I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on this past season winning an Atlantic League Championship with the Somerset Patriots. Baseball season is a long season. In the major leagues the regular season is 162 games, in the Atlantic League the regular season is 142 games all played in roughly 150 days, plus spring training and… if you are lucky enough the playoffs. And each and every single game matters, every tally in the win column gets you that much closer to the ultimate goal…. WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP.
This is was my 5th season of professional baseball and 3rd with the Patriots. And I have gone to the playoffs every year of my career…. Just with that statistic alone, I am severely outnumbered by those who have never been to the playoffs in their professional career. Furthermore, of those 5 times I have won a championship twice and gone to the Championship Series 3 times. Most professional players go their entire career without winning a championship…Do I consider myself lucky? ABSOLUTELY!!!
But being on such successful teams also brings an appreciation of the almost.2 years ago I was given the honor of pitching Game 5 of the Atlantic League Championship Series against the Long Island Ducks. Excited, confident and admittedly a little nervous, I toed the rubber… A few innings later with the Patriots winning 32 who comes up to bat with 2 runners on base but Zoned instructor, "Mr. Duck" himself, Ray Navarette in his final game as a player. I threw a fastball that ran right down the center of the plate and Ray hit a HOMERUN over the left field wall. I remember it like it was yesterday and I am sure he does as well. The Ducks ended up winning the championship. I was almost winning pitcher of a Championship… ALMOST.
So, with all that being said… 2 long seasons later. Was I the starter of Game 5? No. Was I the MVP? No. I didn't even pitch in the playoffs. But I will always remember being there with my teammates. After the 3rd out was made rushing out onto the field hugging and congratulating everyone, celebrating and reminiscing… Hoisting the trophy high with pride…Having the realization that after all the long days and bus trips and hotels and batting practices and pitchers meetings… WE DID IT… WE ARE CHAMPIONS.
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