It was a busy day! I drove a couple hours after the game last night, pulled over in a rest area, woke up late! Drove the additional 1.5 hours to get to the Tennessee Smokies game against the Mobile BayBears. When I arrived, the game had just started and the place was packed! There were school children everywhere who were part of the D.A.R.E. program. I was kind of worried since a lot of the kids weren’t paying attention to the game and fearful one of them was going to get hit by a foul ball! It didn’t happen, fortunately. I was having a good time watching a bunch of the kids trying to pick a good position to get a foul or home run ball. I was sitting in the outfield grass area where no one was for the first inning, until the kids realized that home runs were hit there.
I was chuckling at one parent who was there with his glove. He was directing the kids to where they should stand as he occupied the third base foul area near the Smokies’ bullpen. I appreciated his leadership. He had to be about 50, stood about 6 foot tall, weighed a buck fifty at the most with tattoos up one arm and down the other and he was wearing shorts that almost reached his ankles. His long flowing grey hair was almost butt length, wearing a baseball cap that protected his nose, face, eyes and cheek piercings from the sun. He raised his arms triumphantly, flashing his toothless grin at one point, when he caught a line shot that was right at him. I was impressed with the catch and by the fact that he immediately gave it to a kid. The Smokies pitchers seemed to be watching him directing the kids into position more than they were paying attention to the game, which almost got one of the players hit by a foul ball, a ball that the player gave to a young boy. That young boy was immediately directed by the toothless leader to thank that player, which the child promptly did.
I am a day ahead again on my post, I should be blogging about the doubleheader I watched last night in Nashville. Alex, the Public and Media relations person with the Sounds, set me up with an excellent ticket right behind home plate. I was sitting among the scouts and the “geek” team for the teams. The “geek” team consists of the Video Scouting Coordinator (VSC) and usually a pitcher, the pitcher from the previous night, or the pitcher who was to pitch following night. Ariel Pena was the pitcher enlisted to do the charting for the Sounds on this night since he pitched the night before (look up Ariel, he is a very good pitcher with the Brewers). He worked with Ryan Gaynor the “VSC”. The Omaha Storm Chasers had tonight’s pitcher doing the charting, I never caught his name. Their job was to chart what pitch was thrown (Fastball, Curve, Slider, Change-up, etc.) record the speed of the pitch, count the pitches, where the ball was hit, so on and so forth. Just like what I do when “keeping book”, except their work is more extensive. I have to say I was impressed with these two, people kept coming up to Ariel to get his autograph and he signed without complaint. I even got him to autograph my Top Prospects Book. Normally I don’t do autographs of players, but I did with him. Ryan got stuck answering tons of my questions, he did so politely. I know what it is like to be interrupted when I am trying to focus on something and I appreciated his patience a lot! Ryan had a couple of other fans come up and ask him questions, he represented the organization very well.
Also, there were many other scouts in attendance. Some were with the Brewers and Royals doing specific player evaluations. There were scouts from other teams getting a look at a player they might want to trade for and they want to do their own evaluation. I have seen this grouping many times on this trip; but, what I learned last night was the responsibility of the pitchers on the team having to chart. Ariel explained that he won’t have to do it in the Majors once he gets there. He laughed and told me that, of course, he got stuck doing it when there was a doubleheader. The “VSC” told me, “Ryan got to the stadium at 11 am that day and probably won’t be leaving until 2 am. He, also, has to get all the video coordinated for the coaches to look over; and, so he, himself, can go back to make sure the charting is correct. Besides all that, he needed to get some advanced scouting done on the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Sounds next opponent.” I could tell that Ryan and Ariel loved being apart of this great game. They each have very different roles within the team and they rely upon one another, along with everyone else, to make the Nashville Sounds and the Milwaukee Brewers a winner. (Remember the KC Super Fan Chris will be profiled!)
I have been thinking a lot lately about all the knowledge I have acquired on this trip. I have been to many ball parks all over. I have seen what works and what doesn’t at the different venues. With five more months to go, I am sure that I will see even more. I need to begin thinking about what I will do after all this is done. I thought it would be promoting Baseball Buddha, selling hats, t shirts, etc., and writing stories about fans. But people don’t like the shirts and my unique style of writing probably won’t work with other media. I need to raise more money to insure that I finish the trip, I think I have enough to make it to August, that leaves September and October. Please give me some ideas that I can focus on. I would love to be a consultant after I finish my ‘baseball’ travels or even write a book about my experiences, but that is in the future. So – any and all ideas would be appreciated! Please don’t be shy!
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