An Awesomely Crazy 29 Hours

I know I promised a mailbag, but in baseball and in life, some things change.

Sunday, August 30th

7:45 pm:  We are in Daytona and holding on to a 4-1 lead in the 8th inning.  I am getting stretched out in anticipation to pitch the 9th inning.  Lundy, our pitching coach, radios down to get Carlos Monasterios ready.  I am confused.  I had been pitching well and had ample rest, things just did not add up.  I was upset that I did not get to pitch in my normal role, but remembered that Ernie Whitt, our manager, told me just before the game started, “Everything we do has a reason behind it.”

8:00 pm:  We win the game 4-2.  We are in good spirits and come into the clubhouse to eat a delicious post game spread that includes homemade chicken and steak fajitas (Note: Daytona always has the best spreads).

8:05 pm:  Lundy tells me Ernie needs to see me in his office.  I go in and Ernie tells me, “There was a reason you did not pitch tonight.  I know you are aware that Lakewood is in the playoffs, and that they need a closer.  Your flight leaves for New Jersey in the morning.”  I weakly respond by saying, “Ok.” Then he tells me, “I am just kidding, Reading is making a playoff push and they want you to help out.  You are going to Reading, and your flight leaves at 10 am.”  To that I respond with an enthusiastic, “Ok!”  I shook all the coaches’ hands and thanked them.

8:10 pm:  I call my parents and somberly tell them that I have some interesting news.  My mom tells my dad to pick up the phone so they can both hear at the same time.  I tell them that I have been sent to Lakewood for the playoffs.   They simultaneously gasped and were silent for a few seconds.  Then I told them I was kidding and that I was going to Reading.  My mom, who almost never curses, yells, “How the f*** could you f*** with us like that.  You almost gave me a f****** heart attack.”  At the same time my mom was yelling, my dad was just screaming, “YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.”  Finally, they both came to their senses and told me how happy and proud they were of me.  Then they went to the bar and ordered some celebratory shots.  I then preceded to call and text my friends.

8:30 pm: I get on the bus to head back to Clearwater.  I get a call from a member of the Thresher front office saying my flight is at 10 am and they will pick us up from the field at 7:45 am.

11:30 pm:  I arrive at Brighthouse field for the last time this year, say goodbye to all my teammates, and pack up all my stuff.

12:35 am: I arrive at my condo.  I check the Reading schedule and find out two things.  First, they have a double header today starting at 5:35 pm, two 7 inning games.  Second, they used a lot of relief pitchers yesterday, so I have a good chance to pitch.

12:45 am:  I start packing.  I have to pack everything I need because I am going home to Alexandria, VA right after the Reading season ends.  I also want to pack as fast as possible, because I want to get some sleep before I pitch.  I end up throwing everything I have in 3 bags.  The dirty clothes are mixed with the clean clothes, absolutely nothing is folded, and all 3 bags are bursting at the seams.  I make what seems like 10 trips up and down 3 flights of stairs before I can finally get to bed.

2:50 am:  I lay down to go to bed, sweating from all the running around and set my alarm for 7:00 am.

4:15 am:  I actually go to sleep.

6:15 am:  I wake up in a panic.  I dreamed that I had slept through my alarm.  I have no chance of falling back to sleep.  I take a shower, eat some breakfast, check, recheck, and triple check my condo to make sure I did not forget anything important.

8:25 am:  I arrive at the Tampa Bay airport.

12:55 pm:  I arrive at the Philadelphia airport.  I got no sleep on the plane, as it is impossible for a 6’8” person to sleep on a plane (Note:  I like getting at least 9 hours of sleep every night.  The last time I got under 4 hours of sleep was in college when I was cramming for a final).

2:35 pm:  I arrive at Reading’s stadium.  I quickly realize how spoiled I was with Clearwater’s locker room accommodations.  Remember Clearwater is home for the Phillies’ spring training.    Reading’s locker room is very similar to Williamsport’s in its old fashion building and close quarters.  When I walked in with my stuff, Zagurski told me to find a nice spot on the floor for my stuff because all the lockers were taken.  I posted up on the floor in between Susdorf and Chavez’s lockers.

2:45 pm:  I see Chuck Lamar and Benny Looper walking around the clubhouse.  As if there was not enough pressure, two important front office people are here.

3:00 pm:  I find the Clubbie and get fitted for all my uniform needs.

