See also: Previous Dirk Hayhurst Diary
Dirk Hayhurst is a 26-year-old righthanded reliever in the Padres system who has spent parts of three seasons at high Class A Lake Elsinore.
Though he made it all the way to Triple-A Portland last season, Hayhurst began this year back with the Storm, officially making him a California League veteran.
But after going 0-1, 1.80 at the Lake, Hayhurst was promoted to Double-A San Antonio in early May, where he is currently 1-0, 3.38 over his first four appearances.
The 2003 eighth-round pick out of Kent State is writing a diary for Baseball America this season, delving into the side of the minor leagues fans seldom see.
When new equipment shows up at your locker, it’s a happy feeling. You’re getting some sweet new gear.
The brown box with your name on it is like an early Christmas present. What could be inside? New cleats? New bats? Maybe it’s a ridiculously over-priced new glove with your name misspelled on it in pretty red cursive stitching?
Or maybe it’s a pair of speed-enhancing high tech underwear that looks cool in the catalogue but ridiculous on you?
I’ll tell you what it is. Unnecessary attention, that’s what. You aren’t the only guy in that clubhouse that saw that package nestle itself comfortably atop your changing stool. Everybody wants to know what it is too.
In fact, some of the guys who got into the clubhouse before you have already read the label to make sure the clubbie didn’t mistakenly put that proud brown package in front of your locker when it was actually meant for them.
I’ll bet they have picked that box up, flipped, turned, and even shaken it in an attempt to learn its contents.
The problem with getting a package of equipment goodies is this: while you open it, you will have a crowd of guys hovering over you to see what you got. Then, exactly five seconds after you have played with your new toy, someone else will ask if they can give it a test drive. And no, they aren’t really asking, it’s just something they feel obligated to say as they grab it out of your hand.
If it’s a batch of new bats, complete with your name on it and everything, you’ll get maybe a half swing in before a teammate has one of the others in hand. It doesn’t matter if your name is on it. It doesn’t even matter if the guy swinging it has the EXACT SAME BAT. He has to inspect it. Has to see if the company got this batch right or if they are in some way better because you got them and not him.
He’ll take your bat, get into his stance, size up an imaginary pitcher and take half cuts imagining line drives in the gaps. Then he’ll hold it out in front of him like Conan would a new sword, furrow his brow, curl his lip, sigh with a slight head nod and just when you though he was going to give it back . . . He’ll hand it to the next guy in line.
If you should happen to get new cleats . . . well, I have my own bad experiences with this issue. If you got a new cup no one could care less, but cleats are shoes, and shoes get noticed. Bad or good.
We love our flashy cleats. They’re the one thing that can reflect your personality on the field other then pant legs up or down. Most gloves are the same style with the exception of maybe the pocket, but beyond that everyone else is wearing the same thing you are.
Except for your cleats. Cleats get noticed, but oddly enough, only by your teammates.
See, people don’t show up to games and say “Wow he hit really well today, but what’s up with those hideous shoes?”
No one says that. At least not to my face. But that doesn’t mean we players don’t act like that’s what people are saying. And it all starts when they show up at your locker.
If you wear ugly cleats, you will hear about it. How do I know this? Because I wear some ugly freaking cleats. I won’t tell you the name because I am currently getting them for free and I like it that way, but take my word for it, they are bad. They have built in pitching toes that look like tire treads.
Actually they are very comfy, which is why I like them. I want to be comfortable in a shoe I have to wear all day–it’s just common sense.
That makes no difference. Cleats might as well be hanging in an art gallery somewhere because they get criticized for looks more then anything else. And if they are ugly, you inherit that criticism. If you open that brown present box to a pair of fugly Diamond-Lord-Air-Force-5000-whatevers that even Ronald McDonald wouldn’t wear, just quietly close the lid and send them back.
Say they didn’t fit, or that it was the wrong order. Anything. Just don’t put them on in front of your teammates. Because if they find their way on your foot the laughs will not cease for the rest of the season. Trust me.
If it’s a new glove, well, this is my personal pet peeve. If you are like me, then you also hate it when other players put their hand in your glove.
This is a whole issue in of itself. The fine art of handling someone else’s glove is like taking someone else’s wife out for a date. Pure awkwardness.
Don’t ask me how, but somewhere a long the line, putting your hand in another man’s glove became synonymous with marital infidelity. It can really get some folks worked up.
So we have rules. You can’t stick your hand all the way into the other player’s glove, just far enough to imagine what it would be like all the way on your hand. Its important to know some guys don’t put their fingers into “proper corresponding” glove finger slots, so impromptu rules like two in the pinky slot may be introduced.
It’s also rude to bend or crease the glove, or flatten it against your thigh. Basically its wrong to try and make another man’s glove fit like your glove–its a respect thing.
The glove I use now is so ragged that I could catch, paint, and wipe up motor oil with it, but I still don’t want some one else handling it like it’s theirs.
This all being said, when a new glove shows up, suddenly you’re in a room full of 24 other would-be suiters to your new mitt. All of them, even if they have the same glove, are anxiously awaiting to cram their hand in yours, stretch it out, smack it against their leg, curl the sides, and flip it back to you even if you ask them not to. There is like some physical law that propels other players to do it.
Nothing–absolutely nothing–is private in a clubhouse.
I’ll catch up with you all next week. Thanks for all your e-mails keep ’em coming!
E-mail questions to Dirk at firstname.lastname@example.org.