he's chasing dreams hitting seams.
she's chasing dreams talking sports.
Apologies for just now writing about Matt's second season (first full season) in the minors, but ya know, with the wedding, honeymoon, holidays, work and moving, things got a little crazy! But so EXCITED for my new and improved blog...only fitting this is the first post on dreams & seams!
Anyway, I know you guys are tired of hearing my excuses, so I'll get to it!
First, I'll throw out Matt's stats from the 2016 season. Matt spent the season with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers High-A) in California.
Matt's stats courtesy of MiLB.com
Games played: 124
At bats: 489
Hits: 145 (sixth in the California League)
Batting average: .297 (tied for seventh in the California League)
RBIs: 88 (third in the California League)
Doubles: 30 (tied for sixth in the California League)
Home runs: 11
BB (walks): 40
SO (strikeouts): 74
SO YEAH, he KILLED it. He was also named a California League Post-Season All-Star. Which I like to say means Matt did it right all season long.
Just so y'all know I keep Matt humble. Here is the only picture we took together from my visit to Rancho in June. This was my fourth and final game I would be at....and Matt didn't get a single hit while I was there....
I get off the plane on Sunday to see he went 3-for-4 in the game after I left...
I told him we might need to reconsider the whole marriage thing, but we went for it anyway. ;)
He actually just explained to me yesterday when we were at the cage that he was trying different things with his swing when I was there which probably caused the slump...
That sounds better than blaming the slump on me..
(FYI: Matty B spit so much baseball knowledge about swings to me at the cage that I will for sure be doing another post on.)
Just like the MiLB: The First Season post, I asked Matt a few questions/talking points. Also, I'm going to add a little bit of my thoughts to some things Matt says.
Q: What was the biggest difference from year one to year two?
A: (a) I would say the comfort of feeling prepared and kind of knowing what pro ball is all about. [The second season] I got to go through spring training first which allowed more reps and able to be with the guys I played the season with. Spring training allowed me to get in the swing [no pun intended] of things before being assigned and playing games unlike last year.
--Jesica: Since we're on the topic of spring training, I was able to go and visit Matt in Glendale, Arizona for spring training. The Dodgers and White Sox share Camelback Ranch, the spring training facility. Spring training is a sports atmosphere I've never experience before. And since I will be there this year, I plan on blogging often about my experiences of watching sping training. But what stands out the most to me about spring training is how the guys do not know what team they are being assigned to until seriously a couple of days before the first game. The Dodgers seperated the guys into different "teams" during spring training which represented each minior league team. But even those always shuffled. So, it'll be fun and nerve wrecking to experience that first hand this spring training.
A: (b) The other biggest difference that probably isn't much of a surprise is the speed of the game increased. The level of pitching was better in High-A. Guys have more range on defense in High-A, and trust me I experienced that several times. I squared up several balls that I thought were hits, but the fielder made a tough play look easy to send me back to the dugout. I also saw how both pitchers and catchers have better ideas and strategies to attack you with.
Q: How did it feel to play 124 out of 143 games?
A: Physically, I can't complain because thankfully, I didn't have major injuries where I had to sit out for extended periods of time. But I had just minor things and nagging things over the season. The minor, nagging injuries effected mentally because had to and wanted to play through it. Just had to make sure I was doing everything I could to take care of myself. Mentally, playing that many games with not many off days in between can be exhausting. Being active every single day, I learned how to have postive thoughts because when you have positive thoughts my body feels better, and I just felt better overall.
I also experienced a couple of situations I haven't before in baseball. Our team got into a brawl during the season where several players were suspended. I was told I was going to have an off day the day before the suspensions were handed out, so mentally, I kind of shut down that night and most of the next day. Then we found out suspensions were being given to some of our players. So, I was told I was going to be playing that day [the day I thought I had off]. I had not took a swing, throw or anything baseball related all day where usually I would have take BP in the cage, thrown, BP on the field and finished my pre-game routine most likely. I was a little upset at first, but then I just thought I couldn't control the situation, and I had to do my best. I ended up going 3-for-4 that game. When that happens, we say the baseball gods are on your side.
~* [Jesica's] second season highlights*~
You're probably wondering how I can have highlights from Matt's season when one I wasn't there, and two, it's not my season. But I have opinions about everything. I picked two highlights that maybe are more Sportscenter Not Top 10 worthy, and the third highlight is SO CUTE. So, here are my (nontraditional) second season highlights.
(Note: the photos in this post were taken by Jerry Espinoza. Matt was Jerry and Melissa's adopted player for the season. Jerry also took photos at each game he attended which was good for me because I got to see photos of Matt playing almost every day..which helped me feel like I was there...kinda!)
