June 18, 2014
University of Notre Dame baseball rising senior Phil Mosey is playing summer league baseball this year with the Redding Colt 45’s of the Far West League in Redding, Calif. As of June 17, the Fishers, Ind., native has played in eight of his team’s 11 games, and is batting .345 with seven runs, one double, two homers, six RBI and three walks. He also pitched for the first time in his summer-league career and allowed only one hit and a walk over three innings while striking out five to pick up the win. A film, television and theatre major in the College of Arts & Letters, Mosey has graciously offered to keep a blog all summer and share his summer ball experiences with the Notre Dame fans. Below is his second blog entry.
Summer ball has privileged me with some of my most unique and obscure baseball experiences to date. The summer season provides a break from the pressures of the college season, and allows players to compete with nothing extremely pressing on the line. In my case, it’s also allowed me to find myself with some vantage points of the game that I am not entirely familiar with.
Due to a lack of depth in the lineup, I found myself catching a game two summers ago, which was something I had never done past 12 year-old baseball when I caught on rare occasions due to the other catchers being too scared to catch our hardest throwing pitcher. Don’t think for a second that I wasn’t a little nervous too, my hand sporting several batting gloves under a foreign sweat-stained catchers mitt. My collegiate catching debut went well, however, as I threw out 100% of base stealers (the only steal was attempted on a 3-2 count, a count in which a ball was thrown allowing the runner on first to safely advance to second … regardless, the throw beat him by a step and our shortstop tagged him out to humor me. I take what I can get).
This summer season, although young, has already given me a similar opportunity. While taking a day off due to a tweaked wrist, I was summoned to the pitcher’s mound. I had been pestering our pitching coach for a few days about maybe getting a couple innings in relief sometime later in the summer. Much to my surprise, he actually let me begin warming up in the pen. I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to get on the mound for years, especially in summer ball where I spend the majority of my time thinking up plans that I would never get away with during the school season. The most important part of the biz is knowing your audience. Remember that.
A few pitches into my warm up I had stopped laughing and doing the fake ‘double pistols’ hand gesture at every jealous position player I passed, and actually began to feel pretty nervous. What if I couldn’t throw a strike? What if I got knocked all over the yard? What if some unruly fan yelled, “BALK!” as I picked off to second base? I was playing with fire.
As I stood atop my lonely mound, I peered down at the bullpen catcher, then to the crowd of fans, then to the opposing dugout, freckled with overweight, tattooed 30 year-olds that made up the men’s league team that we were currently beating handily, I thought, “This must be what the World Series is like.” I then thought, “If I blow this lead, I’ll never live it down,” then, “Oh well, at least it’ll make for a funny story.”
I wouldn’t necessarily say that my command was good. I’ll be honest, those guys were free swingers. Every time I got behind in the count 2-0, I could practically hear Coach Ristano chirping from the dugout. I can say, however, that after 3 innings pitched I had given up no runs, struck out five, and walked only one batter. Those are Adam Norton type numbers. On top of that, I somehow earned the win. I seriously don’t know how, because all you pitchers have weird rules and customs (on and off the field) that I refuse to be familiar with. Regardless, I can proudly say that after not pitching since I was 15, I am now a winning collegiate pitcher, and no one can ever take that away from me. I can also say that for three or four days following such a courageous performance, I legitimately didn’t think I’d ever throw a baseball again. I’ll never rarely make fun of pitchers for arm soreness from now on, because my entire body felt like it’d been hit by a truck.
Without summer ball, and the gracious coaching staff on the Redding Colt .45s, I would have never been able to experience pitching in a live collegiate game. In essence, this is what summer ball is all about; having fun, making memories and occasionally posting a blog about your unlikely performances so that your pitching coach at school might let you throw in a fall intersquad. A kid can dream!
–Phil Mosey, Notre Dame Baseball #33, Infielder