Monday, 23 May 2011

The Bench

In baseball and especially professional baseball, the bench is an inevitable part of your life, for some, like pitchers, sitting on the bench is more of a regular occurrence than actually playing in the game is. It is almost unheard of in pro ball to play every single inning of every single game. The season is just too long and those who do somehow achieve that accomplishment are just plain lucky or their name is Cal Ripken Jr. In nearly 2 years worth of pro ball, I have experienced there is not one player who is immune to spending time on the bench because everyone is getting moved in and out and the organization wants a look at everyone.

When I became a full time pitcher around 16 years old, it was quite hard having to deal with sitting on the bench instead of playing in the outfield. Over time I have gotten used to spending time on the bench watching the games. Down here in Extended Spring Training, I pitch once every 3-4 days, and even then I am only throwing 2-3 innings. So when you do the math, I might be lucky to throw 4-6 innings a week, and our team plays 9 games a week, with double headers on Fridays and Saturdays. So that is a total of 81 innings that our team plays during the week, and I only get to play in as much as 6 of them. That means I am getting very good at sitting on the benches and watching games. For a position player, they may play 3-4 games a week, and even then they will only play half a game so they can split game time up evenly.

Down here in Florida the guys on the bench are almost more interested in making the game as quick as possible as they are the outcome of the game. That's why there is a lot of eye rolling and sighs when opposing teams make a bunch of pitching changes and mound visits. That being said, everyone still loves winning, there is just more emphasis on winning by the most efficient means possible. An ideal game here would be winning a 1-0 game, with hits, walks and errors at a minimum.

I am not always sitting on the bench in the dugout during games down here. If I'm not throwing in the game  or I don't have a duty that day, I will be in the stands watching the game. If anyone has come down to watch an Extended Spring game, they aren't very exciting since we aren't actually playing for a record or for a championship, everyone's just trying to get their work in at the moment and make them self a better baseball player. It's also very hot in the middle of the day when we start our games, and the heat does tire you out while you are watching the game so at times it may get hard to concentrate when all you want to do is close your eyes and rest for a few minutes.

I'm sure every guy I play with here was used to being the star back home and playing every game, and once they got here it was a big shock that their name wasn't on the lineup all the time, but I can guarantee they wouldn't change a thing, since they get to put on a baseball uniform everyday and call it their job.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, yes. Good sunbathing weather, though, and games are interesting!