New Opportunities

Well today was the craziest day of my baseball career, and I didn’t even end up doing any baseball related activity.  I went to my office this morning, same as I do every weekday during the off season, bag packed to make the trip across the city and hit after getting off work at 5 o’clock.  The morning was typically crazy, as our major trade show is tomorrow, so everything that can possibly go sideways, has.  I scrambled around trying to organize last second sample shipments, unloading Christmas items into our Sample Room, and then back into the warehouse.  I fired off NPIS (new product identification sheets) cards at a rate never seen before, printing and stapling the product pictures to their information sheets.  Everything seemed to be typically crazy, and then, shortly after I got back from my lunch break everything turned not so typically crazy.

I walked back into my office and had a text from my mom “Check ur email. Read about Padres prospects 2b…then catchers.”  Apparently she had found an article writing up all the guys in our organization and we were going to have a laugh over the fact that I was still listed as a second baseman in spite of the fact that I’d been working out at Instructs as a catcher.  When I opened my hotmail inbox I found not only her email address, but one from AJ Hinch, the assistant general manager of the Padres.  I opened his first figuring it was something important, it was the first time I’d ever gotten an email from that high in the front office.  His email asked me to call the GM Josh Byrnes, which I did immediately.  Apparently the club had tried to call my American phone number but being home in Toronto that phone was off, so email was the only way to get in touch with me.  Mr. Byrnes told me that I’d been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in a seven player deal.  He thanked me for working hard while with the Padres and wished me luck in my new organization.  He had nothing but positive things to say, and I was thankful that was the case.  He agreed to pass my Canadian phone number to the Rays front office so they could contact me later.

With one phone call that lasted under 10 minutes my life had been thrown a major curveball. I’m talking David Price, ALCS, 0-2 count in the 8th inning curveball.  I certainly wasn’t expecting to find out I’d been traded, I had just recently booked all my hotels en route to Arizona for Spring Training.  I sat back in my chair and took a huge deep breath trying to get some of my senses to come back to me.  I immediately called my mom’s cell phone and let her know.  My sister actually picked up the call so she broke the news to my mom.  I called my dad and told him the news, and then a few minutes later my agent, Blake, called me.  I was running back and forth between trade show preparation and this whirlwind that is being traded.  I went back to tagging Christmas samples for the show, scanning them into our inventory system and arranging them to be packed for the show.  I cleared the samples shelf by shelf until my phone rang and it was the Rays people calling.  I had a quick conversation with them during which we discussed both catching and playing the infield.  We discussed Spring Training briefly and they were incredibly welcoming to me, again, it was a very positive conversation.

I smiled as I put my phone back into my pocket and headed back to my job.  The afternoon was a struggle to keep focused as I was trying to keep the idea of being traded out of my mind.  All I wanted to do was sit down and look up who the deal included, what people were saying about it, who the Rays minor league affiliates were etc.  I felt as if I was in outer space, my body felt weightless, my mind felt empty and yet I had a million things swirling in my head.  The most difficult part of the day was ignoring the fact that my phone was buzzing every few seconds.  I really wanted to check it every time, but I knew I owed it to the company I work for at home to just bear down and get the stuff finished in the office.  When I had a free minute a couple of hours after hearing the news the first time I checked my phone.  Text messages from my teammates and friends flooded my inbox, my Twitter feed was overrun with hundreds of notifications from Tampa Bay Rays fans welcoming me to the organization, and my Facebook was slowly starting to light up with notifications as well.

It was absolutely incredible to read all of the messages, these coming from people that had never even seen me play!  They just saw my name, looked me up on Twitter and felt like welcoming me to the organization was the right thing to do.  I cannot thank those people enough, it was truly an incredible feeling.  I tried to favorite every Tweet that came in, to give a personal acknowledgment to each person that had taken the time to welcome me.  It was an absolutely crazy day, one that I will never forget.  It was such an insane flood of emotion both positive and negative that I couldn’t even begin to process it all until just a little while ago.

Finally, I want to thank the San Diego Padres.  Ever since I was a 3 year old kid playing ball on my grandparents front lawn I’ve wanted to be a professional baseball player.  In 2012 the San Diego Padres made an investment in me, and in my career allowing me to live out that dream in signing my first professional contract.  They’ve put me in a position to learn from some great coaches, and play every day for the season and a half I was with the organization.  I’ve met some awesome guys that have become lifelong friends.  I’ve met people in the cities I’ve played in that will also be friends long after my playing days are over.  To everyone in San Diego, Eugene, and Fort Wayne and all the people who work tirelessly at our complex in Peoria, Arizona, thank you for everything you’ve done for me.  I appreciate it all, it has been a blessing.

