Inside Scoop #8 Going Back Home
My baseball team and I, the Spokane Indians, just returned from a three-day road trip where played the Yakima Bears. This was a significantly special trip for me, because I grew up and played baseball in the small neighboring town of Selah (pronounced See-luh). It wasn't the first time I had layed in the stadium, because I had pitched there several times during high school in the playoffs for the Selah HS Vikings.
I was fortunate enough to get to see all of my friends and family that I do not usually get the chance to see. Many of my friends hadn't seen me pitch since I was in high school, so they were just as excited as I was to pitch.
I was called in during the ninth inning with two on and only one out. On the second pitch I threw, I induced a a ground ball double play to end the game. It earned me my first professional save. My friends were cheering loud and were excited for me.
If I had to pick out one single best part of the trip, I would have to say that it was the fact that my manager, Tim Hulett, Sr., let me stay at home with my family. I got to visit with my loved ones and to top it off, I was able to sleep in my own bed!
Inside Scoop #7 My First Experience Outside the United States
My baseball team, the Spokane Indians, and I just returned from a five-game road trip to Vancouver, British Columbia. We lost the first game of the series by a run in extra innings, but we bounced back to win the next four. The last game of the series also went to extra innings. I was called into the game in the 13th inning with the score tied 8-8. I pitched the 13th and 14th and was fortunate that our offense was able to score two runs in the top of the 14th, giving me my first professional victory.
Even though I have lived in Washington for almost my entire life, I had never had the opportunity to journey up to Canada. During the last four years that I lived in Arizona, I never made it to Mexico either. So this trip was first journey outside the USA and it was an amazing experience. The environment was much like home except the landscape and weather were different. The currency is obviously different. We were able to pay for things in US dollars, but they would give us change back in Canadian dollars. They have a one dollar coin (a looney) and a two dollar coin (a tooney) which seemed odd to me at first. The other differences that stood out to me both had to do with driving. In Canada, like everywhere else besides the United States, they use the Metric System. So they pay by the liter rather than the gallon. Also, the speed limits were posted by kilometers per hour, instead of Miles per hour.
Overall it was a fun experience and I am happy for the chance to visit another country, even if it was only an 8 hour bus ride away. I hope to travel the world and add many more countries to my list before it is all said and done.
Until next time!
Inside Scoop #6 Thomas asks: "What is the hardest transition going from college baseball right to the pro game?"
Thanks for the question Thomas. I would say the most difficult transition would be the schedule. Instead of playing three to five games a week, we are playing every single day. We will finish up a game at home in Spokane, then get on a bus and drive overnight anywhere from three to eight hours depending on our final destination. It can be very exhausting on travel days to get to the park and get ready to play, considering it is almost impossible to get a good night's rest on the bus. I will usually bring a blanket or a pillow on the bus when we travel so I can try to get as comfortable as possible. At ASU, we traveled by plane almost everywhere we went. Here in the Northwest League, we don't travel as far and don't have the budget to allow us to fly to our away games. It is only a small price to play considering I still get to play the game I love.
**Read the Yakima Herald story on Dustin at http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/5434 **
Inside Scoop #5 A lot of people are wondering how college athletes manage to get all of our school work done when we have such a hectic schedule are doing so much traveling. To be honest, it can be quite overwhelming at some points throughout the season. We have to miss classes sometimes and even have to do homework or take quizzes in our hotel when we are on the road.
We know our schedule ahead of time and we have to give our professors slips that acknowledge that we will be missing certain days due to athletic competition. A lot of the time, we won't leave for a road trip until the afternoon so that we can attend classes the day we leave. Some of the time the professors would give us the work ahead of time so we could finish it before we left town. We also have lap tops that student-athletes can check out from the Athletic Department to use while we are on the road. This way you are sure to be able to complete assignments or papers and also be able to log on to the internet. We also have an academic coach who keeps us organized and makes sure that we all stay on top of our work. She is extremely helpful and she will come on road trips with us and proctor exams if necessary.
It can get stressful at times, however we have many helpful resources that allow us to pass our classes with with a busy baseball schedule.
Inside Scoop #4 Allright, I am back with another question. This time from Keith. Keith asks: "ASU fans are aware that 15 players were drafted in early June. Is there one source that will let us know who signed and where they will be playing this summer?"
