Follow Me Along the Way of Our Hawaiian Trip

**We will be squaring off against the Stars and Warriors for the next two weeks in the tropical climes of Hawaii, so I would like to essentially turn the blog into a mini travel blog to keep everyone updated on what we are doing on and off the field here.

I will try and post every day or two with a game update and some pictures from around the islands that Mark Twain famously described as, “The loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean”, so check back with me on here and on twitter to follow along on our Hawaiian Baseball adventure.**

The Journey

As anyone knows who has ventured across the Pacific Ocean to the Hawaiian Islands, it is quite a journey. The 4:30 AM wake up that accompanied the beginning of our journey surely helped to accentuate that point. The team met at the specified location, piled into our charter bus (along with our opponents, the Stars) and sleepily proceeded to the Oakland airport to board our 8:30 Hawaiian Airlines flight to Maui. I was already short on sleep from a dinner with a college teammate in San Francisco the night before, so after putting my phone in airplane mode and pressing play on one of the Adam Carolla Podcasts I had just downloaded it wasn’t long after take off that myself and the team were catching some Z’s.

I woke up with just a few minutes before touching down in Maui where we would wait another 3 hours to board a plane for another 30 minute ride and island hop over to the Big Island where our first series will be played. The second flight was great, either because it was short, or because we had two stewardesses that looked like Hawaiian goddesses, or because of the gorgeous views as we approached our destination. On second thought, it was probably all of the above. Here is the view we all saw when we managed to stop drooling over the stewardesses and look out the window…

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As you can see it was a gorgeous day and the team took advantage of the rest of the day we had by enjoying the local food and going for a swim in the ocean and hotel pool which are about 10 feet from each other. We were even visited by a little sea turtle that came right in next to the table we set up on the walkway between pool and ocean swimming hole. It was fun to have almost all the guys hanging out, listening to music, swimming, playing cards and pulling card tricks on each other.

The sun wasn’t as amicable this morning as I woke up to a soggy drizzle. Andrew Pevsner (@Pevysouthpaw32), Will Krasne (@Pinkpoloshorts) and I decided to brave the drizzle and walk over to the world famous Ken’s House of Pancakes and it was well worth it as I scarfed down macadamia nut topped pancakes with various tropical syrups to top it off. I would highly recommend grabbing a bite there if you ever come visit. We left stuffed and decided to take the long way back to the hotel in an attempt to explore our surroundings. We came upon one of the most gorgeous public parks we all agreed we have ever seen and happened upon a local fish market that I was momentarily enchanted by (there is something inexplicable about fish that captivates me)…

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The last leg of our exploration was drenched by a sudden heavy down pour that caused us to take an unplanned “morning job” back to the hotel since we were void of an umbrella and had to rely on the gargantuan Banyan Tree’s for cover from time to time.

It is almost time to catch the bus and head to the field. The sky has cleared up a bit and it looks almost certain that the rain that seems to be a fairly daily appearance here will not affect our game. Follow the game action HERE (let me know if this is the right place and if they are live updating or broadcasting please!) so you can very literally be on the bump with me(Gump) through all the action. Wish me luck!

Women Can’t Play Baseball…

…Or at least that is what, historically speaking, the establishment of baseball would have you believe. Eri Yoshida is taking that sentiment and shoving it up, the you know what, of baseball’s gender tradition (click for a short history on women in professional baseball) every day she shares the field with her team and gets on the bump.

I am all about being progressive and open minded and would like to publicly tip my cap to Eri for her efforts. The amount of courage it must take to be a young female athlete playing in, for all intents and purposes, a male sport, in a different country and against grown men that dwarf her in stature and in front of crowds that surely, at times, gawk at her, is extraordinary. It doesn’t just take courage though, it takes ability and she displays the athletic prowess and body control of a high level athlete with every carefully executed pitch. On top of that, the 20 year-old knuckleballer isn’t just existing and getting shelled, she is competing, sporting a respectable 3-2 record with a 3.90 ERA. Statistically speaking, it seems she is getting better with each start as well.

