One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 14): Making It Back To The Mound

It had been over a month since I last pitched.

On June 23, I enjoyed pitching against Jersey City. Then, on June 25, I had my first visit with an orthopedist who did as I feared he would… he shut me down.

On June 25, my baseball season ended. On June 25, my softball seasons ended. And, on June 25, my hopes for running the 2019 New York City Marathon also ended.

The orthopedist looked at my swollen right ankle, the MRI that showed tears in the Achilles tendon, and his own X-Rays. He said, “This isn’t good, Paul.” The word “surgery” came up, but he also said, “I’m not ready to go there yet.” I think the thing that made him shut me down totally was when I could perform a simple exercise in his office – standing on just my right foot and going to “tippy toes.” When I couldn’t do that, it cinched the deal.

I was given a night brace, an anti-inflammatory prescription, and little hope.

I left the office with the brace, a discouraged countenance, and a follow-up appointment.

But all of that is old news.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 14): Making It Back To The Mound”

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One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 13) – The Doctor, The Bench, and an All-Star

This is the story I didn’t want to write…

***

Two days after I pitched on June 23, I had my first appointment with the orthopedist.  This doctor is very well known and very respected.  He took X-Rays, put me through a battery of small tests, he examined my legs, took careful note of my right Achilles, and, after all of that, said that my baseball season, my softball season, and my running season are all over.

I knew this was coming.

We all knew this was coming.

I just didn’t want to hear it.

I still don’t.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 13) – The Doctor, The Bench, and an All-Star”

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 12 – Game Four, The Story of a Catcher)

Well, I am the happiest 0-4 pitcher on the planet.

***

I pitched well enough, I guess. I gave up more than a few hard hit balls for loud hits, some of them long drives for extra bases. I also gave up some weak ground balls for hits. And a few bloopers also fell in.

On the other hand, some popups were dropped or missed altogether by the fielders behind me, a few grounders went under the infielders’ gloves, and a few would-be ground outs resulted in poor throws that instead netted no outs.

(And, to be fair, a couple of the loudly hit balls were caught by the fielders behind me. If nothing else, my pitching kept the team on its feet.)

In short, for much of the game, there were a lot of runners on the bases as I pitched.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 12 – Game Four, The Story of a Catcher)”

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 11 – Game Three)

The week leading to my third start was rainy and filled with more evening responsibilities that interrupted my throwing program, but, like in previous weeks, I was able to have a very special catch with a very special person.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 11 – Game Three)”

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story Part 10 – RAIN!

My third start of the season was scheduled for Sunday, May 5.  We were going to be back to Wright’s Field in Bloomfield to play a different team from the area. It seems that a few towns, Bloomfield being one of them, have more than one team in the league. I was looking forward to this opportunity to see if I could build off my modest success the week before.

This would also be my first chance to pitch in back-to-back weeks – a true test of whether or not my arm, and body was up to this challenge.

It wasn’t to be.

Rain, dreadful rain, washed away our chances to play.  

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story Part 10 – RAIN!”

“Scattering the Ashes” Preview & Excerpt (Coming October 22, 2019)

My first novel, Scattering The Ashes, will be published on October 22, 2019 by Artemesia Publishing and is now available for Pre-Order here.

This novel tells the fictional story of Sam Holmes as he struggles though the aftermath of losing his father and having the responsibility and obligation of fulfilling his late father’s final request.

Readers will become attached to Sam Holmes as he seeks to find himself in this trying period of his life. Initial reviews of the novel have been very positive.

Baseball is one (of many) themes that forms the framework of the story. Throughout this year, leading up to the book’s release, I will share excerpts from the novel here on these pages and on my Yankees site: www.startspreadingthenews.blog.

The following is an except from Chapter 5. In this scene, early in the novel before his father passes, Sam Homes awakes in pain the morning after his longest training run as he is preparing for his first marathon – the New York City Marathon. He is feeling doubtful about his abilities as a runner. Soon the prospect of a fictional encounter with two former baseball stars changes his outlook on the day…

***

(From Scattering The Ashes (2019, by Dr. Paul Semendinger, with permission from Artemesia Publishing)

The next morning, after I swung my legs out of bed, I realized I could barely stand.  The plantar fasciitis in my foot screamed with pain every time I put even a tiny bit of weight on it.  I had never felt such pain.  Have you ever stuck hot needles into the bottom of your foot?  I haven’t either, but it sure felt like I had.  In addition to this foot agony, everything else, especially the fronts of my thighs, seemed to ache.  I wondered if I had pushed my body further than it was able to handle.  Was twelve miles my limit?  Maybe I wasn’t built for a marathon.  Dr. Alfonzo, my chiropractor (who is also a miracle healer), advised me to always stretch before a hard run and also to always ice this injury after the effort.  Why didn’t I listen to his advice yesterday?

Continue reading ““Scattering the Ashes” Preview & Excerpt (Coming October 22, 2019)”

Being Santa Claus

(The other day, I went back into the archives of passages that I wrote to the teachers at my school.  I found this piece from 2009.  This brought back a lot of memories, and also, with them, the reminder to savor every single moment.  That little boy sitting on Santa’s lap is twenty years old.  I genuinely miss those wonderful moments from long ago…)

***

Each year I get a terrific honor.  I’m Santa Claus at our annual church fair.   For the better part of Friday evening, and on Saturday morning, I am Santa.  I’ve been doing this for a long time – since my kids were little.

When my kids were little and they talked to Santa, they didn’t know that the Santa they were talking to was me.  It was a very special time – priceless might be the word for it. I savor in those great memories. 

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I DID IT!

Well, I did it.

As I have shared, I was under-trained, a bit over weight, and unprepared for the race, but I knew I needed to do it. I’m still not fully recovered from the Achilles tear that kept me out of last year’s race. But all of that is now in the past.

At the Marathon Chapel at the start before the race, in one of the messages I delivered, I reminded the runners to trust God in their darkest moments on the course. I know I did.

I was toast by Mile 10. I had nothing left in the tank. But I pushed ever forward. Step-by-step all the way over the 26.2 miles to the glorious finish in Central Park.

Continue reading “I DID IT!”

Please Help Support a Great Cause!

My family has been struggling through the realities of cancer. Through this I have seen loved ones, especially my mother-in-law, exhibiting tremendous strength and character in the face of difficult news. Throughout all of this, the American Cancer Society has been a shining light – comprised of true miracle workers filled with kindness, support, and most of all, love. As I run the NYC Marathon on November 4, 2018, I would like to give back to this wonderful organization that does so much for so many. Thank you for your support.

Here is the link to my fundraising page: 

DR. SEM RUNS THE NYC MARATHON FOR THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY

Father and Son, College, Giancarlo Stanton, and Kit Kats

Earlier today, my wife and I brought our son Ethan (a big Yankees fan and the Design Manager and frequent contributor to this site) back to college for his sophomore year. 

I’m always a bit emotional and sad when I leave my kids at college.  A part of me always feels empty when I contemplate the weeks and months that they’ll be away.  I love when my sons are home, they make our home complete. 

I think the best part of my life is just being Dad. 

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