The River...Life in College..As told by a second hand lion

I think this is a good speech to start this log…

It is an interesting thought to me, to start this log…I haven’t seen my boy throw a pitch since his last game in High School…I hear Hub say ya gotta believe in certain things…even if they aren’t true…sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? Well I have carried a belief…deep in my gut about my son. He is a pitcher. Ironically the varsity coach that told me he wasn’t as good as I thought he was, said simply that…after he was made a believer…Mr D., I can believe everything I’ve just heard you tell me…he’s a pitcher…most guys I ever had come through this program were throwers. What he was refering to was my update to him as to Andy’s progress this fall on his college squad (Indian River State College in Ft. Pierce Florida). The tale of the tape was impressive best era on the team, another sub-1 effort, lowest opponent batting avg. No solid hits off of him at all, 2-1 k to bb…Almost unbelievable.
The whole scenario that got him there was nearly unbelievable…we went through the entire summer…had to lose out on 2 very interested D-1 schools because of grades/SAT scores…turn downs and offers for preferred walk-on status from schools in out local area…my poor missus was just about to cause me physical bodily harm from the stress she was feeling about getting her little boy into college without making us sell the family homestead…the dogs…horses…cats…etc. I’m like, “don’t worry honey”…“no problem honey”…“we’ll be there honey”…“Where is your faith honey”…mean while I notice a doll that looks a lot like me and some ugly needles showing up around the house…A strange burning sensation on certain parts of my body and sharp pains in my nether regions on those occasions where the stress is very evident.
Well I had brought up the name to Andy’s varsity coach, Bob Shepherd from UNF and the coaches of his summer travel squad…Bob O’Brein…I did get Bob Shep to give him a call in Novemeber of 2007…Jared Payne of Diamond Baseball (Now it’s called Rick Wilkins Baseball) called Bob a couple of times…(Jared played for him at Central Florida Community College). Well we kept missing Bob, first he can’t make any of the tourneys Andy has participated in, within the state…we do get an e-mail from him in response to an e-mail Andy sent him…wishing him the best and saying we’d meet up later in the summer for a try-out. All in all just about as frustrating as a summer season can be in regards to gettin gto where we are going. He had outstanding pitching success and great encouragement from both Ga Southern and UNF…but that and a dollar might buy you a coke. Actually Rodney Hennon from Ga. Southern even went as far as having Andy apply and start the enrollment process…until the transcripts got there and then its…man! Please get me your schedule so I can follow you through Jr. College…well finally all the tourneys were done…my wife is just about to explode and I’m running real low on soothing phrases and ANdy is just getting depressed about the whole nine yards…When we hear from Bob…can we come down to Indian River and do a try-out…School starts in 3 weeks :shock: Whoa…we’re down there on a Thursday same week…get there right on time and it looks like everyone is leaving the ballpark :crazy: oh no! Were we messed up on timing? We look around…over on the 1st baseline we see a couple of people in the dugout…Andy is dressed so he goes over and the sun breaks through the clouds…literally…OB is there and was happy to see Andy on time and if he’d just go over to the pen and get loose he’ll be there in a minute…well me and mom are sitting in the parking lot about 50 yards from the pen, Andy get loose and a catcher comes over he starts tossing and OB gets there…Andy threw exactly 10 pitches…OB says stop…walks over to us…shakes my hand…says “he’s gotten bigger since the last time I saw him didn’t he” (Bob saw Andy as a freshman at a UNF clinic)? Says he’s wanting him to go ahead and throw another 20-30 pitches but first he wants to tell us that he’d like to offer him a full scholarship…that he’s a breath of fresh air and could really use a pitcher of that quality on his squad this year…
Believing…even when you shouldn’t…when it seems you couldn’t…when it just don’t seem right…Hub was a wise man…“because these things are worth believing in”.

:thumbsup: I look forward to reading this log like your other one.

One question - “lion”?

wow. :clapping:

JD said:

Yesterday, I had thoughts of how different it will be to NOT be able to go to the High School diamond and see my kid pitch. Different (In a bad kinda way). I was on a day off and saw a flock of twenty turkeys cut through the back part of my property. Of course its right near the end of turkey season in Pennsylvania and I thought I’m running out of time to hunt with the kid too. So when he came home from school we hit the woods. Walked all over creation and couldn’t find the dang birds.

