Thursday, July 5, 2007

Lefty pitcher/writer joins Royals

Welcome to the team, Sean Thompson. Recently designated for assignment by the Padres, the 24-year-old lefty became a Royal when this blog's hero, eager for fresh arms -- pitchers are never whole people, just arms -- claimed him off waivers on Tuesday. Considering how well the last San Diego reject has fared -- that's Joakim Soria, Dayton Moore's Papelbon -- this could turn out to be a steal. You want the ultimate irony? The Padres DFA'ed Thompson to make room on their 40-man roster for... drum roll, please... Milton Bradley. The trade's tentative, but the Thompson move is final. Yes, this is the same Milton Bradley that the Royals would have acquired had Bradley not hurt himself in the 11th hour.

Thompson, like Soria, will be converted to a reliever for now, hopefully fast-tracking him to the big-league club. Then again, we may never hear from him again. Thus is the life of a baseball prospect.

What else is part of that life, you ask? That's a very interesting question. Who could possibly divulge the secret life of ballplayers, enlighten us on those dust-filled days and Rusty Nail nights, deign to illuminate for we uninitiated the snake-charming allure of a game that keeps so many thousands on rickety buses through dirt-bare outbacks chasing a chance, or a dream?

How about Sean Thompson?

Apparently the man's a writer: for an entire year, he kept a journal for the Mad Friars website, part of the network, writing about his family, his teammates, a near-brawl, spring training, etc. I'm generally unimpressed by athlete blogs -- there are a few exceptions, like Curt Schilling's 38 Pitches and Paul Shirley's NBA blog, which he leveraged into a book deal -- but Thompson's seems genuinely... honest. That's something. Sure, he could use a copy editor, but then again, if he had one, it wouldn't really be his journal, would it?

Here's a glimpse of what I mean when I say it's honest -- from a March 29, 2005 entry, where Thompson writes about the experience of getting cut:

...I understand that real life or whatever is much harder and that our problems may seem miniscule to the norm, but as I said before if you readers want it, then you are going to get it.

Yes, its fun. Yes it's the time of ours lives, but when you get to the point where your number might be up, then it gets rough. I had to watch two of my good friends, teammates, take the long walk this past week. That means when I showed up at the ballpark, I stepped out of my car to find, a 25 year old man, crouched down in the worst position ever.

In tears.

H had just gotten released.

Yeah I know we all bitch about waking up early, and shagging batting practice all the time, but now my boys are sitting on the side, soggy eyed and left with the feeling that it's over. I'm sorry that this article isn't upbeat and exciting, but that's the way it is down here. Truthfully though, it's hard to see the things that have to happen down here. You can never take anything for granted, and always step on the field like it could be your last time.

And look, he has a sense of humor:

Hello again all -- Christmas week with me -- your favorite pitcher in the San Diego Padres system (unless you have family playing ball then second favorite)!

The only thing is, if you click on the "Email Sean Thompson" link, you get That makes sense. God forbid minor league baseball diarists get harassed by overzealous minor league fans.

Of course, Denise might be Thompson's Ibn Warraq. Now that'd be something.

POSTSCRIPT: This is one of the funniest things I've read all week. The guys at Fire Joe Morgan every so often manage to top themselves.

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