A blistering cold day in Antwerp with temperatures hovering at 8 degrees (that's celcius) not sure what the translation is, but grey skys and wait where are the palm trees?? I thought this was spring training. Nevertheless, I made my first appearance against the rival Antwerp Greys, who beat us, Hoboken Pioneers in the Belgium cup last year. I was supposed to start tomorrow's game because they would prefer not to show "the american pitcher" in a game that doesn't count, however, due to some tight arms and other arrangements I came in relief in the 3rd inning, pitched the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings after a young kid from the junior team started the game and gave up about 6 runs to a pretty good offense.
my line: 3 2/3 innings pitched, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 1 hit, 0 earned runs, 0 runs
despite my first time pitching to hitters and on a mound since last august, everything felt pretty good i tried to not to throw too many sliders or two seam fastballs. just straight 4 seam fastballs and change-ups, got the pitch count in almost 4 innings only around 40 which is not a lot, so it was good and that's why i pitched longer than the two innings they were originally going to throw me. dave, who is making a stopover in belgium between his visit to paris, amsterdam, london, budapest, prague, and madrid, videotaped the game so i might have some clips available i can put up here in the next day or so.
their initial thoughts are probably that i'm crazy since it was freezing cold yet i decided to go without sleeves, this is an old habit of mine, dating back to albion, 1. to represent my michigan high school baseball roots where it's actually snowing the first half of our season so 40 degrees and windy aint nothing to us and 2. i hate sleeves restricting my arm, i don't know it just doesn't feel natural, so once i got the blood going in the first inning i threw i just kept things moving fast and put on a jacket in the dugouts and everything went smooth.
the other team had two of the top pitchers in belgium and they showed it, shutting down our offense for most of the game, being that it's the first game i am not too worried, we look like a very solid team up the middle and in the outfield. our left fielder phillip has a lot of pop in his bat, the catcher sammy has an absolute cannon for an arm and called a real good game, and our defense up the middle is very solid with the two dennis'seses (dennis at short and at 2b not sure how to write it though, maybe dennis' or dennises?)
now i'm exhausted and wish i could go to sleep since i am still suffering from this bad jet lag as indicated in my post title. my mistake was taking a nap the first day for five hours and now i'm paying for it since i woke up at 11 am today (5 am u.s. time that i still seem to be functioning on) and tonightm to make matters worse, we move the clock forwards an hour for summer - (didn't i just do that in america last week)...so in about an hour we are off to the hoboken pioneers clubhouse where we went for the first time last night, full bar with amazing belgium beer on tap (in my contract, i get that for free - seriously no joke the highlight of some american's year here), food, tables, it's a big place - and the organization, as mentioned before, which has teams in all age groups, and also softball teams for the ladies puts on a show the first weekend of spring training, where people get up to perform lip synching and dress up in hilarious costumes (we'll see about that...) for a big fundraiser. so that's what we are doing tonight, after which, dave and i will probably go with dennis the shortstop and a few others downtown to a bar or club to get a little taste of the antwerp nightlife.
yesterday after waking late, as usual, i hit up the gym with dennis for a light workout, we picked up david from the tram, ate baquette's at his place, and then the whole team went to play paintball about 30 min away. it was my first time, and it was quite a blast, although, it made it a lot tougher when guys were yelling all over the place in a language i could not understand.
tomorrow we play the eagles and i'll take it easy on the arm and get some DH at bats. i'm here to pitch, obviously, but after taking some cuts in the cages and after all my off-season work they think i may be able to help out with the bat a little bit.
some funny tidbits from my first day of baseball in a foreign land:
*when they cheer it's both in english and flemish, and they don't do it consciencesly, some lines just happen to be english and others they still will say in flemish...when i tried to do some typical american baseball chants and chatter, as we call it, ( when u say things really fast ) they looked at me like i was crazy.
*our DH was smoking cigarettes in between innings...
*pre-game drinking of coke?
*the umpires clearly think they are in a soccer match, because they think they make the game run, much worse than the u.s.
*after the game when teams usually will shake hands, they give high-fives as they run through the line
*the team did a post-game jog
*just because there is an american on the team that doesnt mean the postgame speech is translated for my benefit, i had to pull aside the assistant coach to ask what was said^
*we had more fans at a freezing cold, non-meaningless, spring training game in beligum then at a division 1, nice sunday afternoon game at george washington ---- go figure.
*i learned to say i want to play baseball in flemish - ik weil gang baseball spelen