3:15 pm:  Fix myself a couple of sandwiches and some chips for a much needed lunch.

3:30 pm:  Head into the trainer’s room to get all my arm exercises done.

4:00 pm:  Go out with all the pitchers to get our stretching and long toss program completed.  As I walk outside, I realize how beautiful the weather is compared to Florida, or as I like to call it, the devil’s kitchen.  After I finish throwing, I ask the strength coordinator what the conditioning is for the day.  He tells me to get whatever I feel like I need.  This is a change from Clearwater.

4:45 pm:  As I come off the field, I run into my freshman year college roommate, Ryan Ouellette.  He left UVA after his freshmen year to go to Junior College in hopes to get drafted a year earlier.  He did get drafted and is now a relief pitcher for Bowie.

5:00 pm:  I go into the training room to get an arm stretch.  As I am lying on the table getting stretched, Steve Roadcap, aka Roady, my new manager, comes out of his locker room.  I smile and say hello.  He looks at me, and with a stern tone says, “The first thing you do when you come to a new place is say hello to the manager.”  He then walked away, shaking his head in disapproval.  The trainer who was stretching me says, “Well, that’s a good first impression.”

5:35 pm:  The game begins, and I am sitting in the bullpen with my new teammates.  The bullpen talk hits on the same subject from Clearwater to Reading, just in a different light.  In Clearwater, the talk was about random girls or girlfriends, whereas in Reading the talk is about fiancés and wives.  In Clearwater, we would talk about places to rent, and living on someone’s couch.  In Reading, the talk is about additions to houses they owned, and putting up a basketball court in the back yard.

7:45 pm:  Rosenberg gives up Flande’s run on a super cheap hit in the 6th inning to tie the score. It looks like this game could be heading into extra innings.

8:40 pm:  The score remains tied in the 9th inning as Escalona comes in to pitch.  I think I could be next.

9:10 pm:  The score remains tied in the 10th inning as Zagurski comes in to pitch.  I know I am next now, as I am the only pitcher remaining.

9:20 pm:  Zagurski does not allow a run and Shrenk, the pitching coach, radios down, “Schwimer has the next inning.”  When those words were said, my heart rate increased from 95 to 155.

9:25 pm: My ex roommate, Ryan Ouellete, pitches a scoreless 10th.

9:25 pm: Tim Kennelly, the catcher, makes the last out so I walk in from the bullpen in order to give him some time to get all his gear on.  I throw 6 warm up pitches, then ask TK to come to the mound.  I tell him everything is working and I want to start the first guy, their cleanup hitter, off with a slider.  I walk around the mound and say to myself, “This is the same game.  I have done this a million times before.”  My first pitch slider is a strike.  I am now comfortable and settled in.  The first batter hits a groundball in between short and third, Freddy Galvis slides to get the ball, pops up, and makes a strong throw to get the runner by a step.  Absolute web gem, I let out a sigh of relief.  The next batter inside outs a week line drive to the first baseman.  The next batter hits a groundball up the middle for a sure single if anyone besides Freddy is playing short.  Freddy dives to get the ball, spins, and makes a no look hard throw that is right on the money for the 3rd out.

9:35 pm:  Freddy starts the rally by laying down a bunt that my former roommate throws away.   Later in the inning, Spidale gets the game winning hit, his 998th career minor league hit.  The dugout erupts as we sprint on the field to congratulate everyone.  Everyone is high fiving as we go into the club house to grab some food before the second game.  I like to get some running in after I pitch in order to get the lactic acid out of my arm.  Before I did that, Shrenk found me and asked how I felt.  I said, “I feel great,” and he says, “I want you to stay inside for the beginning of the second game to keep warm because you might be needed to pitch again.”  Now I am thinking to myself, “Holy shit, is this really happening?”

11:15 pm:  It is the end of the 4th inning. I have been watching the game on the TV inside the clubhouse.  The trainer comes in and puts heat on my shoulder and elbow.

11:35 pm:  It is the top of the 6th inning, and I head out to the bullpen.  After the top of the 6th, the score is tied.  Shrenk radios down, “If we take the lead, Schwimer is in the game.”  I start light tossing, but will not start throwing unless we get a runner in scoring position.  That never happens so I sit back down.

11:45 pm:  Overholt throws a scoreless 7th inning.