The true test of any players’ skill and personality is reflected in the way their teammates treat them, especially if they are a girl. If she were some side show that was easily dismissed as a non-competitive money making scheme, her teammates would more than likely not show her much respect and resent her for taking innings from other pitchers and sacrificing chances at winning every time she was on the field. In my observations, none of those sentiments exists within the Maui Na Koa Ikaika Warriors’ clubhouse and Eri has earned the respect of her entire team. This becomes apparent when you watch her perform, she is greeted by the players on the bench after every inning and she acknowledges every single defender after each inning she pitches. The team’s body language is generally that of a bunch of proud and protective older brothers when it comes to Eri, it is really cool to see even if you are in the opposing dugout.

There is certainly no denying the oddball curiosity that surrounds Eri as a female in a man’s sport. When she made her start here against your’s truly, our stadium was a standing room only circus with an excess of media, both Japanese and American, in attendance and an especially unusual amount of proud women were in the stands, drawing a clear gender line in the brick dust by rooting loudly against the home team when Eri was on the mound. It’s okay though, my feelings weren’t hurt…too much.

As I learned while writing this article, the history of women in professional baseball actually goes a ways back, but it is a thin history with very few figures contributing to the collection of its stories. This is another part of what makes Eri so special, she is one of the few, if not the only woman, currently adding to this history on the field. Thus every time she takes to the diamond, she is very literally rewriting the history books. In fact, in her first start against us, she earned the win which officially made her the winning-est female professional pitcher in the history of the Earth. That’s a pretty cool feather in the cap.

Her last start may have been her most impressive effort of the season as she went 7.2 innings, surrendering only 2 earned runs on 4 hits against the 2nd place Hilo Stars… and just like that, she not only strikes another cavernous dent in the case of those who scoff and laugh at the idea of a woman playing professional baseball with the men, but she laughs right back in their face as she continues to inscribe her name in professional baseball’s history books.

Get To Know Your Pacifics: Outfielder Steve Boggs

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I sat down with one of our outfielders, Steve Boggs, yesterday to do my second installment of “Get To Know Your Pacifics”. The right handed hitting outfielder is boasting a .329 batting average so far this season and has been hot at the plate as of late. Steve is an easy going guy that is pretty quiet and reserved by nature, but has an edgy and entertaining sense of humor when you really get to know him. As we sat in the grass down the first base line at Albert Park, our interview stayed pretty lighthearted as just about every question and answer was infused with breaks of laughter and dry wit. Here is what he had to say about San Rafael, Jeremy Lin, sports agents, being an internet celebrity and the San Diego Chargers.

B: Steven Capello Boggs, Thank you for letting me interview you first off.

S: I just want to say it’s a pleasure being here with you right now

B: How has your experience been here in San Rafael so far?

S: I love it up here, the people are great, really friendly. The whole area is great, good times and good people, you can’t go wrong.

B: You have 6 years of Indy ball and 3 years of affiliated ball under your belt, what has been your favorite place to play so far?

S: Definitely Chico, CA so far because there is so much to do up there, any given day or night after a game the town has something going on and people are out and about.

B: I heard you were the second coming of running back Ladanian Tomlinson back in high school down in San Diego. If you weren’t playing professional baseball or subsequently dominating the NFL, what would you be doing?

S: (After a pretty good laugh he responded while chuckling intermittently throughout his response) Uh I don’t really know. This is all I’ve got at the moment. I would probably be back in San Diego or with my girlfriend trying to make smart decisions.

B: Your father is a notable sports agent (John Boggs, represents All Star 1B Adrian Gonzalez). Have you met any other sports agents and if so, who is the grimiest you have met?

S: (Again laughing) Ah man, Yeah I have met a few. I’d have to go with Scott Boras. He (Boras) also represents one of the players on our team, Matt Durkin. I always give him a hard time for that.

B: Would you consider joining the family business after the baseball?

S: I don’t know yet, I am kind of getting pretty heavy pressure to go into the sports agent world, but as you mentioned, it can be a bit of a shady business at times, so we’ll have to see.

