Player Journal: Hardwired to Biscuits baseball

Abundance of 'tomorrows' makes a difficult game easier

(Montgomery Biscuits)

July 18, 2007 5:12 AM ET

Fernando Perez, an outfield prospect in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization, led all of Minor League baseball with 123 runs scored in 2006. En route to being named the Visalia Oaks' Player of the Year, the Columbia University product shared the California League lead with nine triples, ranked third with 168 hits, fourth in on-base percentage (.398) and stolen bases (33) and 10th with a .307 batting average.

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If someone asked me how I was doing during the season, it's likely that my answer will be affected some 75 percent by what's happening on the field. I am and have been becoming increasingly more hardwired to baseball and performance in general.

Right now the Biscuits are winning so everything's alright in my corner of the universe.

Admittedly, I can't help but feel somewhat affected by the way I've been playing myself. That isn't too crazy, I don't think. This is an individual game that is just organized in a team concept.

Besides, at some level you ought to consider your play, because your job stability is predicated not by the team's record, but by your record in contributing to the team. The team's success colors the workplace. Your own colors you.

If I'm a little off at the plate, I've been told, I'm a touch more cryptic and existential and I'm quicker to say something fit for a reggae music chorus, something with the words "alright" or "tomorrow."

The abundance of "tomorrows" is what makes a very difficult game easier. You're helping or you're hurting, and the only way you're neutral is if the team is winning. It's the only way you can appreciate the sort of day in which no balls are hit your way, and all you do is fly out to center and get hit in the butt with a curveball.

There's a sense of doom that sort of accompanies a team that's losing a lot sometime around the eighth inning, when the unlucky reliever walks the ninth and leadoff hitters to bring up the top of the lineup with nobody out. It sounds like "here we go again."

On the other hand, I've been privileged to be a part of some winning teams in the past few years, the type of teams that seem to win every close game, where a new person seems to do something thrilling each time the storyline calls for heroics.

With so many games, even a good team does a lot of losing, so while it can feel sometimes that your team will find a way to win so long as you show up, I can now almost indelibly count on losing by 10 sometime in the near future when you go a week without losing.

It happened tonight, and is transcribed in our world as a "wake-up call" and linked to any one of the throng of proverbs about not being able to win them all or looking for something positive to gain from a loss.

Losing stinks. It is tangibly less attractive than winning whether it actually smells or not, so we try to keep it out of the house as much as possible. Winning makes everything better for everybody. It's an easy thing to fight for.

I try to play well largely because it's irritating to play poorly. It's a spell, it's like a mild nausea.

The game is stuck to me in a sense, hits make me indelibly happier than line-drive outs, and high fives, though nerdy, are more fun than compulsory "quiet time" loss atonement in the locker room.

Tomorrow we get back on the bus to be the bad guys somewhere. I like the namelessness of it, might even shave a moustache.

I'm looking forward to seeing the 8-year-old kid with cotton candy pasted on to his face who screams obscenities at me as his dad pats him on the head. Best-case scenario is to steal some wins and to be that guy who the kid doesn't heckle on the last day of the road trip, who comes over at the end of the last game of the series with his father to ask you to autograph a baseball and their matching WWF T-shirts as if it hadn't been them screaming at you all week.

Fernando Perez is an outfield prospect in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization and a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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