12:15 am:  The bottom of the 7th took 20 minutes due to pitching changes and Roady contesting a call with the 2nd base umpire.  Overholt throws a scoreless 8th inning.  Shrenk radios down, “Schwimer is in the game.”  Now I am just smiling and enjoying the moment.  I think to myself, “What are the chances of this happening?” as I get loose in the bullpen.

12:25 am:  I enter the tie game in the 9th inning, facing their 9th hitter.  I quickly get ahead of him and strike him out on a slider.  I get ahead of the leadoff hitter with some off speed pitches, then freeze him with an inside fastball for strike 3.  I get behind the next batter and end up walking him.  Two out walks are inexcusable, but two out walks in extra innings with their best hitter on deck is beyond inexcusable.  Their switch hitting third baseman, Josh Bell, steps in the box.  This is the guy that the Orioles got from the Dodgers in the George Sherill trade.  I make good quality pitches to get ahead 1-2.  I try to elevate a fastball, but he takes it and it goes off the glove of our catcher, which allows the go ahead run to get to 2nd base.  Nelly, our catcher, comes to the mound and asks me what I want.  I tell him, “backleg slider,” he says, “sounds good to me.”  I throw it, Bell swings over the top of it; Nelly blocks it and throws him out at first.  I let out some sort of happy grunt as I am going into the dugout.

12:35 am: Q Berry starts the rally with a leadoff single.  Spidale bunts him over.  Brown gets intentionally walked.  Mahar comes up and laces a single into left field, at this point the dugout erupts and starts running on the field because no left fielder in the world has a chance to throw out Q Berry.  We win the game!  Half the team runs to Q, while the other half runs to Mahar to congratulate them.  Everyone is high fiving everyone.

12:40 am:  We get into the clubhouse and everyone comes up to shake my hand and tell me good job.  My adrenaline is still pumping so I go outside to get some sprints in.  Needless to say, those were the best 10 sprints I have ever run in my life.

1:30 am:  We board the bus, and I pass out like an Irishman on St. Patrick’s Day.  I woke up for 15 minutes to get my room key, then went straight back to sleep and woke up at 3:00 pm.

In the past 29 hours, I went from the east coast of Florida to the west coast; I got 2 hours of sleep, packed up my life, moved my stuff from Florida to Pennsylvania, and recorded 2 wins in my first two appearances in AA in the same day. What have you done in the past 29 hours?

52 thoughts on “An Awesomely Crazy 29 Hours

  1. Nice job michael. I was at the game and saw you did a good job. Although you said you let out some sort of happy grunt as you struck out the final batter of the 2nd game. I thought it was more of a loud A ball roar. Nice to see you were pumped to be in AA…

  2. 1:30 am: We board the bus, and I pass out like an Irishman on St. Patrick’s Day. I woke up for 15 minutes to get my room key, then went straight back to sleep and woke up at 3:00 pm.

    Great line.

    Congrats.

  3. Great job. It must be incredible to know just how close to the majors you are.

    I don’t know if Elias Sports Bureau does minor league stats but I wonder how many times a pitcher got two wins on the same day.

    Good luck Schwim!

  4. hey mike
    glad to see you up in reading. really like your blog here, Im a big fan of yours, but there was a couple things i saw you do that seemed a little weird. the first being when i was down watching you warm up in the bullpen, i saw you spike the ball after you warmed up and walked all the way to the mound. witched seemed a little cocky for being your first day in AA. the other was yelling after you k’ed the last batter witch ruth already brought up. you deserved the promotion, and keep doing what your doing.

  5. Hi Mike
    Hi my name is Ephem and im a huge baseball fan, not a phillies fan. I have always been a Mets fan, but my dad told me about you last year and i have been following you ever since. I live just outside Lakewood NJ and when we saw that you got called up my dad and i drove up to see you pitch. what a day it was a real treat to watch you get two wins in one day. That has to be some kind of record. You are a real inspiration to all jewish boys. cant wait to see you pitch again.

  6. @rphilsfan

    Are you serious? I want my relief pitchers to be a little cocky. I want them to be a lot cocky. Anyone who’s ever played competitive sports at even a relatively high level should know that you have to have a little bit of an edge to win.

  7. MIke, Congrats on the promotion and keep up the great work. Always great reading and insite from your blog but on a sellfish note I was worried we might not hear from you again after the Reading promotion. Good luck enjoy the time

  8. That had to be alittle wierd too because when youre running on no sleep like that and you have to do tons of stuff the next day youre like half crazy.

