May 13, 2011
My manager Hal Lanier, who was the NL Manager of the Year in 1986 for the Houston Astros. Then I had my very own “clubbie” fit me for my uniform. I then went to the clubhouse. The guys were great—very welcoming and cool w/ the idea of an amateur joining them for a day. Learned that the preferred method cleaning your spikes is using a spray-on bathroom cleaner like Scrubbing Bubbles. Who knew? Lots and lots of jokes all around. Everyone who introduced themselves thought I was the new guy that the team had signed earlier that day since “I looked like a ballplayer in uniform,” according to the pitching coach.
So down 0-2, I shortened my swing yet again. I was looking for a breaking ball, but got yet another outside fastball. I hit a decently hard grounder down the first base line. The 1B dove, fully extended, knocked it down, and threw it to the pitcher who was covering the bag. I was easily beaten by a few steps. (The guy operating the radar gun said that the last pitch was 90 mph, but stadium radar guns tend to run fast.)
But it felt great getting some good contact. For a moment, I had visions of a double down the line. My teammates estimated that had the grounder been a foot closer to the line (or if the 1B wasn’t playing so close to the line for some reason) that it would have scooted to the RF corner for extra bases.
I was inserted into right field in the top half of the 4th. Two lefties came up in the inning. One hit a gapper between me and the CF for a double. Then w/ two outs and a guy on second, the other lefty hit a single in between the 1B and 2B, right to me. The guy on second was running on contact b/c there were two outs, so I had zero chance of throwing him out at the plate. But I fielded it and threw to the correct cutoff guy so that the batter didn’t advance to second base. So no errors!
Baseball has played a key role in the most important parts of John Choe’s life.
His childhood involved mostly playing youth baseball, watching hundreds of Philadelphia Phillies losses on television, and speculating on baseball cards.
His future wife Katie uttered “I love baseball” to him on the first day that they met. This led to their first date (at Fenway Park) and eventually marriage and three baseball-loving kids.
His love of the numbers in baseball led him to his eventual career as a stock investor.
John played one game of minor league baseball for the Normal CornBelters, of the independent Frontier League, in 2011. He grounded out in his only at-bat and cleanly fielded the only ball hit to him in right field. (Yes, he hit the proper cutoff person and remembered to use a lot of clichés in the post-game interview.)
His love of the game has also led to other fun experiences. It has allowed him to meet fascinating people such as Bill James, Michael Lewis, Billy Beane, Evan Katz, and Dave Gilbertson. John also worked as a pro bono consultant for The Red Sox Foundation for years.
John and his family live in Jamaica Plain, MA and they are all proud to be a part of the wonderful Regan Youth League. John currently coaches two separate youth baseball teams, including an all-girls team called the Boston Slammers. He also teaches baseball analytics to kids in Jamaica Plain and considers himself an emerging ballhawk (24 balls and counting). To his wife’s chagrin, all of the books he reads nowadays are about baseball.
He has loved baseball his entire life (and thankfully the game has loved him back).
Let’s Play Two!