We stepped out of the hotel the next morning; got on the bus, load everything up for our first game, my first professional game. We pulled to an old stadium, it had great character, brick façade on the outside, lively colors accentuating the home team and I remember stepping off the bus feeling scared and alone. My brothers weren’t with me; I was with strangers. I met these guys a month prior in spring training, it’s hard to create relationships in that time — at least for me it was.
Next, we walked into the stadium on the first base side and I saw a HUGE blue wall all the way around the outfield, as we made our way to our clubhouse on the third base side. The grass was green, infield dirt looked smooth but, the raggedy net behind home plate protecting the fans was what screamed Minor League Baseball. In college we dressed at the hotel and walked into the stadium with our uniforms all ready to go. This was already out of my comfort zone, but I was doing my best to stay afloat.
As we get into the clubhouse, I stopped in my tracks; it was nothing more than an unfinished basement. Literally. I almost called my parents and told them, “I can’t do this — this isn’t for me.” The locker-room was a square, wooden lockers two feet wide, side by side. The floor — concrete, the ductwork was exposed and leaking pipes were dripping onto the floor.
This was a lot for me to handle all at once. I had emotions running through each part of my body, paralyzing emotions: fear, loneliness, negative thoughts, my mind was a hurricane of pessimism and I was preparing to go out and face professional pitching as one of the organizations top prospects.