It’s 10:58am on Thursday May 18th, 2017. I’m Milwaukee Brewers veteran MINOR league sidearm pitcher of over fourteen years, Tim Dillard. Of course you haven’t heard of me, but that’s beside the point. I’ve experienced a lot in my middlewhelming career, and have witnessed even more.
11:01am Sometimes I write for MLB Trade Rumors… that is, when I’m not playing baseball, reciting Star Wars, making minute long Oscar-worthy short films, or continually watching Sherlock on Netflix. And I have a beard… so yes, I am extremely wise.
11:04am Though the beard wasn’t always so. In fact, for my first ten years in professional baseball, I made sure I was clean-shaven. I would shave before EVERY game as part of my pregame routine. The reasoning for my “baby face” look was that… just maybe there’d be a scout in the stands, and he might mistake me for a young up-and-coming prospect! So far I have no confirmation this was affective. And when I turned thirty I thought… “Well, I fooled ’em as long as I could.”
11:08am Anyway, I cordially invite you and thank you for going on this random minute-by-minute baseball journey with me! (I misspelled “cordially” four times before googling it)
11:10am I play for the Triple-A Sky Sox, and we’re currently on a road trip in El Paso, Texas. There’s a night game tonight, and then we bus to Albuquerque, New Mexico right after. At the moment, I’m in the hotel just killing time before the maid kicks the door in and asks me to vacate the room. (checkout’s at noon)
11:13am A few weeks ago I was checking out of a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee and I got an interesting text message. It read, “When you get a chance give me a call! -Bobby Bo”
11:14am Bobby Bo? Now, I don’t know about you… but the only “Bobby Bo” I’ve ever heard of is the famous Major League All-Star Bobby Bonilla! The same Bobby Bonilla who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the late 80’s and early 90’s! The same Bobby Bonilla who I watched play at Pirate City every spring training growing up in Bradenton, Florida! The same Bobby Bonilla that has one of his broken bats literally sitting in my parents’ garage right now!
11:18am Anyway, yeah… same dude.
11:18am Well I called him back and he totally answered! We talked for, I don’t know… let’s say it was, twenty-three minutes and forty-seven seconds or so. And I told him how I yelled “hey” to him across a crowded Brewers big league camp clubhouse in 2010, but he claimed he didn’t remember.
11:20am Bobby Bo told me he loves the pointless videos I post on twitter, instagram, and the Infield Chatter app, and encouraged me to continue enjoying the clubhouse and making videos. Bobby Bonilla!
11:22am It was a very cool moment for yours truly because that guy is a household name, and a childhood hero of mine! I have so much nostalgia from those years with him, Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke, Doug Drabek, and a before the Braves’ Sid Bream! (come to think of it… not sure where he got my phone number)
11:24am Speaking of heroes, last week, I realized the true hero of the minor league bullpen. And it’s a towel! Yeah you read that right. “It’s always good to bring a towel!” I believe that every relief pitcher should bring a towel with them to the bullpen.
11:26am There are so many uses for a towel: It can act as a cushion for the buttocks… cause you could be down there awhile. If the unergonomical flat metal bench is dirty or wet… wipe it down. If there’s rain in the forecast… it can keep you dry. If it’s, “Kinda hot in these rhinos.”… use it to wipe off sweat. Cold?… bundle up. Don’t want to hold your glove?… wrap it up. Too much red hot or atomic balm… scrub for dear life!
11:29am Just heard the maid knock across the hall… I’m running out of time. Realizing I spent too much time bragging to you my “Bobby Bo” story.
11:30am So yeah, the towel is a bullpen friend.
11:30am You know, one of the luxuries of being a relief pitcher in baseball is that you’re able to watch the game without pressure. The pressure of playing every inning, the pressure of coaching, or the pressure of being a fan. And in this role, I observe many happenings.
11:35am Like those things you never noticed until someone points out… then you see it all the time. For example, how Mark Wahlberg plays the exact same character in EVERY movie he’s ever been in, or how ALL minivans have dents. (just wait… you’ll see it)
11:37am Or like baseball: How in every game, at least one hitter will hit a foul ball between his legs. Or like when time-out is called right before a pitch, the umpire will specifically show who asked for the time-out by pointing at the culprit. (still not sure why this matters)
11:39am But that is what makes baseball so attractive! There are so many things that happen, and you never know what you could possibly witness during a baseball game!
11:40am Years ago when I was too old to play Mississippi high school summer ball, I played “semi-pro” baseball. It was an all-black league before my two older brothers and I started playing. (by the way, I’m a super pale white guy)
11:42am To this day it’s one of the most competitive environments I have ever played in! For me it was baseball in it’s purest form. I experienced so many memorable moments out there that I have yet to experience again.
11:43am We would play on amazing make-shift fields throughout the heartland of Mississippi. Most had bleachers, and some had outfield fences. One field had a giant tree in left-center. And one field had a goat that would stand and balance itself atop a propane tank for the entire game.
11:46am Every weekend was satisfying baseball! And after each game, it was a gentlemen’s celebration! Both teams covered in sweat would shake hands, hug, then sit talking and laughing about the game for hours. We would eat fish sandwiches while some drank brews. Stories would be shared, and legends would grow.
11:48am I remember a shortstop for the Verona Black Sox who would place his cigarette behind second base in-between pitches. And how the play-by-play announcer with a simple microphone and speaker would address my oldest brother Jeff as the “Godfather”. I remember facing two brothers who played for Poplar Springs that could flat out hit! And I had to throw 138 pitches over eleven innings to beat them during the playoffs! (shameless plug)
11:52am Baseball is amazing in so many ways. And there is amazing baseball being played all across this country and in many countries around the world.
11:53am Mathematically, historically, universally, baseball is special. It has it’s own timeline, and brings people together. An incredible game that transcends every barrier the world can conjure!
11:55am There’s the knock… time to checkout.
To Be Concluded…