Padres righthander Dirk Hayhurst will be one of our featured diary scribes for the 2007 season. The 2003 eighth-round pick went a combined 6-14, 4.73 in 131 innings at three different levels last season–getting to Triple-A (Portland) for the first time in his career.
But never mind the numbers.
“You could look up my stats but they don’t tell the whole story,” Hayhurst says. “In fact, they really don’t say much about minor league life at all. Yet, for some reason, those sacred numbers seem to define my very existence. It’s amazing how we meticulously calculate those hollow digits, desperately trying to extract a formula for greatness, when so much of the sport is in the intangible magic of it. Baseball is so much more then a jumble of acronyms and averages. I think minor league baseball is one hell of an interesting ride.”
And with that, it’s probably best to let one of the minors’ outspoken players just to tell it like it is.
“Last night I got in to the Padres spring training hotel. It was a long trip and my legs were barking. I had spent the last six hours wedged in a window seat right next to the engine of the plane. I couldn’t sleep, except for the 15 minutes when I missed the lunch service. I was tired, hungry and sore when we touched down, but knowing I was going to get a suite instead of a normal room this year helped me soldier on.
This is my fifth year with the Padres, and my fourth spring training as a minors guy. If I am not getting an apartment and a 40-man paycheck, I should at least get a hotel room with a sink and a microwave.
So, when I was told all the suites were taken–many by younger guys–I was more than a little upset. Now, I don’t think of myself as someone who deserves the world, but I was older and this is one perk I was looking forward to.
This year, however, no such luck. Since I arrived later in the day, I drew the short straw by default and not much of anything was left available. Nobody’s fault but mine, so I had to wear it. I griped about seniority but it didn’t help, so I sucked it up and looked to see what else was available.
I managed to find another older guy in a suite without a roommate. He snores like a dragon and no one wanted to room with him (which explains his lack of an eager roomie candidate).
I wanted a suite, so I took my chances. I know this guy, and I know his potential to rattle the walls, practically shaking the foundation of the building. I also know that for some strange reason people who snore always fall asleep faster then those who don’t. It’s like some cruel joke. This guy is also one of the guys who falls asleep fast and does not wake once he’s down for the night. I could already see myself waking up angry and launching something, anything, at him to shut him up so I could get some sleep. I am a light sleeper so I pretty much committed sleep suicide when I decided to room with him.
He was out when I put my bags in the room. I unpacked, watched some tube, then walked the half-mile stretch of road to an area with restaurants for some dinner (Subway). On the walk back I ran into the Aussies (Australian players in the Padres organization).
I like hanging out with them because they have a different perspective on things than we locals do. They were heading to the Panda Express so I tagged along for some company.
As we chowed down, the Australians complained how cold it was. It was about 50 degrees out and, since I had just came from a northern Ohio winter, I told them to quit whining. They said it was 110 back in Australia and this was just unbearable. I told them that two weeks ago I was buried under 26 inches of snow. They said two weeks ago they were surfing at a sun drenched beach.
That area of Phoenix must have a lot of middle schools around because the place was bursting with young, obnoxious teens. They were all trying to act older then what they really were. Most of them were wearing stuff MAXIM magazine girls wouldn’t wear. All these mouthy little teens dressed way too promiscuously for their age (oh man, I sound like my grandparents!). I wanted to yell at their parents for letting them go out like that. Then we started counting how many kids looked 14 and were smoking. I think we noticed around seven or so.
I told the Kangaroo boys that Ohio, aside from being way cooler than Australia (they knew I was joking), was now smoke free. They said that almost all of Australia was smoke free. In fact, in Australia if you are caught smoking within 10 meters of a public gathering place you will get fined on the spot. I said, wow, point Australia. Anyway, they apparently hate smoking over there. I didn’t expect that from a country whose beer is twice as strong as ours and loves a sport were people ritualistically beat the crap out of one another.
The cold got the better of the boys and so we headed back. My roomie was still out when I arrived. In preparation for his snoring, I dragged the matress of my bed into the front part of the suite (divided in two: a kitchen and a bedroom) and set up shop. About an hour after I went to bed, he came in. Since I was right by the door, he woke me up. He was pretty shocked to see the bed lying in the middle of the kitchen suite floor. I don’t think he liked my sleeping there. I explained I wasn’t taking any chances with his dragon-sized snoring.
He said he doesn’t snore. I asked him then how he got the reputation–widely acknowledged–as a snorer? He said he only snores when he drinks. I asked him if he had any drinks tonight? He said yes.
I said, “goodnight then.”