The kid looks at me and says, "hey lets get some shootin anyway, go get the electronic call and we’ll shoot some crows. So back to the house and back out retooled to fool some crows, decoys and everything. We had a blast, sounded like a war zone. I’ll bet the bow hunters were pissed!

I’ve been tellin everybody how nice its goin to be when I get rid of the kid and he’s so far from home he can’t come back only on holiday. Hmmmmm
not to sure now…but a dream is a dream and that dream started when he was seven. The light has never dimmed and as some wise man once said the dream is “worth believing in.”

There is a good article in baseball america this week about Goose Gossage and how he lost his dad when he was a Junior in High School. His dad always believed in him and told him he’d be a major leaguer. Goose wasn’t sure and he pitched a horrible game in high school the day all the scouts came to see him. Goose had pitched a complete game the day before and he didn’t have his best stuff. Bottom line is he got rocked in front of all the scouts. Goose was so sure he wouldn’t get drafted, he went out and found a job. When he came home Goose told his mother that he’d be contributing to the family because he got a job. She told him there was someone visiting that had other ideas. It was a professional scout and Goose signed with the White Sox. His dad had been a Yankee die hard fan and as luck would have it, his first game was against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium. Just before he threw his first major league pitch he pumped his fist in the air and pointed to the sky and screamed, “THIS IS FOR YOU DAD!”

The above is a paraphrase from a new book titled “Dugout Wisdom” by Dan Migala.

JD said:

Andy sms’d me one day…says he’s found the very best movie for strategy ever made…Asks me if I’ve ever seen “Searchin for Bobby Fischer”. To be honest before that minute I could only recall vague references to a movie by that name with no impressions about what it could possibly be about. He went on to rave about how it completely opened his mind to attrack strategy on the mound…wow…I thought man! How is it I’ve never heard of this flick? One of the things I really love about OB is that he is completely mental in his approach to the art…As we were touring the campus on that day when OB offered Andy the scholarship…before Andy had actually agreed…we were in the technology building with OB showing us the Audio/Visual lab and sharing his philosophy about how he approaches pitching from his stand point as a coach…“I look at the catcher/pitcher partnership as the most important on the field…I don’t interfere with the game strategy unless asked”. “Now if a certain sequence gets us in trouble, or has negative consequences, I’ll expect the pitcher to be able to defend his position and why he used the strategy he did”. “I’m here for assistance in that instance…I’ll provide my perspective but expect the 1 and 2 to develop an approach that will win…not that I won’t call a pitch from time to time”. I almost pinched myself…“where did this guy come from?” “Can it be real”? I kept my mouth shut but wanted to shout…“Of course we’ll accept…how much can I give you to let my kid be around you for two years”! I knew it was Andy’s place to accept or not (Not that he’d have turned him down :lol: ).
So obviously Andy accepted and was shipped off (Actually his mom and brother packed him down there to his apartment which is less than 100 yards away from the ball field).
Since that time I’ve only seen him one weekend…maybe 3 hours…he was running around seeing friends and his brother while home…we played catch of course…man I could feel the velocity increase…alot more pop just winging it. But I could tell each time we spoke…OB has been making him think…think hard on how he approaches the art…and man is Andy juiced…I didn’t think it possible to get more excited about the art…but he sees it so deeply now. OB has two ways in which he attacks an order…the first he calls “street-fighting”…Which is described as attacking with hard breaking stuff…followed by challenging…with what you consider your best to their weakness…the other name escapes me right now but is more traditional in nature…so he’ll just call out "ok Andy…lets have a little “street-fight now” and the entire sequence strategy will change accordingly…no need to even drop signs…
OB does a critical card on each of his staff…basically listing out the things the pitcher needs to accomplish in his mechs to get to where he can be in position to help the team and get ultimately to the next level…
Andy and I were talkin the other day and he was like…Dad the other guys were sayin OB is all over my action…I’m like “of course”…and he’s like no dad…they keep sayin OB just can’t stop talkin about my stuff and my approach and how I am on the mound…it’s flippin me out…I responded…well you’ve worked hard and earned his respect. He comes back that it’s almost embarressing… and he’s starting to get some reaction out of the sophmores over it…Well I say…its gonna be that way from now on, when your goal is to be considered the number one…it’ll rile some feathers…the big idea is to stay humble and work on what you do…keep your eye on the prize and don’t do it on anyones back but your own…
He whipped out his full stats on me today…now keep in mind Andy is as brutally honest about assessment as anyone I’ve ever met…he doesn’t candy coat at all…if he’s suckin he’ll be the first to admit it and not avoid negative aspects…so that said…one of the scrimmages they had inter-squad last week…OB told them the stats would count…he gave up 2 dingers (Oh he was pissed…said he’d not give another up this year)…messed up his era…went to 2.81, 2nd on the team…(Without the inter-squad his era was 1.69, 3 earned over 16 innnings) 19 k’s in 16 innings…led the team, .176 opponent batting avg… lowest on the team over 2-1 k to bb, 8 runs over 16 innings least runs, most innings and 1-0 W/L. So it was a little different than I had it…but still very impressive for a freshman (Considering that the squad has 7 Sophmore pitchers).
He said OB watched him throw a pen yesterday and just gushed about the late movement. Was very impressed that he had managed to overcome the lockout on his front leg and was just about as solid a college pitcher as he’s ever seen :shock: …Man thats tall cotton…OB played for Miami in his college days, was in the majors just doesn’t say stuff like that lightly. Andy was just astonished.He’s throwing 90, got that sort of confidence from his coach and they haven’t played the first meaningful inning…wow do we have a great year facing us…

