At the Raceway Park – Day one

Updated: February 23, 2016

At the Raceway Park
Day one

“Good morning, this is your 3:15 AM wake up call. Hope you have a great day, oh, and good luck today.” says the woman’s voice in an ever so gentle and sweet manor. He slowly swings his legs out and sits on the edge of the bed. Sitting up straight he extends his arms out one by one straight out in front of him. Rotating each wrist and elbow then drawing an arm in and across towards his chest, holding in tight with the other hand at his elbow … then the other. Arms now at his sides holding the edge of the bed he stretches his back slowly by arching backwards. Now he leans forward slowly until his chin can reach his knees. Scooting further to the edge of the bed he extends each leg straight out and reaches for his calves and holding this position for a moment until he feels his leg muscles warm. Now time for his first shower of the day. With the water temp set he enters the shower and immediately immerses his sleepy face in the warm water. He reaches for the bottle of Head and Shoulders that has been placed for him the night before. While washing he mentally reviews his plans for the day.

After his shower he makes his way to the front desk for bowl of fruit, a Dannon high protein yogurt, and 2 medium size towels that should be waiting for him, then proceed to the fitness room. He climbs atop the stationary bike, lays the towels on handle and sets the timer for thirty five minutes. He begins his warm up routine slowly so he can pour the yogurt over the fruit and begin to eat his breakfast. “Wait,” he thinks to himself “I forgot the water. Can’t work out without water. Oh man, this is gonna suck!!!” Finishing his session in the fitness room, he proceeds back to the front desk, takes the bottle of water he had forgotten earlier, and confirms that the hotel airport car will be ready in fifteen minutes to take him to Raceway Park.

He chugs the water while heading back to his room for his duffle bag and backpack, which he packed the night before and lay waiting for this moment. Getting to his room, he slides his key card through the electronic reader but nothing happens. He tries again and still no green light that signals when the door is unlocked. “Seriously?” he blurts out quietly, and then he turns to head back to the front desk. Thinking aloud “WTF!!! Why today? We can’t do this today! Today must be perfect, no roadblocks, no speed bumps, no troubles … not today!” He gets to the desk in disgust and hurriedly explains the situation to the clerk. The card machine is offline right now so she must escort him back to his room quickly with her master key card in hand. She lets him in and rushes back to her post at the front desk – can’t leave it unmanned. He slings his backpack over a shoulder and grabs his bag. Rushing back to the front he can see the airport car arrive at the front entrance. He doesn’t stop at the desk, just rushes out the door to the awaiting car. Taking his place in the back seat trying to relax, he mumbles “I hope that was it – that was more than enough drama for my day.” The driver over hears his words and cordially welcomes his passenger, assuring him that his ride will be without incident.

The man in back grips his bag tightly as he stares out the window. Suddenly there is a thump thump thump and the driver has to pull off the road. A flat tire. “What else … what else can go wrong today? Why today of all days …why?” says the man in back. The driver gets out and assures his passenger that this will only take a few minutes to remedy. He opens the truck to get the spare tire and jack, but the tire is not there. He immediately calls the hotel to have the other car come for the man, but the other car is out on call right now. He leans back into the car to break the bad news to his passenger. “Sir, the good news is that your game isn’t until 3 PM today, I am sorry to report that we are stuck here until service or the other car arrives. “Is there anything I can do for you sir?” “Yes,” says the man in back, “please get manager Bob Arnold on the phone for me.”

The driver calls back to the hotel front desk, asks the woman to conference him with the Thoroughbred’s manager. When the call is connected he hand the phone to his passenger. “Mr. Arnold, we seem have a dilemma today.” the man says. “I am way behind schedule and have no idea when I will be arriving at the park today. Is there any chance we can skip my turn?” Bob replies, “Carlos, relax. It’s only 8:30. There is still six hours before game time. It will be fine … YOU WILL BE OK. When you get here I will have the entire training staff give you their full attention to get you ready.”

Carlos arrived at the park around 9:45 AM. Training staff meet him and no other issues arise during or after the preparation. At 2:20 PM it is time to get dressed … 2:40 warm ups in the bull pen, and 3:00 he takes the mound for the first time.. The announcer bellows out asking for a big welcome for Carlos ‘Slayer’ Fernandez. The crowd of 54,579 goes nuts with the excitement of a new season, big hopes of a playoff push, and a big arm to lead them. Unfortunately for them, Carlos did not have it today. He lasted only 90 pitches in 4.1 innings, giving up 11 hits and 6 earned runs while walking 2 and striking out 6. Slayer’s day was doomed from the start, and the 9 to 0 shellacking capped it off.