Now in the next few days I’ll find out the rest of the details of my report date etc with Tampa Bay.  Spring Training will be in Port Charlotte, Florida which is awesome considering my grandparents place in Florida is just over 2 hours away.  I am so excited to join the Rays organization, I’ve heard nothing but great things and if today was any indication the fan base truly loves their team.  What an exciting opportunity to continue chasing my childhood dream!GO Rays!

27 Comments

Great read! Rays fan here, welcome to org! You seem like the type of player the Rays are trying to acquire and build their orgnization on. All the best with the upcoming season! GO RAYS!

Thanks so much, I really appreciate all the support from Rays fans today…It’s been a crazy day, can’t wait to get on the field!

Welcome to the Rays! Good luck next season!!

Thanks a lot, I appreciate the warm welcome all the Rays fans have given me!

Dear MaXX

I ACNNOT TELL YOU HOW HAPPY YOU MADE ME WITH YOUR PHONE CALL

It will be easier and cheaper to get to Florida than California

Hope your good feeling will last and get you through these whirlwind thoughts

I love you and am so happy to be you Bubby

Thanks Bub, I’m really excited. It is actually a great opportunity, I’m very excited to get started!!

Welcome! Glad to have ya! :)

Thank you! I appreciate the warm welcome from all of the TB Rays fans!

Oops sorry about the double post. Derp. You can delete if you want. ;)

Welcome to Tampa with open arms. I’m sure its crazy all the sudden being a part of a new team in a new area but I’m sure the fanbase and the organization will help you feel welcome. I hope to see you in the Trop soon!

Thank you so much, I’m looking forward to it! Last time I was near the Trop it was an accident as I tried to find Blue Jays spring training as a young kid with my grandfather…Looking forward to getting to see the inside of the ballpark some day!

Welcome! You are going to love the Rays! Good luck in the next leg of your journey! Looking forward to seeing you at the Trop.

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Welcome to Tampa Bay! You will absolutely love playing for Joe Maddon, he’s such a unique baseball mind. Nice insight you give in the article above, being a Rays fan I will certainly start reading your blog!

Thanks, I appreciate it! I’m definitely looking forward to meeting the whole staff!

Maxx, Tampa is very excited to have you! I went back and read your previous blogs. Very insightful and interesting. (Especially the one on Puig). All the best to you and we’ll see you at spring training and then hopefully the Trop very soon.

It was something that I felt really needed to be talked about, seeing so many negative comments really got me thinking about the whole thing. It was fun learning all of that stuff through my trip to DR

I loved this blog. Baseball fans tend to forget that players are more than the stats on baseball reference or the scores on a scouting report. There are a lot of mixed emotions after a trade. You’re leaving a great organization that afforded you an opportunity, and now you are moving forward with another great org. I wish you well in 2014 and beyond, in baseball and in life. You might not know the answer, but imagine you MIGHT be starting 2014 with the A+ Charlotte Stone Crabs, right?

Yea we’re actually people too, which even as a player I sometimes forget…my first thought being around some of the big leaguers at ST last year wwas sort of “holy crap, these guys are really normal (and insanely good at baseball)” which was cool to sort of see from the inside. I haven’t got any idea where I’ll be playing, I think being a new guy it will be one of those come in and work hard type of deals, and just see where I land at the end of camp

Welcome to the Bay area and good luck, Maxx!!!!!

Thanks a lot!!

Another Rays fan checking in. Nice writing man. Obviously a man of multiple talents. Keep it up. I would love to keep reading about your experiences as your work your way up the system.

Bookmark the link then!! I try to post something every three or four days during the year, the offseason isn’t nearly as fun or exciting so it slows down a bit..thanks for reading!!

Great read! I really hope you enjoy it with the Rays. Watching them as a fan has shown me how much of a family they are throughout the organization. Also, it’s good to hear something positive about our fan base for once (: Welcome to the craziest, most fun, and most entertaining team out there!

I’m glad to be a part of it, there’s nothing as fun as playing for passionate baseball fans!! Thanks for the comment and for reading!

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