Yes Keith, TheSunDevils.com is your spot for all this information. Once players have signed and are assigned to their minor league teams, they will be posted on the "Sun Devils In The Minors" page, which can be linked off the main baseball page. Be patient waiting for the page to be updated, as the signing deadline is not until August 15, and not all players are assigned right away. You can also keep up to date on where current Sun Devils are playing over the Summer, by clicking on the 2008 Summer Ball Teams link on the right side of the screen.
Inside Scoop #3 Our season has come and gone, leaving much of the team with very optimistic futures. Setting a school record, our Sun Devil Baseball team had 15 of our players get selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. Included in those 15 players were Ike Davis and Brett Wallace, who were both selected in the first 20 picks. Brett went 13th to the St. Louis Cardinals while Ike went 18th to the New York Mets. I was drafted in the 21st round by the Texas Rangers. Going through the entire process of signing a professional contract and heading out to an unknown city to begin your pro career can be quite nerve racking. Speaking for most all of my teammates, we are all excited for the opportunities ahead and the new experiences we have yet to live.
To celebrate our season and say our goodbyes, we attended a BBQ at Ike's place where his dad cooked up the most amazing food I have ever had. We talked about old times, discussed where everyone was on their way too and what the future will hold for us. A group as close as we are, I am sure there be no problem keeping in touch with all of my teammates.
I want to thank everyone who has sent in questions so far to DustinBradersInsideScoop@gmail.com. Keep them coming. Without any further ado, let's answer some emails!
From AR- "Dustin, Do you have any eligibility left and will you be back at ASU, or will you join the Rangers organization? Also, how do student-athletes make ends meet since college is so expensive?"
Thanks for the questions, AR. Unfortunately, I am a senior and will not be able to come back next year to help the Devils. I am only a couple of credits shy of graduating, which I will be completing in only a few short weeks. I have signed with the Texas Rangers and will be reporting to my new minor league team, the Spokane Indians, shortly. My entire life, my dream has been to play Major League Baseball. I have a long road ahead of me, however, thre is nothing better than a good challenge.
Many of the student-athletes on the team are on some type of scholarship, although in college baseball, there are only 11.7 scholarships available. Some have bigger scholarships than others, however school is still expensive. I am from the State of Washington, and because I am from out of state, I pay out-of-state tuition, which is almost twice as much as in-state. I have taken out student loans the past few years to help me with everyday expenses. After four years of school, I have definitely put myself in a hole in student loans. Considering that I have had the opportunity to play baseball the entire time and have gotten a great education, I see it in a positive light.
I am off to Spokane to begin my first season as a pro baseball player. I will talk to you all soon!
Inside Scoop #2 The road to Omaha ended more abrupt than we all were planning on with a 12 -9 loss to the Fresno State Bulldogs on Monday. It was the third and deciding game of the Tempe Super Regional with a trip to College World Series on the line. It was a very exciting series with momentum swings for both teams. It was an emotional game with a very excited crowd to cheer us on, and neither team wanted to give in. Only one team at the end of the day was able to continue there season, and unfortunately, that team wasn't us.
With the conclusion of this game the harsh reality for most of our juniors and seniors, including myself, had just played our last game in a Sun Devil Uniform. It was tough pill to swallow and a few tears were shed, however we all know that the bond we made this season and over the last few years is strong enough to be friends for the rest of our lives.
To ask me questions you might have about the team, or an individual player on the team, just write me an E-Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . I will answer truthfully and to the best of my knowledge. I can even call a player to ask him a question personally if I don't know the answer myself.
Inside Scoop #1 This is the first of many online articles I will be writing discussing the Baseball team and the life of a student athlete. Once a week I will answer a "Question of the week" sent in by a reader regarding our team. The reasoning to this new forum on the baseball web site is to fulfill my requirements to earn my degree in BIS, however, also a great chance to give people out there a chance to see what the life of a student athlete is all about and what goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps I will be able to motivate some of the children out there who share the same passions as me, to help them reach for the stars and help them accomplish their goals in life.
To ask Dustin a question, send an email to DustinBradersInsideScoop@gmail.com.