BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — There are moments in a career where you step back and take a moment to enjoy what is around you. One of those moments happened to me the other day.
Starting pitchers are typically on a five-day rotation, with four days of preparation between each start.
On the days a starting pitcher is not scheduled to pitch, they will usually chart the game from the stands. But one day of the four they will watch the game from the dugout.
When we chart in the stands it is primarily to gather information for our team on their performance. Hitters can identify pitches they saw, and pitchers can track the pitches they threw. This helps us identify patterns, analyze weaknesses and much more.
Last week, I was watching the game from the dugout. It was a cold, misty and windy game. Suddenly, I stepped back, looked left, then right and realize what a special experience I was a part of.
I was amongst two Red Sox legends. Rich Gedman was on my left and Jason Varitek was on my right. Rich was 1981 Rookie of the Year and caught Roger Clemens 20 strikeout game in 1986. Jason Varitek has caught more games than any other catcher in Red Sox history (1,488) and caught 4 no-hitters in his career.
When I am in the dugout I try to learn something new each day. I am constantly asking the coaching staff and my teammates questions about what they see and how they would approach a situation.
As I stood there in the dugout, I realized what special company I was in.
While it humbled me to be there in that moment with such historic names, it also gave me this incredible motivation. It reminded me that you are only a few steps from the Major Leagues. We are learning from the best the game has to offer on a daily basis.
I think anyone who achieves at a high level has experienced a similar moment. A moment in their career where they step back and realize they are getting incredibly close to where they want to be. A moment where they step back and see they are surrounded by some of the best in the industry.
Each day in the minor leagues brings the opportunity to play with and compete against some of the best up and coming players from around the world in the game of baseball.
We get to learn from some of the best coaches, who have found success at the level we are working to attain.
As you can imagine, it is at times a surreal experience but it reminds me of how hard I have worked to get to the place I am today.
Mike McCarthy is a former CSUB pitcher now in the Red Sox organization. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mmcarthy35.