B: As a test of your knowledge and expertise of sports markets and contracts, would you sign NBA player Jeremy Lin to a 3 year $30 million contract like the Houston Rockets are reportedly pursuing at the moment?

S: (he responded with a laugh) No, I would not.

B: Alright, I wouldn’t either. So hailing from San Diego, what sports team do you root for since the Padres have been having a tough time in recent history and Los Angeles stole your beloved Clippers?

S: I’ve got to represent the Chargers man. The super Chargers are my team.

B: Any baseball team or other sports teams in particular beyond the Chargers?

S: Ever since I was released from my first affiliated team, I don’t really have an allegiance to any baseball team, unless they are paying me, I don’t really root for any of them.

B: I heard you were a huge internet sensation with your cameo in the “Tater Grip” (click link to see his part) TV commercial/internet video in which you starred alongside Adrian Gonzalez and masterfully delivered the line of the century. How has your life changed with the massive amounts of fame that the “Tater Grip” masterpiece has brought you?

S: Well, I can’t really say my life has changed at all from that video. That was my first and only acting gig I have ever had.

B: What is your favorite place to eat in San Rafael?

S: My hotel room when my roommate (Pacifics pitcher Matt Durkin) cooks for me is always good. Outside of that, Sol Food is pretty good and Miller’s Deli, that place is the best.

B: You are one of the few people in the world qualified to answer this next question. I am curious, with myself being a former outfielder, and I’m sure the fans want to know as well, what challenges come along with having a softball infield right in the middle of where you play in center field, does it change the way you have to play defense out there?

S: It was pretty weird at first, having a home plate behind me and a pitching rubber to worry about when I went back on balls, but to be honest I don’t even notice any more.

B: A few quick fire questions. Cats or Dogs?

S: Dogs.

B: Red Sox or Yankees?

S: Red Sox

B: Mustache or Beard?

S: I’m going to have to go mustache.

B: What song are you listening to over and over right now?

S: Eminence Front by The Who. It’s the Chargers kick off song, so it’s helping me get pumped for the season.

B: Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the Pacifics fans?

S: Keep hanging in there with us. Hopefully we keep putting together a solid campaign for the fans and city.

Thanks again to Steve for taking the time to hang out with me and answer some questions. It is awesome to have such a seasoned baseball and acting veteran to keep things running smoothly in the clubhouse and on the field.

See you at the park tonight where yours truly will take the bump against the world famous “Knuckleball Princess” at 7:30 at Albert Park. Get your tickets here!

The Fine Box

 

There exists in the land of the locker room an entity that is defined as much by its ability to self police and dole out infinite wisdom as it is by its knack for producing laughter and raising money for “a cause”.

This “entity” is what we call “The Fine Box”. The fine box is an unassuming little cardboard box that sits amongst the clutter of the clubhouse, hiding amongst the endless rolls of tape, bottles of sun block and piles of unclaimed laundry. Unlike the quick fix nature of tape and temporary protection of sun block, the fine box is full of lasting wisdom, laughter and lessons learned that will not soon be forgotten.

Here is what I mean. Whenever a teammates violates some kind of written or unwritten rule of baseball, the clubhouse, common sense, and/or team camaraderie, they get “put in the box”. Getting “put in the box” means your violation gets written on a small piece of paper and a small monetary fine is proposed along with it. Here are some semi-fictional examples, “Tom fines Larry $1 for tossing his bat to the dugout after the 3rd ball and running to 1st like he had walked already, 4 balls before a walk buddy”, “Jerry fines the groundskeeper $5 for accidentally putting a softball field in center field”, “John fines Rob $1 for wearing a beanie to try and look cool when it was 95 degrees outside”, “Lou fines Brad $2 for never buying any seeds and always bumming them off everyone else”, or “Bob fines Matt $2 for being in the clubhouse for the entire batting practice instead of helping shag because he was “stretching”‘. As you can see, it is a simple and playful way of keeping everyone in order and teaching lessons to teammates that may or may not know better.

