Mail call among the
I believe the saying goes that it's the simple things in life that make it worth living.
In this crazy, topsy-turvy world of minor league baseball, I often lose track of what day of the week it is, or what town we're in, or what time zone I'm in. With travel in the Northern League spanning from Indiana to Illinois to North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and three different cities in Canada, it should be no wonder that every time I call home I have to ask what day of the week it is.
Needless to say, the days here fly by very quickly during the season. Taking the time to do the simple things make us feel like we still have some semblance of control over our everyday lives.
The daily "down" time never really seems to provide enough hours to enjoy the time spent away from the ballpark. For me, getting up and working out, or going around town during the early afternoon, or stopping to get lunch somewhere, make me feel as though I was able to accomplish something that day before the 9-10 hours I often clock at the yard.
As we made the 430-mile drive back home to Gary, Ind., from St. Paul, Minn., I was really looking forward to a very simple pleasure. Getting mail.
After giving away a series finale to the St. Paul Saints in which we were unable to hold a late one-run lead, I was rather upset. After jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning, we made a series of baserunning, pitching and fielding miscues that ultimately cost us a shot at taking the four-game road series against the league's defending champions.
So instead of taking three wins onto our bus back to Gary, we had to settle for a series split.
With a projected 8 hours of drive time ahead of us, it seemed as though the trip grew a little bit longer with the loss on getaway day.
After about 2 hours of cooling off on the bus, I was finally able to clear my mind and look ahead to our series with the Schaumburg Flyers the next night and the arrival of two long-awaited packages in the mail.
If for no other reason, having a letter or a package waiting in your locker when you return from a tough road trip makes you feel pretty good because you feel like someone is thinking about you.
Over the years, I have had mail sent from a variety of sources. This year, one of the first pieces of mail I got was a letter from my 4-year-old nephew, Davan Sagara. My little buddy dictated a letter to my mom, who typed it out to mail to me. Davan added a few hand-made touches to complete the letter.
I also got a big box of snacks from my uncle Clifford Sagara and his family all the way from Mililani. What's left of the care package is in my locker and gets worked down a little more every day we're at home.
Earlier in the summer, my buddies Derick Kato and Rick Kuwahara hooked me up with some necessities to keep me going as well.
In past years, I got a lot of good eats from my aunty Elsie Hirayama and her family in Haleiwa, and my aunty Liane Hiramoto, who saw it necessary to keep me from losing too much weight during the season.
I get a curious white envelope about once every two weeks from my mom, but I don't get too excited about those. They're just my bills.
In this instance, I was waiting for a replacement cell phone from my carrier, and a box of stuff from my pal Darryl Arata in Sacramento.
Arriving back at our stadium, the 6,000-seat U.S. Steelyard, at 5:30 a.m., I'm not quite sure what I was more excited about, getting home in 6 1/2 hours instead of the scheduled 8, or the anticipation of having two boxes sitting in my locker.
As it turned out, I didn't get my packages until we returned to the park in the afternoon to prepare for our 7 p.m. game. But I got them both.
Our game that night against the Flyers didn't go quite as planned either, as we lost 7-2 at the hands of Schaumburg ace Matt Bailie. So after another hour or so of absorbing another tough loss, I got showered up, jumped into my summer loaner car and hurried home to program my new phone and enjoy the rest of my bounty.
I know I'm probably too old to be getting excited about stuff like this, but I also know that I need to remind myself to enjoy the little things in life.
Even the envelopes from mom.
Brendan Sagara, a former University of Hawaii-Hilo pitcher, is in his first season as pitching coach for the Gary Southshore Railcats.