Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The great game of baseball !

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve written – and so much has happened! Here’s a quick recap: Pitched against Rana’ana Express, looking for my first win of the year, gave
up no earned runs and came out in the sixth with a man on base; the next hitter went yard off the relief pitcher for a 2-run HR and we lost, final score 3-1. My ERA was 1.04, with an 0-2 record. So it only makes sense that my NEXT start against Petach Tikva would be a ridiculous 8-7 win, where I would give up all seven runs in the first three innings and we would fight back tooth and nail and take the lead, and then Raffy, the pitcher who gave up the ill-timed HR in the Ra’anana game, came in and SLAMMED the door on the Pioneers and we won! I give up 7 runs, I win. Go figure! That’s why I love baseball.

So I pitched an inning earlier today against Bet Shemesh, the first-place team – we won, 17-6, and I pitched on my off day to get a little work in before my big start this Sunday against Modi’in in the TV game (someone TiVo it for me, please?). I thought someone was playing a trick on me before the game, as I took my cleats out of my bag before we stretched, and when I came back I only had my right cleat! The other one was missing – I figured someone was playing a baseball-prank on me, so I waited and waited for the other one to reappear… but it didn’t! So I warmed up pre-game, and then threw in the bullpen before going into the game – and had no left cleat!!! I pitched in the game with only one cleat on and a tennis shoe on the other foot, threw my inning and came back in – still no cleat. Luckily it wasn’t a long outing for me and the game wound up being a laugher after we scored 10 runs in our half of the 6th! So when I came back to the players’ dorms, there was the cleat, sitting in the middle of the floor. I had left it there myself, and I never even noticed. I could have sworn they were both in my bag…Anyway that brings us up to date. I just found out I’m on the All-Star team, which is a huge honor for me and I look forward to representing the North as well as I can. It’s also very humbling, as I know a lot of great players on all 6 teams, especially Netanya, who are great players and really deserved to play in this game. I look forward to doing the best I can in their absence, and enjoying the experience. I will be joined on the All-Star roster by my teammates Raffy Rojano and Justin Prinstein on the mound, Ryan Forsythe, Hector de los Santos, and Ramon “Ray-Ray” or Ray-Rod” Rodriguez on the infield, and laser-armed Josh Doane in the OF.

Erin is in town for two weeks, and my mother and sister are coming in two days! I also have my friend Gillian coming in August, and my coworker and friend Stephanie will be here also in August – it’s so exciting to be here in Tel Aviv, enjoying myself, playing baseball for a living again, and having so many people come to see me!!! I can’t express how much it means to me to get everyone’s calls and (in special circumstances) visits – I miss everyone so much, but definitely love my time here. Keep in touch, everyone, and if anyone wants anything from here, let me know ASAP!!! I'm also including some pictures of my time here - hope you enjoy them!

Me signing autographs for (on) a fan...

Me on the field Opening Day with two of my best friends on the team -
"Captain" Dan Rootenberg and Mike "White Crane" Kerfeld.

What I thought was a cool media blueprint for camera placement, Opening

Out for sushi in Herlziyya and showing off game tickets: Me with Ty "Leif"
Eriksen, Ike, Crane, and Amit "Meat" Kurz.

Finally, our own Pied Piper of Hamelin, the now-shockingly blond Ryoju Kihara, who has developed the amazing ability to teleport out of the stadium at the oddest times, usually leading local children and curious passersby in jogging sessions, Tai Chi, or naptime.

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