How does it work you ask? Well, Most of the time, fines are usually kept to offenses that occur at the field, but every once in a while, off field occurrences are just too funny or ridiculous not to get put in the box. All is fair in the court of the fine box though. Much like our societies judicial system, just because you are charged with the crime, does not mean you are instantly guilty. Each defendant can fight the accusation and have a chance to explain himself. On the given day that all the fines are read and cases heard, there is a judge that oversees the process. The judge is usually one of the veterans. He reads each fine, then allows the accuser and defendant to state their cases to the jury of peers (which is usually hilarious). The defendant can either accept his fine or he can fight it and leave it to a team vote to decide who wins, the judge is the tie breaker if there happens to be a tie. If the accuser loses, he has to pay double the fine, if the defendant loses, he has to pay double the fine.

The money which is collected usually gets saved up throughout the year and is either donated, used to buy something for the clubhouse (like an ihome or ping pong table, etc), or given to the clubby to cover everyone’s dues, or used for some kind of team function at the end of the year, again this is voted on by the team. That is how the fine box works. Feel free to try it in your office or home, assuming no one takes it too seriously and gets their feelings hurt.

We have yet to hold our first court this year, but the fine box is filling up fast with laughable violations and lessons to be learned.

-BG

For Those Who Are Interested

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I know when I was in high school, I was dying to put on muscle in the weight room and learn how to train properly and effectively, I just didn’t know where to look to find this information. For those of you ball players (and non ball players who just like to feel good and workout) out there going through this right now, here is a great site to check out with all kinds of baseball related material by one of the best professional baseball trainers around, Eric Cressey. Our very own Pacifics pitcher, the flame thrower known as Will Krasne in the real world and @Pinkpoloshorts on Twitter (I’ve been meaning to ask him where he got that Twitter name from), trains with Cressey in the off season and his fastball that can run up around 94 MPH is proof that this guy builds baseball machines for a living. (I have always wanted to have the privilege of training with Eric Cressey, so I am pretty jealous that Krasne got to and will be picking his brain constantly about it)

I’ll just leave this here… Knowledge Dropped

I am recommitting to the smaller things that I sometimes gloss over at the gym like a proper warm-up routine and some corrective exercises that I have slacked on in the past few weeks. Join me in re-committing to your training routine and continuing to grow.

Keep filling up those stands, we love winning in front of a packed house.

Cheers

-BG

Get To Know Your Pacifics

From time to time, when we are out on the field or in the clubhouse before or after a game, I like to mess around and do fake interviews with my teammates to pass the time and have a little fun (yes, an imaginary microphone is usually present). In anticipation of this blog, I decided maybe I should start mixing in some real questions and writing down the answers so I could post interviews here to give the fans the opportunity to get to know the person behind the jersey of their favorite Pacifics ball player.

While we were sitting through our 3 hour layover in Honolulu, I decided to log my first interview while sitting in the airport begrudgingly watching NHRA drag racing in the only “sports/mai tai bar” I have ever seen.

The interviewee just happens to be former Dodger farmhand and TONIGHT’S starting pitcher, Andrew Pevsner (Twitter handle: @Pevysouthpaw32). Without further adieu, here is the conversation that transpired.

Brian Gump: “How has your transition from affiliated ball (Dodgers) to independent ball gone so far?”

Andrew Pevsner: “It’s been great. In affiliated ball you get treated like you’re a number, so far here in Indy ball they have really taken care of us. The support of the community has been fantastic and the excitement coming from the community has been infectious.”

BG: “What are some positives and negatives from your experience so far?”

AP: “Positives are; it’s a great place to play, we have a great manager and the team has really started to come together. Our chemistry is great, they are a lot of fun to be around.

Negatives; I was born and raised bleeding Dodger Blue so living in San Francisco is rough, I get nauseous every time I see burnt orange and black, I’ve been having to eat a lot of pepto bismal.”

BG: “Is there any part of your game in particular that you are focusing on while with the Pacifics?”

