Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney



Feb. 27, 2006

REGRESSION...DEPRESSION...CONFESSION...

The last thing you want to see your team do after a good weekend is regress. After two weeks of inconsistent play to open our season, we played well last week against Louisville, and anxiously awaited this weekend's games against Connecticut. I felt if we played well against the Huskies, our club would be on the right track for our first road trips to TCU and conference foe Mercer.

Instead, our bats went silent, as we lost two out of three, scoring two runs on fifteen hits in 27 sorry innings of baseball. Our one win was Mickey Storey's 1-0, Saturday afternoon performance. Mickey struck out eight and pitched out of several tough jams over eight innings. Mike McBryde came on and notched his second save with a scoreless ninth.

That game was played as the first half of a doubleheader after a torrential rain in Boca Raton on Friday prevented anything beyond a full team sliding practice from being held.

In the second game, Chris Salberg pitched well enough to win, but we failed to muster much offense. We actually out hit the Huskies 5-3, but our defense regressed and committed three costly errors. In the ninth we had a chance after loading the bases with two outs, but David Erickson got a groundout for the save.

We had to move the Sunday game to 10 am because of the impending weather forecast, and still needed to endure a tarp pull and rain delay. Down, 1-0 when the rain came in the third, we had a runner on second and two outs. I was hoping the delay would adversely affect the UConn pitcher, but he came right back, and with one pitch, ended our threat.

That was as close as we would get to being in the game. It was our pitcher who seemed to be affected by the wait, as the Huskies put up a four spot in the fourth off starter Joel Schmal. A solo home run by Justin Martin prevented us from being shut out in consecutive games. I suppose that is some sort of Pyrrhic victory.

The kids from Connecticut played well and got their season off to a great start. Former FAU player Evan Brannon's brother Dale had a two-RBO triple and played real well for the Huskies. It was nice to see his Mom and Dad again, though they looked strange sitting on the visitors' side.

So how bad a weekend was it?

In the second game, I inserted Mike McBryde as a pinch hitter in the eighth, only to watch in horror as he fell face forward into first as he tried to beat out a chopper to short. Mike had been cleared to pitch last week, and was given the green light for full activity against Connecticut. I had hoped to give him an extra weekend, but he said he felt great and was ready.

The sick feeling in my stomach as I watched him go to the ground was a mixture of frustration, anger, and guilt. This kid has so much going for him, and we depend so much upon him, that it's tough on several levels to see him dealing with this hamstring problem. The good news is that he went down as a sort of preventive measure. Mike said he felt "something" and dove so he wouldn't pull the muscle. Just what did he feel, and when will it stop? An MRI tomorrow may provide more insight, but Mike didn't seem to be hurting as much on Sunday.

The hamstring situation is becoming the storyline of the '06 season.

Today, we got word that Robbie Widlansky's hamstring is torn. The full extent of the tear and its ramifications will be known later this week, but I'm afraid things don't look good. Woody was second or third in most offensive categories last year, and was a solid starter. His loss to this point has been tough on us, and now we'll have to deal with it longer than anyone cares to face.

DEPRESSION

Depression is something real and should not be trivialized. I don't mean to do that here, but it's hard to find another word to describe my state of mind after these three games. There's a numbness that comes over every fiber of my being, as the reality of our play sets in. I went home Sunday and just sat around the house in a detached, lost state of mind. Two little kids had their father present in body, but his mind and spirit were elsewhere.

Last Monday it felt so much better to come to the office. For the first time since the season started, I didn't feel like a piece of garbage. That nice feeling lasted through a good week of practice and preparation for Connecticut- heck, they hadn't even put on spikes yet; we should be ok.

Instead of a nice feeling of self worth, I'm back to wondering if my friends with real jobs go through this. I had lunch with a banker and lawyer today. How do they feel when they lose a case, or a big account falls through? Is it as personal for them? I wish I had asked.

I can't get past the feeling that I was an absolute failure this week, and my world is closing in on me. There is nothing to hope for, except more of the same misery. Nothing seems darker to me than the days ahead. Is this normal, or do I need help? Of course, I expect our players to bounce back faster; the healing process is better when you are younger.

My Zoloft won't come until next Friday's game at TCU. I hope I get the right dosage.

CONFESSION

They say confession is good for the soul. I have always believed that to be true, and have tried to instill in my children and players the value in telling the truth, no matter what they did.

But when you are a seven year old girl- what is there to confess?

My daughter received the sacrament of Reconciliation Saturday morning. In the old days, Catholics called it the sacrament of Penance. We would go to confession and tell the priests our sins; he would assign a penance, and we believe, in God's name, forgive our sins.

It's a basic tenet of the Catholic religion, and I think it illustrates a comforting thought. As a father, I want my children to know that I love them enough to forgive anything, as long as they are truly sorry, and committed to trying to change their ways. It's comforting to me that God's Son told us the same thing. We all have hope that we can be better.

But when you're seven, you sometimes need to think hard about what sins you need to confess. For me it was easy, because my penchant for foul language had developed by age six. I guess Maggie told father Timothy that she was mean to her brother, or maybe had lied to her Mom and Dad? Who knows?

Sitting there in church, watching her wait her turn to sit next to a priest and ask forgiveness, made me hope that she would continue to do this later in life, and that all her sins will be this minor. KC

 

 

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