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View Full Version : Hamilton, inspiration, and my story--



I KNOW A LOT
03-19-2007, 02:30 AM
Thanks for the great forum- I would like to say that I am a Yanks fan-BUT, since moving to Sarasota from Raleigh, NC 4 months ago and because of the Hamilton move, I must say that the Reds are now my second favorite team. Couple that with the fact that I had a college teammate that made it to AAA with you guys about 8 years ago- (Eric LeBlanc-pitcher), and I can say you guys are ok with me. LOL I have been fortunate enough to catch 7 Reds ST games and have seen Hammy have 20 or so AB's...including the monster BOMB he hit at Mckechnie Field. Must have been 500 FT. It was standing room only at Ed Smith today and a beautiful day here. Also, I decided to pick up a 6 ounce pearl for the first time in 11 years to see if I could break the speed limit at the speed pitch booth. This is where it gets interesting. 4 throws all 4 seamers. Here are the results....non-alcoholic results ---lol

pitch 1---just a nice and easy 11 years off fastball--72 MPH--ok, my arm is still attached.

pitch 2---ok, I'm gonna hump up a little-mini crow hop---79 MPH. wow, not bad I thought...if only I was left handed I could turn it over and make a mill...

pitch 3---now I'm thinking, ok, full wind up time..YEAH.. steam it... lol 79MPH again...damn. Now the guy and the kids are telling me 1 more to go for 80 even though my dollar ran out on pitch 3.

so I take the bonus ball....as my tommy john repaired arm that never got a chance to chase my dream of playing yells at me just one more...and POP--
no, not my arm..but the blow up doll catcher and the gun registers 84 MPH-

The fans go crazy lol well, my wife smiles.... Anyways all of this gets me thinking. I was a pitcher once...in college. I was submitted to the Major League Scouting Bureau and had 6 to 10 scouts at my game to watch me, LeBlanc, and our centerfielder Glen Barker, who did make it to the Houston Astros for a few years. I did throw 88-91 then with a couple of bone spurs and eventually a torn ulnar collateral ligament that I didn't know about-(more to come on this-stanby). Anyways, so I am thinking today, inspired by the Hamilton comeback and feeling like I never had my chance to play at the next level- what if I get back in the gym, start a throwing program, and mount what would really not be a comeback, but just a shot- a shot I never got? I am now 34, I am thinking to myself, if I do not do it now I will never know. Plus, I did have Tommy John Surgery back in 1996 in hopes of going to spring training back then. But I didn't have the financial support from family, (dad left when I was 1 and mom busted her butt to raise my brother and me), but I really didn't have a support system to lean on after college was over and I had surgery. I was forced to get a "normal job" and my dream was lost and buried under UPS boxes....(yes, I worked as a manager at UPS)..In fact, here is a little side note...one of my employees was Brien Taylor- yup, the 1st overall pick of the 1991 amatuer draft and the first 1 million dollar sign on bonus player. He suffered that terrible shoulder injury to his throwing arm standing up for his brother out in Beaufort, NC. So their I was working the night shift at the Raleigh UPS Hub in a arm brace-( not able to long toss the QVC and Home Shopping Network boxes to Taylor) LOL that I adjust a dial on every week. I really cannot afford to go to rehab because the injury was not done at UPS and my college just outright shafted me by not paying for it..(again, lack of support system to guide me). While in school, I went to Dr. Pappas at UMASS and he missed the tear....he said if I wanted to pitch the rest of my college season to get a cortizone shot and it would decrease the inflammation caused by "tendonitis". Yeah, I had tendonitis alright......GEEZ--I was pitching with a torn medial collateral ligament and my coach at college told me he needed me because we were trying to get an NCAA bid. "I was on scholarship and needed to earn it." So, great, 38 degree tempeture and here I am with a cortizone shot, muscle stim, ultrasound, and stock in Motrin and having my coach run me out there with a torn UCL. Of course, my command was hit and miss along with my velocity. But because Pappas didn't do an MRI Arthrogram or a CT arthrogram he didn't find it...So here is what happend....I do not get drafted at all- I end up moving to Raleigh NC from Albany NY and I end up going to Duke to get another opinion. Mind you I am on my own just trying to find a way to fix my arm so I can catch on somewhere, anywhere- Northern League, whatever. Of course, they find the tear, and of course, I am absolutely not surprised because I knew it was either bone spurs, cartiledge, or the worst--torn UCL. I get the surgery, it goes great, I have it around Christmas- 1996 and I cannot afford to rehab, or focus on baseball because I needed to make money to live. So I unfortunately lost focus on my dream and for the last 10 years have been working in the real world. The whole time I am following my friends who got drafted and watching the Yanks rule the late 1990's. While I am in Raleigh I hear about this kid at Athens Drive High School-(over near NC State) name Josh Hamilton and I hear he is the next Roy Hobbs. It is now 1997-1999 and I get to follow this kid while I am running the tightest ship in the shipping business...lol. When he goes 1st in the draft ahead of Josh Beckett, I am thinking, wow what a great story. An all American kid with a family that is together and a great support system- this kid is gonna be the next Don Mattingly-(again I'm a Yankees fan and he was my man growing up). Im 27 or so when he signs and reminding myself that I had my chance and I got hurt-life is tough sometimes and I need to deal with it. So lets fast forward a bit to a dump trunk in Bradenton, FL and a lost kid without his support system. Man, when I heard that Hamilton was using and ...we all know the story-at least real baseball fans do so I don't need to go into details, I thought OMG-how can this be? He had it all. 3.96 Mil, the family, the talent...man was I upset. I followed his story off and on. It was like a daytime soap that you could miss for a bunch of episodes but then catch it and still know what is going on. Fast forwad a little more. When he was re-instated. He winds up at Hudson Valley last year and my summer league college teammate and long time Rays farm hand, Matt Quatraro is managing there. How weird, my summer league catcher is now managing him. Anyways, I follow closer and he is now playing close to my college. I am rooting for him to make strides. After all of his fights and staying clean he goes down with a knee last summer and I think, well he will come back if he stays clean. And now fast forward again...I move to Sarasota to take a job as a bank manager and here he is with The Narrons' as a rule V...Narrons part of the NC connection....Johnny coached him on a select team..along with Barry Foote's son Derrick. Now, I am in a great financial position and able to support myself at 34 years of age. And I am getting ready to take my shot. A shot I never got and a shot I am taking for me. I don't care if I play 1 game professionally. I just want to be able to say I got my shot and I have no regrets. Hamilton def. inspired me. He was/is fighting for his life from this wicked devil and he is winning. If he can fight back and battle, then so can I. I will be training at the Fusion Fitness in Bradenton, Fl starting Monday, March 20th. I will be working toward a tryout- and hopefully the chance to face Hammer at that tryout. That is my goal. I am not too out of shape. 6'2, 210 , and a fastball after a 11 year layoff in the mid 80's..I'll keep you updated. :thumbup: Jason