AP: “I’m working on doing a better job of holding runners as a lefty. Also, starting is something I haven’t done a lot of in the past few years, so learning how to be starter is something that I hope makes me more valuable as a player.”

BG: “If you weren’t playing professional baseball, what would your dream job be?”

AP: “I love trading and entrepreneurship, so instead of being a broke baseball player, I probably would be a hungry, starving entrepreneur working tirelessly on a different dream.”

BG: “In your career, what has been you favorite place that you have lived in and visited? Why?”

AP: “Lived in: Home (Los Angeles) because that’s where my mom’s cooking is.

Visited: Maui, because they keep Maui in Hawaii.”

BG: “What is your favorite place to eat in San Rafael so far?”

AP: “Toss up between Sol Food and Miller’s Deli. As much as I love Latin food, it’s against my Jewish DNA to pick something other than great fresh rye bread.”

BG: “It is rumored that you know Johnny Hopkins, is there any truth to that(Pevsner attended THE Johns Hopkins University)?”

AP: “Yes, I used to hang out with him and Sloan-Kettering.”

BG: “Residing from LA, how do you feel about the Kings recent Stanley Cup victory?”

AP: “I hate all the bandwagoners that jumped on really late. I myself have been on the bandwagon since after the first playoff series, so all the other fair weather fans really irk me. But in all seriousness, I think it’s great for the team and the city and I have more respect for hockey players than any other athlete. “

BG: “Heat or Thunder?”

AP: “Rooting for OKC. I love underdogs and if you ever see me rooting for someone who says they are going to win at least 7 titles, you’ll know I’m being possessed by a Goliath demon”

BG: “If you could say one thing to the outstanding fans of our team, the Pacifics, what would it be?”

AP: “Thank you for the incredible welcome to your city and the support thus far. Keep coming out. I hope we can continue to provide entertainment and be a really positive influence in the community.

Ps – please make sure your kids look up to and idolize entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers at least as much as they look up to ball players. “

Now that you know him a little better, come out and watch his talents on full display tonight as we look to gain ground on the rest of the league with another win tonight behind his efforts.

Pevs, as we call him, has become a good friend and is pleasure to be around and learn from (as a fellow lefty who has much more pitching experience than myself, he along with the rest of the staff have been very helpful in offering up as much knowledge as they can to me which I greatly appreciate). Do yourself a favor and talk to him sometime when you’re out at the park.

SEE YOU TONIGHT!

-BG

Welcome To My Domain

Hello Pacifics fans, Marin Citizens, Bay Area inhabitants and baseball junkies,

Welcome to my blog! This will be a meandering, mesmerizing and maybe even exercising adventure for myself as well as you the reader. I am looking forward to bringing as many fans along with me on this ride through professional baseball by touching on all aspects of my experience here in San Rafael, from my own performance and growth, to my teammates and their personalities, to our travel experiences, to our workouts, to the local eateries that I fancy (I love good food and thankfully there seems to be an abundance of great eateries around here), and anything else that you want to know about that comes along with being a pro ball player. This is my little space to tell stories, share cool things (baseball and non baseball related), expand your world and hopefully you expand mine, to reach out, and most of all, to have fun. Just like this site would be if it were in print, I’m an open book, er..periodical, so get at me.

So lets get to know each other real quick.

Here is my short bio

Here is my personal blog that if you so choose you can visit to catch you up on my journey that got me to exactly where I am now. Briangump.blogspot.com.

Here is my Twitter page if you are a member of the “Twittersphere” and want to get REAL interactive. https://twitter.com/#!/BrianDGump

Well, now that you know a little bit about me, I look forward to meeting all of you, in the community, at the gym, or out at the ball park. Come say hi, I’m not as menacing as my fiery red hair might look, in fact I’m not menacing at all, unless I’m on the mound, then don’t talk to me because it’s business time.

Feel free to comment and tweet me, I am pretty good about getting back to YOU.

Thank you for finding my page and taking the time to look around, this might be your first time here, but hopefully if I do it right, not your last.

Cheers,

Brian Gump