2014 Giants Fantasy Camp - Day 2; Let the Games Begin

Let me just start by saying that today was a blast!   It started good and got better.   

In prior years, the days each started with Kangaroo Court.   Anybody who got caught doing something wrong would get accused and given a chance to defend themselves.  The court was friendly to the prosecution and distainful of the defense.   Fines were levied freely and doubled if a defense was even offered.  The exact workings of Kangaroo Court are under a gag order, but I can share that it was always in good fun and the fines went to charity.

This year, no more Kangaroo Court.  Instead have some of the coaches get up and tell stories.   Marty Lurie from KNBR and amazing baseball historian was the Master of Ceremonies.   We heard from Vida Blue, Hobie Landrith along with a few others.   Each offered a story of their playing days.   Marty says that baseball stories connect the current generation to the great players of the past.  They create a shared sense of community and shared passion for the game.   I'm not going to retell them here because I couldn't do them justice.  There are some nice tidbits in last year's day 1 blog.  

One of the story tellers was Trevor Wilson who pitched for the Giants for 7 years starting in 1988.   In 1992 Trevor struck out three batters on 9 pitches becoming only the 27th pitcher in Major League history to record a perfect half-inning.   Something that Trevor said really hit me because it dovetails nicely with some of my thoughts on careers.     

A few times a year, I get the opportunity to go to our local high school and talk to kids who are interested in a career in engineering or computer science.  I really enjoy these talks and, based on the feedback from the students, they do as well.   During one of them this year, a student asked when I knew that I wanted to be a programmer.   I told the story of walking into the computer lab at Stanford (personal computers didn't exist), being enthralled and acing all my programming classes.   Then, I finally put into words something that has been a central part of my life.   From a career perspective, I was born to be a programmer.   

Finding a career, I told them, is figuring out what you do better than most other people.   Some people are great at math or physics, or are amazing artists, writers or musicians.   These skills may lead to obvious professions.   But, maybe you are a really good people person and are easy to be around, warm and gregarious.  Perhaps your career might take you into hospitality or sales.  Every student in the room is better at something than their neighbor.  My point is to get them to think about their own skills and explore what that may mean for a career.     

I wasn't thinking about baseball.       

Then Trevor Wilson got up and talked about a particularly tight game situation that he had to face as a pitcher.   You know the kind: bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, no outs and trying to protect a one run lead.  When asked if he was ok entering the game, he said, "of course", like it was the silliest question in the world.   After all, he said, "this is what I was born to do".   Of course, he got out of the inning and they won the game.

Trevor Wilson was born to pitch.  I think I'll tell this story next time I'm at the high school.

I was NOT born to pitch and you won't see any pictures from this week with me on the mound.   I'm ok with that, because I'm pretty sure that Trevor is a crummy programmer!   

After the stories, we had team practices and then, in the afternoon, our first game.  What a blast.  No, we didn't win, but we had a good game.   Not much hitting, but our defense did a fine job.   We had an opportunity to try out some of our pitchers and everybody moved around nicely on the field to try different positions.  There are a lot of parallels between our level of play and 11-12 Little Leaguers.   They probably run faster than most of us, but we make up for our legs with a lot more situational awareness.  

I mentioned Andy Kuno, our camp photographer, in yesterday's post.   He just happened to be in the right place when a hard liner was hit to me at second.  I came down with the ball, threw to first and we had a double play.   This is an example of the magic that happens at camp that makes people come back year after year.  

By the way, in my mind's replay of this catch, I was at least 30" off the ground.   I guess pictures don't lie.  

Double Play Ball!  

Double Play Ball!