One of the eye opening aspects that he has had to face is watching guys get cut…In High School the team knew who would or wouldn’t be there basically…hardly ever was there a surprise. Now he’s having to deal with guys who all have real skill and yet don’t make it. Makes it difficult to make friendships…cuz sure enough a guy can get gone pdq. A guy that was a roomie (One of the walk-ons who managed to get a room) made it for about a month and got his walking papers…they’ve lost 2 to cheating :shock: …I mean it seems nuts that a scholarship player would be putting himself into position to not only get kicked off the team but kicked out of school…but sure enough…they plagerized English papers…went to one of those on-line sites that have essays and term-papers on it and I guess the instructor did a nexus search on the sentences…bang…adios…now, one of them displayed what Andy termed a “proper” attitude and well, ended up red-shirted…but the other guy is out of school period…a kid who drove one to the wall against Miami…integrity…means a bunch!! Andy has been getting decent grades and is learning the college level stuff is different from HS in many ways…He is a pretty good writer…but has just now been able to get better than a B on one of his essays…after several that were B and C. I keep telling him that he has to write to what the instructor wants and not just let er rip. Luckily OB is a bear about school and school work…so they have study hall every day and OB makes them sign in everyday or no practice…(I really think the world of that guy!!). He understands that an education is invaluable no matter the skill level of the player. His goal is a degree for all of his players. If the coach of the school your son is not oriented that way…I would submitt that he isn’t interested in your kids future and if possible another school should be considered.
Right now the team is in a period where they only get like 4 hrs a week with the head coach…so more maturing and focus is required of the team…Andy is working out at the gym nearly everyday (Different muscle groups etc). Throws on his own and is actually taking additional time to study. He will drop one elective course next semester for an elective that gives him 2 credits instead of the 1 he gets for “Baseball” class…he’s teaching himself the guitar so the class is a guitar class. We are seriously discussing his going to summer school to get his degree as early as possible. This will give him latitude in his options…D-1 or something else…I guess this years performances and his development will dictate the path after that…as well as grades!!!

IT CAME HOME…this weekend…and IT WAS ALIVE :shock: …man…when Andy was little and got sick, he’d, at the end of it would just go into a growing spurt…Didn’t happen with my oldest…he was always tall…but Andy was always grousing about he wasn’t tall enough. Well he came home about a month ago and though he’d obviously been working out (Cut like a daggone granite statue…his back and shoulders :shock: omg!!). I was still slightly taller (I’m 5’11 1/2"). He came home this weekend for a suprise howdy and he’s a full inch and a half taller than me…looks like a million bucks…his weight went to over 185 and is still just cut. Now when he left for school, we bought him some protien supplement (Knowing his diet wouldn’t be as regular and healthy as it was) but he still has a bunch left so it wasn’t supplements that cranked him up like that…he did get sick (Common in college)…but wow…the work he’s been doing is really paying off, they’ve been working out in the pool and he then goes to a gym in the evenings after study hall for more specific pitching oriented stuff…(Core work out and emphasis on de-cell conditioning and agility stuff…like kickin the dooky out of a kick bag…works out all that aggression too :wink: ).
He’s really focused on what I call “pitching excellence”…he knows he’s got good velocity and is working through mechanics refinement to increase there incrementally, but that is almost a sideshow…what he’s really doing is studying what Roger Kahn termed “the head game”. He is focus very much on strategy, arm health and maintenance, refining fielding and run game suppression so that his game is at the highest possible level at season start…his goal is sub-1 era. He’s fully determined that this will be his ticket and is just completely comitted to it. I like the way OB is going about it so we’ll see where it all goes…staying healthy is imo as important as 1 or 2 more mph right now so his determination I think will end up positively.

