It’s 6:18pm in Pheonix, Arizona. Sunday March 12th, 2017. My name is Tim Dillard. I’m 33. I play professional baseball, and after a day of Spring Training practice… I’m sitting in a hotel room trying to think of something to write about for MLB Trade Rumors. They contacted me with the false hope I could write something truly captivating and insightful about baseball. So after very little reflection and contemplation, I’ve decided to just start typing the inner thoughts about my day. At this particular moment, yes I do think this is a good idea.
6:21pm Okay wait, did I just misspell Phoenix a few minutes ago? I must be tired. During spring training, because of how early practice is, I usually go to bed around 8pm. I blame the sun. The sun out here is notorious for draining the energy right out of you. Or I could just be hungry.
6:48pm Well my trip to Taco Bell was indeed a success! Much like yesterday… and most of last week.
6:49pm Usually when I’m away from home, I try to eat at all the places my wife refuses to dine. Tomorrow I’m hitting up Long John Silver (which conveniently shares a building with Taco Bell).
6:53pm Today, in-between spring training activities, I made time to share some of my baseball knowledge and wisdom with a younger generation of ballplayers. And they found time to remind me that I am still the oldest and most bearded guy in Brewers Minor League camp this year. But in their defense, I did utter these phrases at the field today: “Back in my day.”, and of course, “Not my first rodeo!”
6:55pm This is my 14th spring training. And over my career I’ve had the privilege of 12 spring trainings with the Milwaukee Brewers team, and also participated in 2 spring trainings with the unemployment team. Which means I’m enjoying myself, and appreciating baseball now more than ever.
6:58pm Because now at this stage everything is much more precious. My past experiences have taught me to treat EVERY stretch, throwing program, sprint work (not poles), meeting, groundball, light weight training, bunt play, another meeting, conversation, workout, that other meeting, or whatever… with a tangible awareness that I have no idea which day will be my last in a baseball uniform.
7:01pm *grabs tissue, dabs eye* … Allergies out here can be challenging.
7:04pm You know what, looking around, I just noticed I’ve had the exact same room at this hotel for the last 3 spring trainings. Hmm, I wonder how many people have slept in this bed since I was here last?
7:06pm Anyway. During batting practice today I was asked why I run around the outfield like an idiot picking up baseballs. The curious kid that asked is in his very first spring training camp. So I walked up to the young buck (just over half my age), put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Eye wash man! It’s eye wash! I’m just trying to make sure all these coaches out here notice me hustling!” Cause that’s what it’s all about.
7:09pm I mean, that’s part of it I’m sure, but I think some of it is just me being afraid. Like in the movie Field of Dreams. You remember the part when the young ballplayer runs over to help the little girl? And as soon as he steps off the field he instantly transforms into the old white-haired Doctor “Moonlight” Graham? (spoilers) Then we realize he’ll never be able to go back and play baseball ever again! Well that’s kind of how I feel. Except instead of being afraid of transforming into an 87 year-old mustached doctor, I’m afraid every time I leave, a security guard will be instructed to not let me back in.
7:14pm Right now baseball is in full swing (<-pun) and the excitement for baseball is palpable! Like a hibernating bear that wakes up and just screams at everybody. Spring training is that awakening! Not sure who thought it up (you can google it), but it perfectly EASES players, umpires, coaches, broadcasters, bat boys, mascots, popcorn vendors, instant replay technicians, and of course fans seamlessly into another year of baseball history!
7:22pm My roommate just walked in, and has confirmed our room smells like tacos… with just the tiniest hint of fish.
7:25pm Hold on, got a text message…
7:26pm It’s an unnamed teammate asking what time stretch is in the morning. When I get texts like this I usually send the picture I took of the weekly schedule posted in the clubhouse. I always take a picture of the schedule because that’s what professional baseball does! It makes you SUPER paranoid about being late… for anything… ever! This is one of those times paranoia is a good thing. Because as the saying in baseball goes, “If you’re 5 minutes early, You’re 10 minutes late!”
7:36pm Let’s see, what else happened today? Oh yeah, I was asked about the first time I was called up to the Big Leagues. Oh man, these stories are the life blood for Minor League baseball players. We need them. Because it proves The Show is in fact a real place and possibly within grasp. And players crave inspiration. So what could be better than hearing a first hand account of toeing the rubber in a Major League baseball game! But actually my Big League Debut story is kind of an average story at best. In fact, the best part of my debut story is what happened after the game: with me, on a sidewalk, being mistaken for star Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets! Anyway, let’s just say there’s a gentleman out there somewhere with 14 Ben Sheets baseball cards with the signature “Tim Dillard48” scribbled on it!
7:48pm Okay yeah it’s late. As soon as my roommate finishes playing his Call of Medal Duty game, I’m falling asleep in this bed… and pretending it’s a brand new mattress.
To Be Concluded…