Through the last 6 years, The Austin MSBL 35+ Saltdogs have been my home away from home. These men (and many others not pictured) have allowed me the privilege of being their starting catcher for season after season after season. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.
Here's some inspiration for our Fall season and beyond. #Saltdogs4Lyfe
The following is excerpted from an e-mail I sent to my team recently.
"The Clock Always Wins"
Laying on the field yesterday I was in some serious pain. But what hurt far worse was letting my team down because I couldn't finish a game again. Hobbling to the car like a broken man I realized something was more than wrong. Pulling out of the parking lot to 183, every muscle in my body began cramping all at once. It was the most intense pain you can imagine, and it happened to completely random muscles at completely random times. The pain was so sharp and intense it was almost blinding.
I managed to get the car into a parking lot and had to get out of the car to move around. I spent 15 minutes walking circles around my car trying to stop the cramps but it didn't work. I get back in the car and 20 minutes later I'm stumbling into the parking lot of an urgent car center so badly dehydrated I can hardly stand up.
They get me into a room and get some fluid going in my veins. Laying on the gurney watching that sweet sweet saline drip gave me lots of time to think. Three hours actually because they wound up giving me three liters of fluid intravenously...
So let's back up and talk about how I prepare for a doubleheader like this. You all know that I keep my body in damn good shape, especially for a 45 year old man. Before the Curve game Saturday, I drank a gallon of fluids around noon. Another 64 oz of water in the car on the way to the game, and another gallon during the game. After the Parlor, I drank ANOTHER gallon of fluids and soaked for an hour in a lukewarm epsom salt bath.
6 AM Sunday is 4 scrambled eggs and wheat toast, followed by you guessed it, another gallon of fluids. Turkey sandwich in the car followed by a gas station stop for ice and the biggest bottle of water I can find to hammer in the parking lot. I went through all my game fluids - a full gallon - when I went back out there in the 6th inning and cramped up.
Bottom line is that I drank 7 gallons of water in less than 24 hours and STILL wound up 3 liters short. Also, the doctor informed me that I had a heatstroke. And that is no joke - you're talking long term kidney damage, etc.
The good news is, as anyone who's ever had fluids intravenously knows, it feels a TON better really fast. So I drove myself home and as I pulled into the driveway I started sobbing. Not tearing up little, but sobbing uncontrollably. Not because I felt physically bad, but because I realized at that moment that I can't do this anymore. My machine just won't work like it used to. My knees are killing me. Both sides of my groin hurt constantly, and I just re-injured something that took me a year to get over last time. I'm tired of not being able to feel my legs in the sixth inning and giving away my last at bat of every game. I'm tired of sweating all over everything all the time.
I promised you guys that I would always leave it all on the field, and yesterday I did just that.
Last night, I cut apart my duct-taped together shinguards and threw them, piece-by-piece, into the trash. My catcher's mitt is torn to rags after 5 seasons of abuse and I'm not going to replace it.
But the thing is, I'm a Saltdog. And you guys have meant more to me over the last 6 years than anyone other than my wife and children. I love every single one of you, and my version of heaven is sitting at the Parlor swapping fishing stories with you idiots.
So if you'll allow me to retire from catching, I'd like the chance to re-make myself into an outfielder/first baseman next Spring. I was a bad-ass outfielder in softball for years and it would be fun to save my arm for one or two lasers instead of making 250 throws every game. I'll get lighter and faster as I rehab. I'll never be fast but maybe I can just not be embarrassingly slow.
No official word on the injury but it took 6 months last time so I'm not optimistic. I'll give you guys a timetable once I see my Orthopedist. My best guess is late Fall and I'll keep you all updated. For now, I'm indoors for the next few days and drinking everything non-alcoholic I can get my hands on.
Your former starting Catcher,