Thompson Tuesdays

Ahhhh yes, the day after Valentine's Day, the second worst day of the year. The day after I get pampered by the one I love. The day after the day that spending tons of money on cute little things (and of course big expensive things) doesn't really hurt as bad. Yes, I would have to say that I had a great V-Day with my girlfriend. Never the less, let me tell you about my journey and the trouble I had just getting out here to Tennessee to see her.

Let's see, on Saturday night I think I stayed up until about 4:30 am, knowing that I had to get up at 5:00 am to head to the airport.  So already I'm draggin' ass a little bit, but hey, anything to help me sleep on the plane.  Anyway, I'm at Kristen's parent's house in Denver, and her dad and I head off to the airport.  We made great time, so I had awhile before I had to board my 7:30 am flight.  I first try to check my bags outside, that's where the fun began. 

For some reason, my bags were not able to be checked outside, meaning that my 'Over-the-50-pound-weight-limit' bags had to be checked in at the counter, inside.  So that right away put me in a sour mood.  Usually my bags are over the weight limit but I can check them outside and not have to worry about it.  So now I'm lugging two sixty pound bags, my laptop, and my backpack up to the long line in front of my airline counter.  I finally get up to the desk, and not suprisingly, there was some kind of problem with my ticket.  So the whole airline intelligence had to be brought out to the front just to make sure I wasn't at home the night before designing a replica ticket, which by the way was like three connecting flights just to get to Knoxville. 

Finally, that got taken care of, and then my bags were weighed.  The young woman puts the first bag on the scale,  and it was a couple pounds over the limit.  She then puts the other bag on the scale, and again a few over.  At that time, I was getting ready to go ahead and pay the extra, and the women asked me the biggest brain dead question.  "Sir, would you like to put some stuff into the other bag to level out the weight?" 

Are you kidding?  I mean honestly, I know it was early and all, but let's be honest.  At least I know now that if baseball doesn't work out, I can easily get a job with these people.  Especially when you consider that math is obviously not a huge requirement.  So anyway, I end up having to pay twenty-five bucks for both bags, not so bad.  Now I'm waiting around for my flight and then finally it's time to board.  I get on the plane and head back to my seat.  I'm getting close to my seat and I see a lil' youngster in my assigned, ticket verified, PAID FOR spot on the plane.  I was very polite, standing there for a few minutes staring at the lil' guy waiting for, I don't know, maybe his parents to come by and get him. 

The parents were sitting on my left side in a row of three.  The seat between them was empty.  So I figured that once I said something they would have him come to his seat. 

Oh no.  They said, "Well, he didn't want to sit with us, he wanted his own seat."

Ok, now as much as I wanted to say "That's MY seat," I didn't, I just asked if I could go ahead and sit in his seat.  The answer that I got was unbelievable. 

"We are really comfortable, and I like the little space that I have here to put my coat.  Maybe there is a later flight you can take." 

Are you kidding me?  I mean really, at what point would anyone else have started screaming at them.  Truthfully, I was so upset and enraged, I almost slipped into a coma from the over and over answers they gave me.  Finally, I calmly replied, "Either I'm sitting between you guys, or I'm sitting in my seat, there are no other options, unless you three would like me to help you find another flight."  I thought that I did OK, I mean, no one cried, and I got my seat. 

I get to Pittsburgh, and then rush to get to my flight from there to Knoxville, and what do ya know, the flight was early.  So hey, the plane got there earlier than scheduled, I thought I might get to surprise Kristen.  I'm waiting to board, and waiting, and waiting.  I ended up waiting around for two hours only for them to cancel the damn flight. 

Apparently, there were only six people that booked flights, paid for their tickets with there hard earned money, and showed up.  For those who didn't show up, aside from any big tragedies, I hope that the money they spent on those flights that they failed to show up for, was money that they could have spent on food, or a big car insurance payment.  Anyway, to make a long story a little shorter, I ended up getting on a plane a few hours later that was small enough to be taken out by a bottle rocket if it was flying low enough. 

So, I'm here now, and yeah, it was a long trip.  Now that I have about six days left or so to get ready for some big time fun, I'm also with the one I love. I mean how much fun am I going to have?  I'm so ready for Spring Training that I am actually only nervous about the little things.  Yes, that's right, I'm going to be around all the big boys, eating with 'em, even being in the same clubhouse, and I'm nervous about other stuff. 

Like, when we are going through our set plays from the mound, or bunt coverags, or covering the bag.  It's like when I was back in school, not paying attention or something, and the teacher calls on me.  Let's be honest, am I going to know the answer to the question?  That uncomfortable feeling that sets in, the vomit that creeps up to the end of my throat.  Yeah that feeling, and even when I am paying attention, I'm still sitting there with my fingers crossed just hoping that I'm
not called on.  Seriously, the question could be as simple as how many days are in a week, but with all that pressure, and the built up confusion (Is this a trick question?) I still say the dumbest things.  That's the feeling I'm going through right now, only because I know I'll be paying attention but I will still do something wrong and end up totally out of place. 

Other than that, I'm so ready to get into the groove again.  As for the one question, and I put heavy emphasis on the One Question, that I received from the MadFriars.com readers, it was a very good one.  [Daniel, from Riverside, California asked, 'Sean, Can you tell me whose advice you listen to with so many different coaches telling you to do different things?  Is there a commonality between coaches in the system that they all stress or is the advice all over the place?]  Truthfully, I have been helped so much by an assortment of pitching coaches along the way.  Carlos Reyes completely changed my changeup in Rookie Ball, and I love it.  He also helped me with my rage a little bit.  Then on to Dave Rasijch in Eugene.  He is a lefty as well, so that was great for me.  He really helped me with my fastball elevation and such.  He built my confidence so many ways, before I was very negative, and now...not so much.  He also nursed me through the immature nature of my fits and my explosions that I must say were very unnecesary [Editor's Note:  Had we known that Sean was no longer going to have fits and explosions, we never would have recruited him for this series of articles].  He was a very good mentor for me and he was also a good friend.  I felt very comfortable with him, and when you feel like that as a player, it makes a difference. 

Then came Steve Webber in Ft. Wayne.  I liked this guy, and what was funny was that most of the guys, even back in Spring Training, were very quick to judge.  I mean at first, it took him awhile to warm up to us, but hey, he was in a new organization.  After awhile, guys for some reason still had different opinions, but I never really had a problem with him.  He was just quiet and kind of came off as shy.  He and I were pretty good friends, if I may say that.  I dunno, he was just a guy that was easy for me to get along with.  He helped me with tons of my anger problems, and my release point.  Pitch selection was always part of the daily ripping that I received from him, but it was all for my benefit. 

And those are just some of the coaches that have helped me throughout my career, but all the others, Cuchee, Brick, ect.  So, I hope that kinda covered the question that was asked, because I really want anyone who is interested in anything at all to please fill free to ask. 

Only a few days left with Kristen, so its time to go, until next time. 

Sean Thompson can be reached through his editor at Renwick@SanDiegoSports.net

 


MadFriars Top Stories