  9. Wow Mike, now honestly what would have been more enjoyable two saves or two wins? They are both great don’t get me wrong, but two saves would have meant you go into the inning knowing you have the lead…a little more pressure and you are also on the mound and the hero when that last out is thrown. Nonetheless, great stuff Michael!!! Keep it up Pal!

  10. @rphilsfan

    In regards to walking to the mound [questioning cockiness within a player], Michael states:
    “Tim Kennelly, the catcher, makes the last out so I walk in from the bullpen in order to give him some time to get all his gear on.”

    Michael, you did great. Congrats, you derseve it.

  11. Congratulations Mike. I hope you were able to give your college roommate a text or something to give him a bit of trash talk:)

    I’d also like to put a stopwatch on you the next time your promoted to see how long it takes you to say hello to the manager:)

  12. @rphilsfan – you are an idiot and know nothing about sports. clearly you have never played sports at a high level nor ever won at sports. there is nothing cocky about spiking the ball to the ground in the bullpen to fire yourself up before your league debut. suggesting otherwise are the words of a loser.

  13. I hope, when he reads the comments, Mike Schwimer know and understands how much devoted readers appreciate his entries and how truly embarassed we are that someone, anyone, would say anything insulting or degrading to him or about him. Please, Mike, keep up the good work and ignore the silly comments. We love your work!

  14. Unbelievable. Glad you and Rosey are back together in Reading. After next year setting up and closing for each other, I’d bet a September callup is in order. See what that does for your adrenaline – the conditions at CPB are probably better than at Clearwater. Congrats man.

  15. Wow, some of you guys kill me. That any of you would even begin to give the man back-handed comments while criticizing his actions on this of all days is absolutely pathetic.

    He is gracious enough to give us all a glimpse into one of the most exciting days of his life, and some of you tear apart what he does. To me that just makes those that do this sad, jealous people who don’t understand high level competition. Let the man have his career day and enjoy it to the fullest.

    Mike, thank you so much for describing so clearly this 29 hour period. It is perhaps the first time, I’ve ever had a glimpse into the thoughts of someone as he goes through this type of excitement and adrenaline rush. Good luck in Reading, and get those boys through to the playoffs. They could definitely use an outside boost right now. Peace all.

  16. Your blog reads like a script for a TV movie of the week. “A 29 Hour Day Along the Road to the Show”

  17. to ephram, 2 wins in a day used to be done more than you think back in the 50,s. , by starters. newcombe beat the phillies both games of a dh.

  18. Yo Mike, you just upped the level of communication here. That was so real time and from-the-heart personal, a pretty unique experience to read about your unique experience. Very well communicated! You are a natural writer.

    One minor point, from a writer, writing teacher, English major: It’s “proceeded,” not “preceded.” (Just light-hearted feedback, difficult to really criticize a person who writes so well–and it is the Internet!)

  19. I ran some instances in world of warcraft, so there…

    oh, wait, your day was much much better. Congrats Michael! Your enthusiasm flows from the page. I somehow feel I accomplished something by just reading it!

  20. Wow! Awesome stuff Mike. Has to be one of the best days of your baseball career. The jump up to AA, coming into two tie games late, and grab two wins. Wow. What’s the matter, they didn’t want you to DH, too? Guess you can’t do it all. JK.

  21. Can’t tell you enough how enjoyable it is to read about the trials and tribulations of a young man’s journey through the minors. I am green with envy.

  22. Schwim wrote: “There was a reason you did not pitch tonight. I know you are aware that Lakewood is in the playoffs, and that they need a closer. Your flight leaves for New Jersey in the morning.” I weakly respond by saying, “Ok.” Then he tells me, “I am just kidding, Reading is making a playoff push and they want you to help out. You are going to Reading, and your flight leaves at 10 am.”

    That’s awesome…simply awesome.

    Congrats on the 2 wins and great story. I was thinking to myself…Hmm I wonder if he’ll do a blog entry this week due to the promotion (due to the travel, new team, etc). Good to see.

  23. a few things,
    First, I have no problem with questions, comments, or criticisms from anyone that reads this. I just wish you could email them to me at mschwimer@yahoo.com so I can address them in a mailbag or to you personally.
    However, I did promise a mailbag, and did not deliver so I will answer some of these questions/criticisms.

