Back to the real world for a bit


POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nearly five months have passed since I left Oahu for spring training in April, and now it is time to return home.

After 96 hard-fought games, a solid 56-40 record, and a season-long playoff hunt, the 2009 season is finished for the Southern Illinois Miners. The curtain has been drawn, the fat lady has sung, and all that's left is the airplane ride home to Honolulu.

I am back where my journey for the season began, hanging out in Sacramento, Calif., for a few days with my good buddy Darryl Arata before going back to Hawaii for the next seven months or so.

Longing for home is not hard to do, considering that I was born and raised in a tropical paradise. The more I travel, the more time I spend away from home, the more I really appreciate how lucky I am to be from Hawaii.

But from April until September each year, my work as a minor league pitching coach takes me away from home, and this year it delivered me to the cozy southern Illinois town of Marion.

All in all, it was a pretty good season. We did not advance as far as we had hoped, but we certainly gave it a good run. We tied with the Windy City Thunderbolts for the second and final wild-card spot in our league, and finished just a game behind the division champion River City Rascals. Our mark also had us just two games behind the Kalamazoo Kings, who boasted the best record in the league.

Unfortunately, the league tie-breaking procedures saw to it that we were not one of the four clubs to make the postseason, but it does not belittle the effort our guys made to get us into contention.

I taught a lot, and learned a lot, as I do each season, about both baseball and people. Each year brings the opportunity to meet two dozen young men. With players and coaches from Canada, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and all corners of the U.S., there is always something to learn from their lives and their experiences.

But now the time has come to return home. Back to a great life with my wonderful fiancee and our new puppy, which she bought while I was gone for the season. Back home to see my brother Gavan and his family, who have returned home after years away due to his military service.

Back to the real world and life without 12-hour bus trips, 4,500 screaming fans each night, the excitement that comes along with the possibility of witnessing history each and every night on the field. No more cheap motels, fast food, pregame batting practice and walk-off homers.

Until next season, that is.

Once again, thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read about my travels and experiences during the season. I continue to enjoy the opportunity to share my life in baseball with you all. As always, thanks for coming along for the ride.



Brendan Sagara, who played baseball for Leilehua and Hawaii-Hilo, was the pitching coach for the Southern Illinois Miners this season.