For those that don’t know, there was a string of several years where I used to have a string of dreams throughout the baseball season that I was a bench player for the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I used to fill the mailboxes of my friends and family with my adventures in professional baseball.
The history goes something like this:
- I was a 4th round draft pick of Seattle out of High School, but I didn’t sign. Instead I joined the Army. Since I was in the military, Seattle owned my rights for the duration of my service time.
- The Chicago Cubs made a push for me to return to baseball when it came time for me to re-enlist. They said they wanted to trade for my rights, but I re-enlisted anyways.
- Later, I left the military and went back to college. Lou Pinella came to visit me just prior to Spring training and convinced me to sign and give baseball another shot.
- I played a few years in the minors and was with the Tacoma Raniers (Seattle’s AAA team) in 1997 when I got my first shot at the majors. Alex Rodriquez and Ken Griffey were fixtures in Seattle, but there were rumblings that they took days off and just didn’t play as hard as they could. Pinella told me that my job was to rattle them and make them become better players.
- For the next couple of years, I backed up both Griffey and A-Rod. It was the toughest position ever in that I constantly butted heads with them in the locker room, and when I played, the fans loved me. They said I played like Scrap Iron Phil Garner (he played for the Pirates years ago) in that I pushed myself to my limits and beyond. In 1999, I hit 19 homers in 142 at bats. Those were scarey numbers. I thought I might actually get to be a full time player, but it never happened. Instead, I would cover CF and SS whenever they took days off, were hurt, or were being jerks and needed some time to think. Lou used to really piss off Griffey by sending me in around the 7th inning to replace him in CF.
- When Lou Pinella went to Tampa Bay, he traded for me. I think it cost him a bucket of baseballs to get my contract. I played two years in Tampa and continued to play sparingly.
- Then, I had an accident – a closed head injury. I was out of baseball. Forever.
Thankfully, I was also working hard in the off seasons and was working as a contract trainer in IT starting in 1996. Who knew it would be the best thing for me. I love IT.
Last night, I had another of those funny dreams. Lou Pinella came to visit me at my home. He said that it looks like he will be managing again this coming year (and the Yankees are very likely to be the team that signs him) and he wants me to consider two things. 1. Coming out of retirement and playing for 2-3 more years. He promised that I would play on 3rd and 1st if I wanted to play again and made the team. 2. Be his hitting coach.
When I woke up today, I pulled out my mitt and my bat and thought about it. Maybe it is time that I look at coaching. But how does a career .278 hitter become a batting coach for a major league team? I just don’t know if I could pull it off. Another consideration. When I quit playing, I was three homers short of 100. I would love to get those homers. But, damn, I am out of shape. Even with several months to work out, I don’t know if I could pull it off.
Well, it is time to get ready for bed. Maybe my dreams will provide an answer.