night): Resolve to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.
11:05 pm (previous night): Can’t sleep, turn on Xbox. Play FIFA (or go to the bar)
3:30 am: Pass out.
10:00 am: Alarm goes off, I had set it this early in order to get up and make myself breakfast. Nuke alarm.
11:00 am: Drop dead alarm goes off. Today we have a team lift at a gym by the field. At the upper levels there are strength training facilities at the stadium but in A-ball there aren’t so we have bi-weekly workouts at a local gym amongst the soccer moms. I lost the host family lottery and am about a 20 minute drive from the field so this is the latest I can wake up and still make the lift on time.
11:30 am-12:00 pm: “Lift weights”. I put this in quotes because the strength program is not the most strenuous. There are actual limits to how much weight you can lift. I was a pitcher and for upper body movements like
12:00 pm-1:30 pm: This is awkward time for me since I live so far from the field. We would have pitcher stretch at 2:30 pm for a 6:00 pm start so it's not enough time for me to go home since I have a 40 minute roundtrip commute to my house. Normally I’d head over to the Bob Evans and have breakfast and watch Netflix on my phone. I’d also have to change out of my team issued workout gear because you would get fined if you wore your gear outside the park. I only made $1,100 dollars per month pre-tax and pre-clubhouse dues so those fines hurt.
1:30 pm-2:30 pm: Arrive at the field. Get changed back into my workout gear and throw a heating pack on my shoulder to warm up before I get stretched by the trainer. This probably doesn’t do anything but it kills 20 minutes so I made it part of my daily routine. Also I take my first two Aleve of the day.
2:30 pm-3:30 pm: Pitchers would head out to stretch and throw. Depending on who your catch partner was it could be the worst part of your day. My first day with the team I threw with the one guy who didn’t have a partner. After he hit threw his first toss to me at 97 mph from 45 feet away I resolved to find the slowest throwing pitcher and make him my partner. I found a soft-tossing lefty and it was bliss. We would also work on team defense during this period. Bunt plays were pretty hilarious because we’d practice them all week and then completely screw it up in the game. There’s an inverse relationship between practice time and execution on bunts, I’m convinced if you never practiced bunt defense you’d never mess it up in the game.
3:30 pm-4:30 pm: Home team batting practice. This was generally pretty miserable. We stood in the hot sun and shagged fly balls. Sometimes you’d play games where you’d see who could get the most points (3 for a fly ball, 2 for a 1 hop, 1 for a groundball) but that often took too much effort. We would also do our running during this time. There were 6 days a week of running, Sunday Funday was a no-run day. This would be running for time, or poles, or sprints. To me this didn’t make sense because we weren’t running the ball across the plate but it gave our strength coach something to do.
4:30 pm-5:30 pm: Visitor batting practice. We would come into the clubhouse and eat from our pre-game spread (normally cold cuts or PBJ. You eat them so often that since my last game I have not eaten a PBJ). You could also listen to music or watch a movie but most guys played cards. The game of choice was Two’s which is sort of like hearts except for dumber people. I would also take two more Aleve.
5:30 pm-6:00 pm: Pitchers would head out to the bullpen while our starter warms up. This was a great time to scout the stands for hot girls. I’m sure most people have heard of the ball trick where you write your phone number on a game ball and toss it to a girl in the stands? It works.
6:00 pm-7:45 pm: Early innings of the game. I would generally pitch in the 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th innings so in the early part of the game I would not know the score or the inning. I really didn’t pay attention at all. We’d play the name game or the cities game or dig a hole (seriously, we dug a huge hole in the bullpen and buried a bunch of baseballs, I’m convinced some of my teammates thought a tree would grow from them). Around the 6th I’d go take another 4 to 8 Aleve depending on how my arm felt, and drink a 5-hour energy. Also I’d have a cup of coffee every 2-3 innings. Your arm hurts constantly during the season so the key is to find the balance of pain relievers and energy drinks that allows your arm to feel numb but doesn’t make your eyeballs jitter. It’s a delicate balance.
8:00 pm: Think, "man my arm is killing me, I really hope I don't get in the game tonight."
8:15 pm: Be really upset that I wasn’t getting into the game.
8:16 pm: Get the call to warm up. Depending on the situation this means you’d generally have between 1 minute and a half hour to get ready. I once went into a game where I had thrown 6 throws. Not warm up pitches, throws period. Thank god for coffee.
8:24 pm: Watch the manager go out to the mound and take the ball from our starter. At this point I would feel sheer terror. “Why do I do this to myself? What if I walk everyone? What if a guy hits a line drive off my face? That’d be super embarrassing. I really hope they don’t mess up my intro song because I look badass warming up to it.”
8:30 pm: Finish the inning and get the sign from the manager that I’m done for the night. I would have thrown between 5 and 20 pitches. Not a bad gig if you can get it.
9:30 pm-10:30 pm: Game finishes and head to the clubhouse. On the way sign some autographs that devalue whatever I signed them on. I’d then do our post-throwing shoulder circuit which involved doing various exercises with 3 lb weights. My rotator cuff was jacked. Then you’d eat from the post-game spread which was often pasta and a salad. Only the best in A-ball!
11:00 pm: Head home and resolve to get a good night’s sleep.