Journal: Maxwell, Javs all abuzz
Javelinas, China interrupted by swarm of bees on Monday
Justin Maxwell exploded onto the scene in his second pro season, nearly reaching the 30-30 plateau between Class A Hagerstown and Class A Advanced Potomac. He then impressed at the Major League level, hitting .304 with a pair of homers and five RBIs in 14 games for Washington. Maxwell, who turned down the chance to attend Harvard in order to play baseball at Maryland, is with the Peoria Javelinas.
Hey baseball fans. It's Justin Maxwell coming to you once again from the Arizona Fall League. Last week was an exciting week. Our team has been playing well and some of the quiet bats are starting to come alive. It's so much better to win. I'm a very competitive person, I can honestly say I hate losing. Although I've been told it's not healthy to be so competitive, I can't seem to help myself. When you win, everything just seems so much better.
Last Friday night, I had the opportunity to play in the Rising Stars Showcase. It was a fun night with a lot of prospects from around the league. About 4,000 fans came out to support us too, which is always exciting. The game was tension-filled and a nail biter. Unfortunately, my team fell one run short of the title in the 10th inning. The fireworks display during the "The Star Spangled Banner" was amazing. Some ballparks shoot off a couple fireworks during the anthem. Well Friday night they did so, but the fireworks continued throughout the rest of the anthem and then continued on for a couple of minutes afterwards. It was a stunning display of pyrotechnics and the grand finale was one to remember. All the players were impressed because no one was expecting to see fireworks.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to play against the Chinese National Team. I've never played against another nation. Team China is here preparing for the World Cup in Taiwan, they play all the Fall League teams once. I like to see the different ways other countries play the game, especially their different batting stances and windups. It reminded me of the World Baseball Classic.
An awkward incident happened in Monday's game. Team China's manager came out for a pitching change in the bottom of the 5th inning. After the pitcher threw all his pitches, Jordan Schafer of the Atlanta Braves prepared to come to the plate. I was up a couple batters after Schafer so I was sitting in the dugout on the side closest to the plate. All of a sudden I hear Christian Colonel of the Colorado Rockies say, "What is the first baseman doing?" So I look up to see the first basemen, our first-base coach Henry Cotto, and the base runner all on the ground, ducking down. Then someone in the dugout screamed "Bees!" At first I ducked down, but I wanted to see where they were coming from so I could prepare to run. I looked up above their heads at first base to see a huge swarm of bees flying erratically all around. There had to be at least 500 bees. Everyone watched closely as the bees made their way down the first-base line toward home. Colonel and Schafer booked it toward our manager Tony Franklin down in the third-base coach's box. All of Team China's players on the field were down on the ground covering their heads. The bees made their way toward the stands and all the fans quickly vacated for safety. The bees continued up and over the grandstand.
Fortunately, no one was stung. Not something you see every day at the ballpark.
Let's answer some of the questions in my email inbox.
How come you haven't talked about me in any of your journals? I thought we were boys. -- Darren Clarke of the Colorado Rockies
Well Darren, that's an interesting question. For all the fans who don't know Darren Clarke, let me give a quick bio. Darren is a big 6-foot-8 reliever for the Rockies out of South Florida Community College. With his size, he throws on a great downhill plane with an electric fastball that can light up the radar guns. Let's not forget to mention that his changeup is pretty devastating to left-handed hitters. Darren is one of the Colorado Call-Outs I discussed in my last journal entry. A great teammate and a better friend, Darren looks to break into Colorado's bullpen in '08 and is here in the AFL to get some more innings under his belt. There you go Darren.
Is there something else that was the key to your patience, confidence and success while adjusting [to each different level]? - John Saucier TEAM JAM (Jesus' Athletic Ministry) Founder/Director & Chaplain for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Hey John, good to hear from you again. I had the opportunity to meet John last year while playing in the New York-Penn League and again this year while playing against the Lake County Captains. I would say that the key to my patience and confidence while adjusting is mental toughness. I know this game is filled with ups and downs. If things aren't going as well as I want them to, I remain confident in my ability to get the job done. I know that if I continue to work, everything will eventually work out. "Tough times don't last, but tough people do." That's a quote my college coach Terry Rupp told me my freshman year that has always stuck with me. Let's not forget God.
Hope everyone has a good week. God bless.
Justin Maxwell is an outfield prospect in the Washington Nationals organization and a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.