Monday, January 2, 2012

Isolation


City of Perth - Most Isolated City In The World
More pictures from this trip and others: HERE

This one is a bit late but better late than never.  Our last roadtrip was to the most isolated city in the world, Perth.  Its no short flight to get to Perth, 3 and half hours to be exact and you change 3 time zones in the process.  We left the comfy confines of Melbourne at 830am and arrived in Perth at 930am.  Just like all our trips we gathered our bags and piled into the awaiting Europcar vans and headed to the team hotel.  Before this trip I was told that Perth is probably the nicest field in the ABL as it is a proper baseball field and not a makeshift job like Adelaide or Melbourne.  I was looking forward to seeing this place and more importantly pitching as I felt like I was coming off my strongest outing of the year.

Perth Field
We drove into the city, passing beautiful parks, and rivers and the always important footy pitch.  The GoodEarth Hotel was our final destination, a shining jewel in the middle of an equally impressive city.  The last sentence was a bit of sarcasm, well mostly the first bit the last part is true.  The GoodEarth is not all that bad, just a bit old and musty.  They must room a lot of teams because Im pretty sure the 3rd floor is devoted to sticking as many people in one room as humanly possible.  I was the first to grab the key (the only key I might add) and head up the elevator to our room.  Upon opening the door there was a small bathroom to the right and a kitchenette behind that.  In the far corner was a living area complete with couch, chairs and TV.  As you round the corner the beauty of the GoodEarth is revealed.  5 single beds line the wall with a small night stand separating each bed.  It was very reminiscent of a college dorm room.  Luckily for Nic and I, it was just the 2 of us to start with.  Our other two roomates were yet to arrive from Melbourne because they had to work late and fly out after. 

Shopping Center
Game time was 7pm that night so Nic decided to take a nap while I needed to find a Telstra store to recharge my mobile hotspot.  I exited the building and turned left and walked about 10 minutes down the road to find an outdoor mall filled with holiday shoppers.  There were two streets lines with shopping stores and cafes and street performers.  I quickly found the Telstra store and made my way further down the road exploring the sites and doing a lot of people watching.  I stopped for a moment to watch a guy doing some impressive dancing and other street performers with less impressive skills.  Nonetheless I had a good time and figured if we were going to be here for 5 days I would have plenty of time to come visit.

Locker Room

It soon came time to head to the field.  As is customary we dressed in our room, piled in the vans and made for the ballpark.  What I was expecting to be a short drive turned into a 45 minute haul.  I thought perhaps we were driving back to Melbourne (Sarcasm again, sorry, wont happen again).  We pulled into the stadium and unloaded our gear in the locker room.  We took a short walk down a tunnel and fed into the dugout.  This field was indeed  a proper baseball field and more importantly a well groomed baseball field.  The field was large, a definite pitchers park.  A large blue wall in the outfield and proper stadium seating surrounded the field.  The scoreboard was manual, similar to one you see on a sandlot or at a little field.  It definitely had a AAA feel the park so I was definitely excited to get off the mound.

Dugout/Stands
This series was critical for us because Perth sat atop the ABL standings and we were near the bottom.  A good showing meant we were on our way up and would put us in a good spot to make the playoffs.  The first game was close, most of the way.  We weren’t playing great but we weren’t playing poorly.  We managed to capitalize off some errors and push a few runs across the plate.  However late in the game a costly grandslam sealed our fate and fell 6-2.  The second game was mine and I was looking forward to getting out there.  My arm felt strong and I felt like my progress from shoulder surgery was almost complete.  Warmups went great, in fact I was probably throwing the hardest since joining the ABL in November.  I might have been a little too amped up because when the game started I walked the first batter on 4 straight pitches.  He then stole second a few pitches later.  The second batter was a right hander who wouldn’t put the ball in play.  He kept fouling everything off.  I was throwing fastballs inside, sliders away and couldn’t get this guy to put the damn ball in play.  I could tell he was trying to go the other way to advance the runner to third.  I ended up dropping my arm angle to almost sidearm and trying that and go him to ground the ball to first base.  As I ran over to cover the bag our first baseman wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to take it himself or toss the ball to me and we ended up colliding.  The out was recorded, the runner advanced and neither I or anyone else though anything of the collision.  I felt fine, didn’t have any pain or discomfort so I got back on the mound to face the third batter of the inning.  On the next pitch as I pushed off from the rubber I felt a pop in my knee and a very uncomfortable feeling in my stomach.  My initial thought was “Oh God Ive just shredded my knee and Im going to need surgery!”  Just what I need coming off a shoulder surgery is to blow up my knee and be out even longer.  I was able to put weight on my left and walk around a bit but I was definitely unstable and shaky.  Our trainer Alicia Tang, who is also the physio for the Great Western Bulldogs (AFL) and the Aussie Olympic baseball team, came running from the dugout and met me by the first base line.  Phil Dale, our manage also came out to see what was going on and we all agreed that I needed to come out.  I walked to the dugout where “Leesh” ran a few quick tests on me.  We moved the exam up to the locker room where I took off my cleats and put on some shorts so she could examine what happened.  After all the tests were done the determination was made that I didn’t have any structural damage or ligament or muscle tears.  What a relief it was to me to hear that.  After I had a chance to calm down, relax and cool off the strength came back in my leg but it was definitely sore.  The conclusion we came to regarding what happened was this.  When I collided with the first baseman my kneecap was slightly askew, nothing that would cause pain or concern from me.  When I pushed off on the next pitch my IT band and hamstring both locked up in a spasm to prevent my kneecap from dislocating and possibly tearing my patella.  A protective spasm if you will.  Its amazing how the body works and I so very thankful that it works the way it does because if it didn’t, I would probably be on my way home to Colorado to see a doctor about knee reconstruction.

Half Our Hotel Room
The game finished up very well for the Aces as we took the victory 4-1 to even the series up at a game apiece.  That night I took some anti-inflammatories and did a lot of icing hoping that my knee would feel good enough in the morning to possibly pitch by series end.  I awoke the next morning very stiff and sore and knew that I would need the next week and the Christmas vacation to heal up.  We took one more game that series and finished 2-3 on the roadtrip.  Once again we lost some close games on costly errors and poor pitching.  Our team is young, really young compared to the rest of the league and mostly comprised of Australian club ball players.  I reckon the Aces will be a great team in years to come, unfortunately we still make too many young, inexperienced mistakes that end up costing us games.  The city of Perth played great host to our team on this trip.  The city, the people, the night life and the views were all amazing.  Its kind of sad to think it’s the most isolated city in the world but Im sure the locals don’t mind.

1 comment:

  1. The field in Sydney is very much like Perth. It hosted games for the Olympics and is very much built for pitching.

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