11/20/09

Dreams of Winning A World Series

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I can remember when I first started to dream about playing professional baseball and wearing a Major League uniform in front of thousands of fans and millions of television viewers. I was about 12 years old and I had traveled with a team down to Cooperstown, NY, for a baseball tournament. During that week while I was there with my father and my team, I had the opportunity of walking through the baseball Hall of Fame. I wish I could recall the experience in depth, but as time goes by I find that my detailed description isn't quite the same. What I do remember is seeing a huge baseball bat and riding down an escalator into the actual exhibit of former greats.

I was interested in Sandy Koufax in those days. He was a little left-hander like myself with an unbelievable fastball and curveball. At that time, I didn't have any idea that I would throw as hard as 95mph, nor did I know that I was going to run into Bob Welch while temporarily with the Dodgers organization in 2005 and learn a filthy curveball. Walking around the Hall of Fame in 1996 made me start to dream. I started to dream about being older one day and standing in front of the podium during an induction ceremony and seeing thousands of fans standing and anticipating what I had to say about the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

At 12 years old, I was dreaming about the Hall of Fame. That's cute right. Well, nevertheless, I pursued getting to the Major Leagues and making that dream come true. Pitching seemed like the way to do it. Back then, I wasn't really known as a hard thrower. I had two cousins, Matthew and Charles Merricks, who people in my community really respected in the sports world, but I was just the little cousin.

I must say that I would have never made it as far as I have if it wasn't for the love, care, and attention of my father, Ronnie Merricks. My dad was more than a dedicated parent to the well being of his son pursuing his dream. He is still that dedicated individual who has taught me to stop at no cost of making your dreams come true. The place that I always envisioned myself playing was in the city of San Francisco for the Giants. I would dream at night of throwing my glove in the air in a game 7 World Series win, like I am sure most young men interested in this game have done, and I could see my parents and my family in the stands ecstatic to see that we finally did it. We finally pulled off the ultimate win.

Is that dream over? To be honest with you, my optimism tells me that the dream does not have to die. That it is still within my grasp. But sometimes, looking back at 6 seasons and 75 professional innings pitched, it doesn't seem like it is within reach at all.

I enrolled at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for Motion Picture/Television in pursuit of a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the field of screenwriting. That may change as time goes by but writing has always been a lifelong dream too and I am looking forward to the 2010 spring semester which will start in February and end on May 22. I have decided that if it makes sense, I will find an independent team to play for who needs a starting pitcher, and if it works out that way, hopefully I can get more than 50 plus innings for the first time in my professional career. I will be 26 on the 23rd of December this year, and the time doesn't seem to be moving any slower. I realize that it isn't just about my dreams anymore. My son Aiden is here too, and I have the same responsibility my father had with me to help him pursue and achieve his passions.

Probably one of the main reasons I have enrolled in school in San Francisco is so that I can get close to that field that I have dreamed about playing on. At least, to be within a couple of miles of the location where I would visualize winning the World Series, is still possible. And if my chances of standing on the field as a player to win one has faded away, I can still play ball with my friends on the weekends and experience the true joy of what baseball is all about.

I want to add that I have had an incredible experience in moving forward to get as far as I have in this game. It has been a voyage that has taught me a lot about a game and life. This has been a priceless experience that I will be able to share with lots of youth who are pursuing the same dream. And yes, the dream is within reach for those who never stop dreaming.

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