    Someone else emailed me about the ball spike, and I was going to address it in a mailbag, but sense you mentioned it, here is my answer.

    During my Sophmore year in college I had trouble keeping the ball down. When I was wild, I was wild high, and my pitching coach would always yell at me, “Straight down!” The last thing I do before going into a game now is spike the ball straight down into the ground to remind myself of this lesson. I do realize that this seems cocky and I have been made fun of it from my teammates to no end, but to be honest, I really do not care how it looks. I do not pitch for image, I pitch to get outs.

    As for the walk to the mound.
    When my catcher makes the last out or is left on base, I like to take my time to get to the mound to give him a chance to get all his gear on. If I jogged to the mound then I would be throwing my warmup pitches to a catcher that was not catching me that day. The catcher that is playing will have no idea what kind of stuff I have on that particular day. Now, if it is a catcher that I have thrown to 100 times then it would not matter, and I would jog in, because he knows me well.

    The grunt after a strike out,
    This I cant help. I am an extremely intense competitor, and when I win a battle in a big situation it just comes out of me uncontrollably. I do not mean to show anyone up or seem cocky, and if it looks like that, I will repeat, I do not care. I do not pitch for image, I pitch to get outs.

    Hope that helps. In the future send all your questions to my email please.

  24. Schwim….outstanding. Knew you’d get to A ball this year. Hope you get into the playoffs with Reading and can enjoy that….

  25. Good stuff again. You had two chances to make a good first impression and you aced them both! I feel your excitement.
    Hopefully Reading makes the playoffs and I can get up there for a game or two.

  26. Schwim,
    coolest thing i’ve read in quite a while – you should write a book, this is great stuff!

    Congrats on the promotion to Reading, really hope you can stay with us to document the rest of your rise through the minors – we’re all pulling for ya!

  27. “What have you done in the past 29 hours?”

    I managed to save 15% on my auto insurance. That’s all I’ve got.

    Aside from playing that nasty trick on your poor parents that’s a great story. Glad to see you’re rising through the system and we’re all hoping to see you at the Bank sooner than later. Congratulations.

  28. I will send any questions I have to your email but I did want to post this message.
    The more I read from your blog and comments the more impressed I am with you as a premier athlete. You have a tremendous attitude: extremely smart, always paying attention to the game, aware of outside influences, and most admirably, focused on what you need to do.
    I can only hope I can apply those lessons in my competitions. Thanks so much for sharing your ‘day’! Incredible!

  29. Good on you Mr. Schwimer! I can’t imagine a better start to AA ball.

    Thanks for sharing this experience with us. We really are all rooting for you.

  30. Wow what a day! Thanks for sharing your experiences on here. Getting in both ends of a double header on your first day, what are the chances.

    And hopefully it is exciting to be playing in front of some decent crowds at Reading and being surrounded by a ton of dedicated Phils fans there.

  31. By the way did anyone else find it funny that the other Phils minor league blogger Brian Gump no sooner gets to Lakewood than Michael leaves for Reading? Like two ships passing in the night…

  32. Funny though ultimately meaningless – Schwim gets as many wins in one day as he had previously accumulated in an (almost) 2 year minor league career. :)

  33. Congrats Mike…You sure you don’t want to come to Lakewood for the playoffs…LOL…Good luck in Reading!!!!

  34. Wow…what a day!! This is one of my favorite features of an already great site. Reading your “play by play” made me want to go out and run 10 sprints as well. And that’s not a pretty picture.

  35. Your posts are amazing. I have always loved to learn about the inside story oh how baseball operates. I just wanted to send a congrats on the promotion and say keep up the great job!

  36. Mike,

    Very enjoyable to read what you felt and went through on that incredible day. Excellent detail and insight for us not as fortunate to experience it. Very well written IMO. I also like that fact that you don’t give a shit what others think about your warmup routine and the meaning behind them. Good Luck!!!!

  37. Sorry to comment several months after this was posted, I’ve only just discovered this section of the site, and its fantastic reading. Well put together, great insights to the life of a Minor League Player and the mind of a pitcher, I was reading this last piece as if I was watching the game live really pulling for you!

    And I love this line, it belongs in an Adidas or Nike commercial “I do not pitch for image, I pitch to get outs.”

    I look forward to following your progress this season!

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