Tuesday, February 12, 2002

2002 02 12 - The Tampa Bay Devil Rays Try Out


February 12, 2002 - We'll I'm back from sunny Florida and I have to say it wasn't really all that sunny. Got down there on Friday night/Saturday morning. We picked up our truck from the dumbest human in Tampa [Rick] and drove to my friend Susan and Doug's. They were nice enough to let Doran and I stay with them for the weekend.

Saturday we woke up at 7:00 AM and had breakfast with William [4] and Christian [2], Doug and Susan's boys. At 8:15 we left for St. Pete's where the DRays spring training complex is. We arrived at the Raymond A. Naimoli Complex at 5 after 9. As we pulled in the parking lot all I could see was cars and cleats. Registration was from 9-10 and the tryout was supposed to start at 10 and run till whenever.

So we registered [filled out a 4x6 index card with our name, Ht, Wt, age, school, professional experience and what hand we throw and hit with. Great resume to go on.

So by 9:15 we are itching to get on the field. We walked over to one of the dugouts, there were 8 of them [4 fields], and this old guy in a Drays coat told us to get out of there. So we waited in the bleachers with the other 300 participants. That's right 300. Ok so maybe there were only 292 but geezee there were a lot of guys out there.

So 10:00 finally rolled around and we noticed a few coaches in DRays uniforms walking toward us. They walked right through us and up to an observation deck. Once up there the DRays director of scouting addresses us and gave us a run down of what was going to happen today. Basically we were going to divide up into groups by position. I went with the Centerfielders and Doran went with the corner outfielders. Then they told each position to go to a certain field so we can get a number. I was 802. I was given that number because I was the third centerfielder standing in line when the numbers were handed out. There were 24 centerfielders in my group. Doran Landed number 742, there were 43 guys in the corner group.

Our 1st event was the 60 yard dash. Catchers first, then second basemen, shortstops, corners, centerfielders, third and finally first basemen. After warning up for 35 min my turn finally came. I felt pretty good in my warm ups but I felt pretty winded/nervous come sprint time. Anyway I lined up with 2 guys to my right and 1 to my left. Coach dropped his hand and we were off... 7.02 seconds later it was all over. No second chances. I had tied for 1st in my race but I didn't feel good. I was expecting to run a 6.8, maybe even a 6.75. Those are the kind of numbers that turn scouts heads. even though a 7.02 is above average it wasn't enough.

The next even [which was more than an hour late] was our throws from the outfield. Pretty simple, a coach stands behind the pitchers mound and hits us 5 balls. We are supposed to throw 3 to third and 2 to home. I felt great. My 1st ball was on the ground. I picked it clean and through a pee line in the air to 3rd. My next ball, another grounder, I laid out a little and made it a nice long 1 hopper. The 3rd ball was a high line drive in the air. I it took me back 5 or 6 steps causing me to catch the ball over my head. After setting my feet I through a long 2 hopper to third from deep right center. The next two ball were do or die to home. I picked up the 1st ball on a dead sprint and rifled a 1 hop laser to home, on the money and my final ball I aired it out. So after the throwing I started feeling good again. The final event was hitting. The putt all the centerfielders, shortstops, and first basemen on field 2. Everyone got at least 6 cuts. SO if you missed the ball that counted as a cut. I got up and pulled a line drive down the right field line, then took an outside pitch to left. Then the coach went right back outside and I slapped one between short and 3rd then he came back in and I worked it up the middle. and finally I got one down the middle and was able to hit a line drive into the right center gap.

AND THAT WAS MY TRYOUT.

After everyone finished all the events the coaches met for about a half hour. When they returned about a third of the participants had already left. What the remaining guys were hoping for was to get invited to Sundays workout. The director explained that he was going to keep 40 guys to play in a scrimmage on Sunday, then after Sundays scrimmage he would select 5 guys to sign a contract to play in the DRays U.S. minor league system and 6 guys to sign contracts to play in the DRays Mexican league. Well as you can probably figure out I didn't sign any contracts. But I did get some good exposure and some great experience. Now my plan is to get my legs back in shape so I can nail a 6.7 next time I run that 60. I will be trying out to play in the Frontier League in May. Till then I'm staying active by assisting head baseball Coach, Scott Brown, and CBC High School in St. Louis.

If you got this far let me know and I I'll give me a call this week and I'll give you the details about everything.
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