Tuesday, July 31, 2007

All-Star Game Experience

Just a quick update, now that the IBL All-Star Game has come and gone. I have to say, we have some REAL talent here in this league. I pitched my inning for the North team and gave up an RBI to one of the league’s top hitters in Eladio Rodriguez, but felt good about my outing and aside from that pitch I feel I did a good job. I am still maturing and learning as a pitcher, and I had a good conversation with Kenny Holtzman before the game (he's the manager of Petach Tikva and the winningest Jewish pitcher in MLB history) which I think will serve me in good stead the rest of the year. It's basically about my approach to each hitter and what I should be taking from each outing to help me improve my next one. I really wish I had someone like him to talk to when I first started playing baseball competitively, almost 20 years ago. I am lucky, however, that I have a good enough arm, body, and mindset to allow me to compete at the professional level at an age when most people are slowing down. I really am rededicating myself to my physical conditioning and next year I expect to be back, and even better...

In the meantime, the game itself was an amazing experience. At times we’ve played here to crowds of fewer than 200, so it was great to play in front of over 1000 again - and I have developed quite the fan contingent here! When I was younger I remember many of my favorite players had their own fan bases - like Doc Gooden's K Korner posters, and David Cone's Coneheads... I wonder whether my supporters can and will come up with something? But I think that's something I need to earn - and that means throwing fewer balls, getting ahead of more batters, and hitting my spots. I know I have a well-above-average fastball, curve, and change for this league, but my problem has been consistency and accuracy. I have basically been beating myself. For the rest of this year, I look forward to working on some of the things Kenny and I discussed, and hopefully I'll stay healthy and have an even better second half of the season!

Finally, I've been having a wonderful time here in general. The people in Israel are amazing, and they all have their own stories about their lives, many of which I've been learning. The nightlife is great, my teammates are tremendous, and the whole experience is fantastic. I miss all my friends from NYC, and I wish they could each be here! I did have recent visitors from the States, and will be having more, and I am touched they came all this way to see me and share my experiences.

I have a month left and I intend to make the most of it! Here are a few pictures from All-Star weekend, including a couple which were sent to me - hope you enjoy them!


Pregame lineup of both All-Star rosters

Scott Perlman, my teammate at home in NY for the Fordham Red Sox

A moment of zen on the warmup mound before my inning

Knocking knuckles with my catcher Juan following my All-Star inning, as Nate Fish runs by

Posing with my sister and mother after coming out of the game

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