BCubb2003
03-19-2007, 03:15 AM
You've come to the right place. You should be the Reds closer by Opening Day.

Topcat
03-19-2007, 03:23 AM
Jason best of luck and if the Winnipeg Goldeyes offer accept it! They are truly a Cadillac franchise in the Northern League just ask Jeff Zimmerman and ex high draft chocie of the Red's Bobby Madritsch, and Jeff Sparks who played for The Tampa D'Rays along with George Sherril of the Mariner's Pen. If you go independent league and are offered this is a truly great orginization that sells out every game and is run first class. Best of luck Jason and know I am personally cheering you on :beerme:

Jpup
03-19-2007, 05:40 AM
I am almost 27 and have thought about doing something like that since I was about 18. I was all county all of my life until I was a Freshman in high school. Long story, short, the head coach played politics and made me ride the pine for a year. It was a big blow to my ego so I couldn't take it and walked away from the game I love almost more than anything. I wish I had another chance to go back and change things. If I could change 1 thing about my decision making process, above all others, I would have never quit playing baseball. I did learn from the mistake though and it's helping me with others areas in my life right now. Don't give up on something you really want no matter who tells you that you aren't good enough or the circumstances forbid your opportunity.

I certainly wish you the best of luck and please keep us updated on your progress.

otto
03-20-2007, 07:52 AM
Great stories!

KoryMac5
03-20-2007, 12:35 PM
[QUOTE=I KNOW A LOT;1267422]Thanks for the great forum- I would like to say that I am a Yanks fan-[QUOTE]

Your not a big Bubba Crosby fan are you.
Inside joke for many of us on here, thanks for the stories.

Jr's Boy
03-20-2007, 01:36 PM
You've come to the right place. You should be the Reds closer by Opening Day.


I'm dyin here!:D

Jpup
03-20-2007, 03:51 PM
I'm dyin here!:D

good to see you like my avatar.

