Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SMALLS TALK: Being Friends With Pitchers

For some reason, all of my close friends are pitchers. I never noticed it until the other night. About seven of us were sitting around the kitchen table playing Poker, and I remembered a funny line our hitting coordinator had dropped during a hitters' meeting earlier that day. I broke out my best impression, delivering the line with such an uncanny precision and attention to detail that for a second, even I almost thought our coach had barged in, bought in for five bucks and was blabbering away at the end of the table. It was dead-on.

The reaction? Crickets. No one knew what the hell I was talking about, I couldn't believe it. Surely somebody present understood the reference. I looked around the table, searching for an ally - someone to back me up here. Pitcher. Pitcher. Pitcher, pitcher, pitcher. Pitcher. None of them had been at the hitters' meeting because, well, none of them were hitters. 

Wait, really? For months, I had been totally unaware that I was the token position player in our group of friends. I was baffled. Why were all my friends pitchers? 

I have no explanation. Some may say pitchers are more reasonable and intellectual - more witty and intelligent. But then again, I'm always hanging out with pitchers - they're likely the ones spreading that propaganda.

Perhaps I prefer passing time with hurlers because I already spend the bulk of my days with position players. We're all on the same schedule during fielding drills, batting practice, workouts - we can't get away from each other. Spending all that time together, it's only natural that when a free minute comes along, I prefer to spend it with someone other than the guys I've been rubbing elbows with all day.

Maybe this trend stems from my competitive nature. There's always going to be jealousy among position players. Whether it's over playing time, promotions, a certain spot in the lineup - there will always be constant competition and comparison.

When I'm kicking back and relaxing after a long day at the field, I don't want to be uncomfortable because the guy on the couch next to me stole my position - or be feeling guilty because I've played more innings than the kid kicking my ass in Call of Duty - (I may be the worst / most incompetent video-gamer of all time.) I want to clear my mind and get away from baseball for a bit. Sometimes you need an escape, and in the middle of nowhere, pitchers are the closest thing I've got to "non-baseball" friends.

But being the lone hitter in this group of friends isn't easy. As far as the carpool situation goes, it's a scheduling nightmare. Pitchers show up early for treatment and get their workouts in before most people even arrive at the stadium. On days pitchers are starting, they're allowed to show up hours late. In Spring Training, on days pitchers aren't throwing, they don't even have to go to the game. They're all on their own schedule - one that is unique to each pitcher and entirely different from the rest of the team.

I, on the other hand, must attend every game and, on most days, am heading into the weight room to begin my workout around the same time the pitchers are getting out of the shower and planning the rest of their day.

Last year, a group of us had been talking about the upcoming movie Inception during the days leading up to its opening night. We were all excited about what we were all sure was going to be the best movie since Sliced Bread Part II. Long story short - my pitcher pals went and saw it one night while I headed into my post-game lift. Still haven't seen the movie.

Fast forward to this Spring Training - same story, different movie. This time: Limitless. Dinner, movies, fishing trips, poker games - I've missed out on a lot due to my position player schedule. Yet, for whatever reason, I continue to hang out with those men of the mound.

Perhaps my mind is more compatible with pitchers. Maybe I enjoy that lack of subconcious competition. Personally, I think it's just a bizarre coincidence.

Whatever the reason may be, I'm interested to see what else I'll miss out on this year. Seriously, was Inception any good?

The Yankee Core
Opening Day
You Play Right Field?
It's Not Always Sunny in Arizona
Tee Work
Helmet for Pitchers?
Approaching Spring Training
Top 5 Things I Won't Miss About My Local Gym
Getting New Equipment
Last Day at Work
My Bat of Choice
The Superstitions and Quirks of a Ballplayer
The Art of the Autograph
Greensboro's 'Bat Dogs'
Tim Kurkjian is a Man Among Boys
Baseball Movie All-Star Game: Starting Lineups
Walk-Out Music
Pre-Draft Medical Questionnaires
The Ryan Howard Namesake
The Magic of the Rally
Jeter and A-Rod, How Times Have Changed
Summer Leagues - Cape Still Cream of the Crop?
SportsCenter Commercials are Better Than Most Shows
Schilling's Bloody Sock
Red Sox Nation Goes Crazy, JD Drew Can't Be Bothered
Minor League Hats are the Way to Go
Who Has the Best Uniforms in College Baseball?

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