While the prospect-laden Arizona Fall
League is filled with plenty of household names, one that doesn’t
especially reach out and grab you is Indians sidewinding righthander
as a nondrafted free agent by the Red Sox in 2004 out of Tufts (Mass.)
University, Newsom was the player to be named that Boston sent to the
Tribe to complete the Coco Crisp deal in 2006.
25-year-old pitched for four different clubs that season, finishing the
year with a championship ring at high Class A Kinston, where he also
was named MVP of the Mills Cup series.
began the 2007 season back with the K-Tribe, going 0-1, 1.50 in just 12
innings before being promoted to Double-A Akron. Newsom’s club again
made it to the postseason, but fell in the Eastern League championship
series to Trenton.
the Aeros, the Cincinnati native went 4-1, 3.12 in 49 innings, recorded
18 saves and rolled up ground balls at a 2.94 GO/FO rate. Much better
against righthanders, who batted just .208 against him in Double-A, the
Indians sent Newsom to Arizona to work on his approach against lefties.
will be contributing a weekly diary to Baseball America, and this is
his third entry . . . which shows it’s tough to find things to log in a journal when you’re on the taxi squad:
It was difficult coming up with something to write about this week. I asked my teammates, friends, anyone I could find for a topic that would be relatable, interesting, and informative. Two weeks into this journal and I couldn’™t come up with something that would click. So I decided just to start from a beginning of my day and see what came out.
Every day I get up and get to live my dream. I wish everyone in the world could say that. Every morning I get to wake up knowing that everything I wished for myself at 25 years old is still a possibility. I wake up (around 7 a.m. here), eat some breakfast, put on my clothes, drive about 45 minutes, and get to go to work with some great people, some great mentors, and some great friends. I walk into a clubhouse full of amazing athletes who get paid to do what they love. Taking a step back and putting that in perspective, I realize I am very lucky and blessed.
At 10 a.m., I go outside and have a catch with a bunch of my buddies and watch the batting practice of a lot of guys that will be in the big leagues very shortly. At 12:30, I get to put on a Cleveland Indians uniform, go out to a park filled with beautiful grass and manicured dirt and play a game that I’™ve played since I was 4 (when my parents changed my birth date to get me into T-Ball a year early so I would stop throwing balls at my 2-year-old brother Russ).
Being a relief pitcher, I go down to the bullpen and watch a baseball game while joking around with some of the most unique personalities I have ever met. After the game is over I usually work out in a first class facility, shower, and then eat a meal that is already laid out for me. I’™m done with all of that by 5 or 6 p.m. and then the rest of the day is my own to do whatever I want. It’™s an absolutely outstanding time and I get to call it my career.
Yes, it’™s not always positive thinking and having fun. The game itself is the most mentally exhausting occupation I’™ve ever been a part of. It’™s tough for me to relax during the season knowing that each day I have to be at my very best. The highs can be super high and the lows can be super low. Sometimes it happens in a mere pitch or two. Last week in my only outing of the season thus far, I walked the very first batter I faced on five pitches. The next batter hit the second ball he saw hard but right into the ground for a double play. Two pitches later the inning was over. My mind went from excitement (before I went in), to frustration (after I walked the first batter), to determination (the second batter), to satisfaction (after the inning ended) in the course of ten pitches and about three minutes. Very few things in life can bring so many emotions to the forefront in such a quick time. There’™s nothing better then getting that last out in a tough game and getting to celebrate with your teammates. And then there is nothing worse then letting those same guys down the next night by not performing your best. After everything though, my dream is still going strong and my determination to get to the big leagues and win a World Series title grows every day.
The best part of my everyday life though, is the people that I meet and get to know. In the two plus weeks I’™ve been out here in Arizona I have been exposed to a very good group of people.
My team, the Surprise Rafters, has started this season off really well. I think the reason behind our strong start is the fact that our team has almost no individual egos to speak of. In professional baseball that is saying a lot, in a league like the AFL, full of future big leaguers, I think that speaks volumes about the character of the players and coaches. My teammates are not only a talented bunch of players on the field; they’™re also good guys off of it. Just looking around I’™ve noticed some friendships form between players that I bet will last much longer then the six weeks that we’™re here together.
As for me, I’™ve once again found a team that I can relate to. From the guys in the bullpen who have helped me to lead the Fall League in playful insults received (which are all well deserved) to the catchers who have advised me on what works and what doesn’™t when I am pitching, it’™s been really good getting to know my new teammates and hanging around with the other players from the Indians. For being here such a short time, we seem to have a comfort level some teams never reach. That’™s important when you’™re trying to combine five organizations into one team on a stage in front of so many important talent evaluators and decision makers. Once again, I think God has blessed me not only to be here but with also with the people I am here with.
So I guess I didn’™t have writer’™s block so much as I needed to put things in order. Next week I’™ll write about something a little more concrete and detailed about my experience here but for now I had to write about perspective. If not for anyone else, I needed to remind myself that at five years old this exactly where I wanted to be. At 25, it still is.