the head game is a masterpiece, most informative book ive seen or read on the mental game and not only that but the great pitchers of the modern and deadball eras.

So whats been goin on for 2 months??
We went through having Andy home for Christmas, his return and subsequent pre-season prep, his first games…Man it seems like it’s been a year…Christmas was great…got to chunk a little hide with him and the boy got his funky self a Gibson SG as a present from the folks…sweet guitar I’m here to tell you 8)
I went down there Friday to see his first game which he was scheduled to possibly relieve…but it got washed out. They beat Manatee Saturday…#4 in the nation Manatee, 8-6, Andy didn’t pitch but said he was ready and chewin at the bit to get out there. He’ll either throw tonight at home against Daytona or Wed. against Polk at Polk. He has his only over-night road trip next Friday and Saturday…going to Ocala and Gainseville to go up against Santa Fe…Andy really wants a shot at Santa Fe…they passed on him after watching him throw a 8 inning master piece against Nease…He wants to make a bit of a statement :lol:
So anyway…for all of you yankees (As in northerners) it’s season time and life is good…It all looks promising and fun…can’t wait to see how it all unfolds…

Oh man, jd. I’m just reading up on your log from the beginning. What an experience, though, for Andy, huh? Just wait until pro ball. It’s ruthless … and you generally really like your teammates. Yet one day, they’re not there. Or they’re moved up or down or traded. The only thing that I ever saw bring the toughest, strongest guys to tears in pro ball.

[quote=“jdfromfla”]
So anyway…for all of you yankees (As in northerners) it’s season time and life is good…It all looks promising and fun…can’t wait to see how it all unfolds…[/quote]

crap. depressing. we’re still under 2 feet of snow and ice. don’t want to hear it … :slight_smile:

I love my snowmobile !!! :eek:

Actually, the kid’s keepin track of his college to be team and they played their first game yesterday. Lost a tight one in 13 innings. Its hard to imagine being outside playing already…I’m jealous.

And that Mr Ellis and Dino…is why the entire southern half of this state is considered the southernmost county of New York…Though I’m seeing my share of Canadian plates this week :wink: (I don’t think my parents have power yet…they live in Kentucky and my dad was telling me about 5 solid inches of ice on his car…Think how heavy that is :shock: )

Andy has been workin on the change (Hide the small kids guys), he mentioned it to me the other day when I was down there, then brought it up to me again last night…says it is sick, he can now both cut and sink his change as he does his fb. I figured out (Or it came to the front of my demented brain) one of the reasons it is so tough to make good bat contact with his stuff is that every pitch in his arsenal is a different speed, this as well as everything moves…in the zone and yeeesh it’s gotta be difficult.
They got rained out last night against Daytona (He thinks it may be made up this afternoon… :x )…but he did say that he’d be getting the second half tomorrow against Polk. My wife and I are going down there for that (After I mapquest it that is…).
Today it’s chili :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: maybe in the 50’s :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: So they can make up their game in Daytona (Instead of Ft. Pierce)…I’LL HAVE TO BRING SOME SUNTAN LOTION and all so that I can get that tan back up to snuff 8) nah thats the reason for the angry icon earlier…I won’t get to see it…can’t wait until tomorrow though… :smiley:

keep the posts coming, as the transition from high school to college ball is a fascinating stuff.

