Results tagged ‘ Astros ’

Throwing to the Astros

“One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once
in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to,
reach down and prove something.”
  -Nolan Ryan

 

Tentative after my average performance with the Cardinals the
day before, I was on the phone with a friend looking for a pep talk. I found a
penny between the stadium seats and uncharacteristically picked it up – I was looking
for a little luck. As I fiddled with the penny, it fell out of my hands. I
asked my friend, “Is it still lucky if I drop it?” My friend assured me, “You
get double the luck.” I picked up the penny, put it in the back pocket of my
Astros uniform and then left to throw batting practice.

 

I always tell reporters that I wanted to be Orel Hershiser
when I was a kid. And that is true. But my second choice would have been Nolan
Ryan. Before I was allowed to throw BP to the Astros, I was first taken to the
office where I was asked to sign a waiver – acknowledging that I just might die
from throwing BP. I happily signed. But before leaving the office, I admired a
photo of Nolan Ryan; it displayed his perfect pitching mechanics. And I thought
how amazing it was that I had an Astros uniform on – just like my former
baseball hero.

 

I warmed up with one of the coaches. He was being teased by
the players in Spanish. I have no idea what they said but my guess was
something about arm strength. There were many times during my BP journey that I
wished I had paid a little more attention in high school Spanish class – this
was one of those times. Later, I enjoyed listening to that coach share his own
stories of throwing BP. I was surprised when he suggested, “Now what we have to
do, is get someone to take you to the All Star Game to throw at the Home Run
Derby.”

 

One of my favorite parts of
throwing BP to MLB teams, is the first time the ball is hit right back at me on
a line drive. The ball smacks into the screen and I can see players and coaches
behind the batting cage wince. But I never flinch. Even when a ball whizzes by
my head I pretend it never happened. And I know for many of the coaches and
players that when they see my reaction (or lack thereof), that it is the moment
when they see me not as a girl who might get hurt but as a coach who is
throwing BP.  And I take pride in
that.

 

After the BP session, my daughter Jasmine kept saying over and
over how nice the Astros were; that whenever players passed in the hall, they
would say hi to her. She was so impressed with their kindness. And so was I. I
think the team’s supportive atmosphere contributed to my good outing. For the
first time, I felt relaxed. And I threw like it.

 

I think back to the lucky
penny I picked up that day and my promise of double of the luck. But I think it
is not luck that I found that day. Instead I found comfort in knowing that I
have friends I can count on, fans who support me, and teams like the Astros,
who believe in the power of a dream. And for me, that’s way better than luck.

 

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