I KNOW A LOT
03-23-2007, 12:40 PM
Bubba Crosby is undersized and cannot compensate with other intangibles. If he was a second baseman or shortstop that threw righthanded than maybe he has a niche for a club; however so many other players--Denorfia comes to mind, that deserve to be bumped ahead of Crosby. I can compare Crosby's ability at the major league level to a youngster who is pitching at the 45 ft mound in little league and is lights out; however when he converts to the 60ft 6 inch mound he can't blow anything by anyone and is forced to throw junk and hope. Crosby is a AAA to AAAA level player that got a look because of his speed/defense. Outfielders need POP---in the big leagues.

I would love to be the closer for the REDS....LOL - Next year

Chip R
03-23-2007, 01:21 PM
You've come to the right place. You should be the Reds closer by Opening Day.


He's 34. That makes him way too young to be the closer. :p:

berryluther
03-23-2007, 01:32 PM
Seiously folks. I am not one who likes to rain on parades, but Hamilton at the time was judged to be one of the greatest baseball players of our generation. We got one guy who could throw 88-91 and another guy who quit in 9th grade. Get back to work work harder and maybe one day you can get assistant manager a you McDonalds.

Johnny Footstool
03-23-2007, 01:41 PM
pitch 1---just a nice and easy 11 years off fastball--72 MPH--ok, my arm is still attached.

pitch 2---ok, I'm gonna hump up a little-mini crow hop---79 MPH. wow, not bad I thought...if only I was left handed I could turn it over and make a mill...

pitch 3---now I'm thinking, ok, full wind up time..YEAH.. steam it... lol 79MPH again...damn. Now the guy and the kids are telling me 1 more to go for 80 even though my dollar ran out on pitch 3.

so I take the bonus ball....as my tommy john repaired arm that never got a chance to chase my dream of playing yells at me just one more...and POP--
no, not my arm..but the blow up doll catcher and the gun registers 84 MPH-


Were those practice pitches thrown from a replica mound, or from flat ground? If you can throw that hard from flat ground, you should be able to bring some serious heat from a mound.

I KNOW A LOT
03-23-2007, 02:41 PM
That was from flat ground. Berry Luther seems to think I should come and be his boss at Mickey D's so I can zip apple pies at his head while he is taking orders at the drive thru-
Berry, I was consistently at 88-91 and touched 94, 95 with a tail wind and a 90 degree day

5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM
03-23-2007, 02:46 PM
That was from flat ground. Berry Luther seems to think I should come and be his boss at Mickey D's so I can zip apple pies at his head while he is taking orders at the drive thru-
Berry, I was consistently at 88-91 and touched 94, 95 with a tail wind and a 90 degree day
Not Mickey D's "a you Mcdonald's"

BRM
03-23-2007, 02:56 PM
Berry Luther seems to think I should come and be his boss at Mickey D's so I can zip apple pies at his head while he is taking orders at the drive thru-
Berry, I was consistently at 88-91 and touched 94, 95 with a tail wind and a 90 degree day

Just ignore him.

I KNOW A LOT
03-23-2007, 03:13 PM
Goin to the Rays/Reds tonight at 7:05....

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Cannot wait to see how Hammy interacts with Crawford, Baldelli, ETC....

GO REDS---wait, IM a yanks fan---GO REDS except when A rod and the boys are in town--wow, what a bomb yesterday...just like him though to MASH one when it doesn't matter

5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM
03-23-2007, 03:19 PM
That was from flat ground. Berry Luther seems to think I should come and be his boss at Mickey D's so I can zip apple pies at his head while he is taking orders at the drive thru-
Berry, I was consistently at 88-91 and touched 94, 95 with a tail wind and a 90 degree day
Don't listen to that clown, if you want it go and get it. My wife is always on me about how nuts I am during softball season. She doesn't understand that while a far cry from baseball it's all I've got until I can get into the 35 and up baseball leagues. I went to Highschool at a division 1 school in ohio and still hold the record for wins with a 8-1 record my senior year. I like many kids my age got into some trouble and missed the first 4 games of the season for partying so I could have improved on that mark. My problem was a lack of a curve ball, no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it right and it cost me IMO a chance to move on. I have to say though little league, highschool,and legion baseball were the greatest memories of my life. On my 35th birthday I'll be ready to mow em down.

gonelong
03-23-2007, 03:31 PM
That was from flat ground. Berry Luther seems to think I should come and be his boss at Mickey D's so I can zip apple pies at his head while he is taking orders at the drive thru-
Berry, I was consistently at 88-91 and touched 94, 95 with a tail wind and a 90 degree day

Give 'em the cheese high and inside. ;)

TeamSelig
03-23-2007, 04:00 PM
lmao

I KNOW A LOT
03-27-2007, 02:37 PM
Going to the Rays Reds game Friday afternoon. Gonna miss seeing the Reds down here. It has been a great ST