Beede Spurns Blue Jays

Ever since the debacle that was Matt Harrington, I’ve been fascinated with baseball players who decide not to sign after being selected in the first round of the MLB draft. So in 2011 when Tyler Beede decided to attend Vanderbilt over signing with the Blue Jays, it instantly piqued my interest and I started to follow his career. Opting not to sign as any draft pick, let alone one selected in the first round, comes with many risks. See Matt Harrington, and even more recently Brady Aiken. Beede gambled on himself, his ability, and his health during his three years with the Commadores; but his gamble paid off.

Beede would have a stellar career at Vandy which led to the San Francisco Giants to select him with the 14th pick overall pick of the 2014 draft. This selection would actually be higher than when the Jays selected him in 2011. Beede’s career was a mixed bag between 2014-2017 when he earned his first promotion to Triple-A Sacramento. There were some setbacks in those first few years but he continued to progress steadily through the Giants’ minor league system.

Beede would start 2018 in Sacramento for his first full season in Triple-A. Although he would make his major league debut, 2018 was nothing short of a nightmare for Tyler. After two starts with the Giants, Beede was sent back to Sacramento and relegated to the bullpen. Tyler’s new role suited him well. His second half showed much more promise as he was used in the middle innings by manager Dave Brundage as a stopper. Beede had appeared to
make a slight adjustment to his delivery and revamped his arsenal. The transition to the bullpen looked like a success. The changes and newfound confidence looked like the Giants had found his niche for 2019 and beyond.

When Opening Day 2019 rolled around, Beede was back in Sacramento and in the starting rotation; he would dominate the Pacific Coast League. Beede’s eventual return to the Giants was disastrous and he would last less than two innings against the Reds. Tyler would go up and down between Sacramento and San Francisco the remainder of the season with mixed outings for the Giants, and continue to dominate the River Cats in Triple-A. Beede would eventually earn his first Major League win on June 17, 2019 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This was bittersweet for me as I was so excited for Tyler, but I’m also a Dodgers fan.

I was lucky enough to be on hand to see Beede’s final outing of 2019. Beede got the ball on a beautiful sunny afternoon in San Francisco against Nolan Arenado and the Colorado Rockies. It was a big weekend for the San Francisco Giants as they were honoring Bruce Brochy’s retirement at the end of the season. Tyler would make it memorable as he was literally perfect that day.


The dominance he had shown in Sacramento, and the reason he was a two-time first round pick was on full display for all to see; unfortunately something happened after one pitch to Trevor Story to start the fifth. Beede would be pulled from the game because he felt some discomfort. He would later say that it was a precautionary measure, and that with a little rest he would be ready to go for 2020. The Giants had a star who was ready to shine.

The stars were not aligned for Beede in 2020. He would suffer from a strained UCL and a strained flexor in Spring Training. He is potentially looking at Tommy John surgery and will visit Dr. Neal Elattrache on Monday March 9th. 2020 is all but done for Beede; he will return in 2021 at the age of 28 in hopes to regain the dominance he showed in 2019.

Cheers Tyler, you got this!

And now we wait….

It’s the Most Exciting Time Of Year.

If your mind went anywhere other than pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training then there is still hope if your next thought was realizing it’s baseball season again!

Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks because spring games have begun in Arizona and Florida. Prospects are getting their first taste of big league camp, vets holding on for one more year, and everyone else who isn’t named Mike Trout or Garrit Cole trying to remain relevant enough to stay employed somehow, somewhere. Young stars like Washington’s Juan Soto even recognize that this is a new season and world series, heroics aside, he was signed to
be replaced.

Playing professional baseball is hard. The few who have the luxury to do so and succeed are athletically gifted, extremely driven, and focused. Having just the opportunity to play this game for a living is a dream of many, including myself, but it’s far from just fun and games.

I have been fortunate enough to cover the Sacramento River Cats day in and day out the past two seasons, and have gotten to know a handful of players along the way. One of the things I took away from these encounters was how normal many of these players’ lives are during the season. The money at the Triple-A level isn’t horrible, but most of these guys aren’t making the millions or even hundreds of thousands of dollars many assume that they do. Yes there are some “Bonus Babies” out there that allow some to indulge from time to time, but the reality is that most are just young men doing their jobs, enjoying themselves when they can, and then going “home” at the end of the long day like the rest of the world.


Players are pulled in so many directions simply for being a professional athlete, that it’s difficult to open up easily to others and it’s mentally and physically draining just to be in the public eye. How difficult it must be to try and figure out someones intentions and if they just want to use you. I even recognize as a writer and photographer that in some way, I’m using them too. Over time though we each get to see the person behind the mask or the lens, and that’s how the magic happens and the story develops.


The original concept of my book was to write a retrospective of the Sacramento River Cats as their 20th season approached. I had an outline of what I wanted the book to look like. I reached out to past players, including Sacramento’s first superstar Barry Zito, and asked them to share their memories about their time in Sacramento. I knew exactly what my plan was, but even the best laid plans of mice and men…


The 2019 season unfolded exactly like I dreamed but never how I expected. Part way through the season I slammed the brakes to the story I was writing, for the story taking place right before my eyes. 2019 was a magical year so I don’t know how much I planned in 2017/2018 will end up in the final book as real life is filled with uncertainty.


The plan was to release my book in the spring of 2020 to coincide with the new season, but life happens, and I’ve been forced to lay this book down for a few months. What is a personal nightmare may have just become a blessing in disguise for my story. I had been so caught up in editing that I lost track of what I wanted to do, and that was to write a piece that captures the excitement that River Cats baseball has provided for 20 years.


I hope you enjoy this blog as I handle life’s hiccups and finalize “Let’s Get It All.”

Introduction

I’m passionate about baseball. It’s in my blood. As far back as I could remember, I wanted to play baseball. Before I ever owned my own bat, I used to saw off the handles of broomsticks and hit rocks in the fields behind our home. There were electrical wires running across a small canal, and if I could hit the rock over them, it was a homerun. This was before we talked about launch angles so let me tell you, its pretty hard to elevate a rock about the size of a shooter marble 40 feet in the air, when you’re about 100 feet away and using a broomstick. Yes, baseball is my passion but I never dreamed of writing a book or blogging about it, yet here I am, with a concept born of frustration in the Summer of 2017.

My life is somewhere between Charlie Brown and Homer Simpson.