This is not one of Matt's highlights from the season, but I couldn't resist sharing. The photo thread above shows a fan PULLING a foul ball Matt caught OUT OF HIS GLOVE. When I look at the pictures now, I kind of laugh because I've seen fans interfer with a catch, but pulling a ball out of a fielders glove is taking it to another level, and the fact it happened to Matt is priceless. It's even more pathetic that the guy is giggling in Matt's face after he did it. He's lucky Matt is a nice guy. If it was me, I probably would have "accidently" given dude an elbow to the face. All in all, the batter was still called out. And needless to say. Matt didn't sign the ball afterwards.
DORA THE EXPLORER JERSEY
When I saw this promotion, I couldn't stop laughing. Matt and the other guys weren't too happy. But it's all for the kids, right?! Honestly though, this is probably one of the most clever but worst minor league promotions. ever.
My question: does the new MLB anti-hazing rule that bans players from dressing up as women apply to minor leaguers too?! If so, this isn't acceptable next year, and I'm glad cause I'm so offended...JUST KIDDING. [Different post for a different time.] Either way, I'm happy I got to see Matt in a Dora jersey.
I always say I'm Matt's biggest fan, but a little girl in Rancho named Chelsea gave me a run for my money, as they say, this season!! How cute is she. Melts my heart. She's my kind of girl loving baseball already! Be sure to zoom in, and read the Instagram captions! I hope I have the chance to meet Chelsea and her parents some day!
~*Matt's second season highlights*~
Rancho Cucamonga is about 45 minutes east of Los Angeles, so Dodgers rehab players would get sent to Rancho for live game reps before playing with Dodgers again.
In 2016, The Quakes set a record with how many major leaguers were on rehab…cool for Matt, not good for Dodgers. Anyway, Matt talked about 15 major leaguers he played with and two who started in Rancho (Andrew Toles and Brock Stewart) then ended up making major league debut by end of the season. Among the big leaguers who played with Matt on rehab assignment included Adrian Ethier, Clayton Kershaw, Howie Kendrick, Kike Hernandez, Carl Crawford, Alex Guerrero, Scott Van Slyke, Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy, Josh Fields, Yimi Garcia, Adam Liberatore and Josh Ravin.
Matt: “Ethier was real cool to talk with because he’s the longest tenure Dodger, so he was good to talk with instead of big leaguing. Also, cool to see how he goes through his day and getting prepared for the game. It’s just cool to play with guys you grew up watching on TV.”
Matt: “With Kershaw, the first game he was with us was the first pitches he had thrown in a game since his back injury. There was a lot of hype surrounding it, and Dodgers were in middle of playoff push.”
Another favorite story Matt has told me involves Kershaw. During pre-game once, Kershaw asked Matt where the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were. Matt had to break the news to him they couldn’t have that because of the all organic menu. “Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” Kershaw said.
Two of Matt’s former Belmont teammates and good friends (they were in our wedding!) are in the Astros organization and were in High-A as well, Jamie Ritchie and Drew Ferguson. The JetHawks (Astros High-A) were also in the California League, so Matt played against Jamie and Drew multiple times which was fun for all of them.
The Quakes and JetHawks played in the first round of the playoffs, and I was secretly cheering for the JetHawks so Matt could come home. JetHawks won. Matt came home the next day. Thanks, guys!
PS: Jamie and Drew are killing it in the minors too. Drew got called up to the Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros Double-A) near the end of the season and stayed with us!
The Quakes had a TON of walk-off wins throughout the season. Matt scored the winning run a couple of times. Matt: “Walk-offs are fun because everyone is on the edge of seats, knowing and waiting for something to happen. All the players want to keep the inning alive, get in scoring position and be one to knock in the winning run. You forget the stresses of the game when a walkoff happens.”
Lastly, Matt added one SportsCenter Not Top 10 to his highlights which was sleeping on an air mattress in a living room and still paying hundreds of dollars for rent. Matt was fortunate to stay with one of his teammates families who lives near Rancho for a few months. Kyle Garlick got called up, and Matt moved into an apartment with one of the other guys. Living in California is expense, and with a minor league income, players would pile into an apartment to make it work. (We’re gunna write a book one day with all the struggles, but for now, I’ll just entail little details.)
WHEW, this was a LONG one. If you’re still reading, YOU DA BOMB & THANK YOU.
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Matt & Jesica Beaty
Welcome in to dreams and seams! A tell-all blog about our career dreams and path to reaching those dreams with some commentary about sports and life plus some videos too.
"Strive for the impossible because it makes the possible seem effortless." -Matt Beaty