You sound like you are enjoying every second of it and we are all jealous here in the snowbelt of the NE

So our hero…presented with a daunting proposition…his team in a 3 game skid, where the fielders have completely forgotten how to field and throw…the 16-12 loss to Polk Community College had as many errors as they scored runs…never seen anything like it at this level. My wife went to see the team play yesterday in Ocala…same stinkin thing…boot…boot boot…loss 10-something…just mind boggling…1st game today? Well they only had 4 or 5 e’s and lost another 8-3 against this squad…#14 in the nation Santa Fe.
Santa Fe… who passed on Andy for a scholarship back in his Senior HS season…as they watched him throw an 8 inning master piece against Tim Tebows school…
Santa Fe…Recruiting no one under 6’ 3", feeder school for the Gators there in Gainseville.
So 1st inning? 3 up 3 down in bout 8 pitches… a dink grounder… a k on a lefty on a high inside FB…blew on past him…another dink grounder and we are into the 2nd…bottom line? He carried a no no into the 5th to 2 outs and then a weak floating liner to center (Just like the Nease game they saw him throw), sun in the Cf’s eyes…it nearly hit him…but he couldn’t see it…doink…man on second 1st hit…he should have been out of the inning with the no no intact…next guy floats a weak one over the SS’s head to drive in the run…next 2 reach on bb’s that were just tough…great pitches…he didn’t give in…but he got behind and the ump wasn’t giving him the same spots he was getting earlier…next guy was a pinch hitter who was a regular and had been on fire in the first game…2 balls…boom blew one past him, next one fouled weakly out of play…2-2…boom likely the hardest pitch he threw all day inside sitting on the corner mid-thigh…guy was frozen…BALL! Oh man!! I don’t know how it was called a ball but it was… :shock: yeesh…next pitch…runners going…mothers crying…children hiding…dad strokin out on a stressed out heart attack…sinker started out over the plate…busted down and in…batter had no chance…swung over it like a t-baller…strike 3 end the inning…walk off…The River in the lead 2-1…Andy had thrown 95 pitches…his work was done. Final was 7-2. Andy got the win…now has the lowest era on the team, walked one other before those in the 5th…he was gunned down attempting to steal on him (Run game suppression at it’s finest). 4 k’s no solid hit ball…only had 2 errors and they were meaningless…2 hits…
Stop the skid…stick it in the eye of the team that passed you over…no no through more than half (They only played 7 in both games today) of your first game in college…which you get the win…against the #14 team in the nation…! I’d call it a great day in Gainseville…Santa Fe? Not so great day… :lol:

Hey dad? C’mon what did you expect…

Santa Fe { -------------------------------------------- :haha:

Way to go Andy from Mark and Mike in NH!!! We knew he had it in him!!

You had to be one proud Papa JD!!

Any video coming?? We in the frozen tundra would love to see some!!

Looking forward to his next start!! May OB realize what he has in him…move him up the pecking order!

Momma got picts but we didn’t bring the camera this time.

We’ll see :smiley: I think it’s all about making believers…he has a knack for that :mrgreen:

Here’s a link to the Leagues standings and rankings…you can see Santa Fe was nationally ranked and in the tops of the league…Daggum round-up didn’t have a write up on it, just the score…My wife thinks OB is trying to keep him “The best kept secret” :lol: …sneak up on em as it were :shock:

http://www.tcc.fl.edu/about_tcc/athletics/information_center/fccaasports.com_the_online_home_of_njcaa_region_viii/baseball

Got spanked…sure nuff. I have to apologize to the forum, I think I’ve created an impression that he wouldn’t be beatable… :oops:
He had his worst outing ever…in his life…ever…really… Saturday…Didn’t make it out of the first inning. 6 runs, one out…woe it was tough to watch. They lost 17-2 it was nuts…seeing eye…21 hits…I think they had a total of 2 extra base hits…the rest were slow grounders that just found holes. I would be saying it was because of one thing or another, but the quality of the player Andy is…demands no excuse, he won’t stand for it himself and so I won’t soil his log with excuse…dad has a right but the player…he just accepts the deal and is looking for the next outing.
I asked him what he learned…he kinda looked at me and I at him…we both smiled…“they score a bunch quick if you don’t get outs” :shock:
Ah…you so do have to have a short memory if you pitch. He does and was over it when we went and had dinner…
Nice come back victory today…against another ranked squad. We’ll just call it a momentary hiccup and see what happens next time he gets the ball.

As a bystander and far away fan I can tell everyone that Andy was really sick the few days leading up to that start if not that very day (fever, sore throat etc…flu bug, mono?) as well. Hard to perform at your best when you are far from 100% physically, he had to be just plain old drained!! Hopefully he will be feeling 100% better the next time he takes the ball. He basically took one for the team on Saturday…well he tried to take one anyways…lol.