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Really about time

May 10, 2016

Laguna Hills, CA – It’s been well over three years since any posts on this site related to the experiences for the family of John Lamb and his professional baseball journey. Health issues within the family, work and the basic need to keep baseball related opinions to ourselves have only been a few of the reasons for silence. However, it’s really about time to share a little of the recent past, present and possible future for the Lamb family’s connection to the great game of baseball.

 

John Lamb on May 8, 2016 in Cincinnati, OH.

John Lamb on May 8, 2016 in Cincinnati, OH.

The 2013 and 2014 baseball seasons for John Lamb netted himself and fellow Omaha Storm Chasers consecutive AAA championship rings to add to his collection of hardware around the game. Joyful pride would be an understatement for his opportunity and participation within the Royals minor league system’s most recent successes. The 2015 mid-season All Star nomination for his Pacific Coast League performance was beyond exciting. Our travels to Omaha, NE allowed my wife and I to visit with plenty of good people around the affiliation, as well as, witness John’s first call up to the big leagues. Although, he did not pitch in either of the games during our brief trip we were filled with tremendous happiness to be there in person during this path of his professional career. Soon after, the Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals agreed to a trade which sent John Lamb, Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed to wear some red. Quickly, the trade opened a new door for John on August 16, 2015 for his Major League Baseball debut versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jumping in a car to fight the Southern California traffic was the least of our concerns about all the emotions surrounding this huge step in his professional baseball career. Plenty of family, friends and acquaintances were on hand to enjoy the left handed pitcher chasing his dreams with the Reds, as baseball’s oldest organization. The occasional roller coaster ride associated with a professional baseball player can make oneself question a wide gambit of decisions, but opportunity calms any desire for explanation.

 

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Most recently, John Lamb was reinstated to the Reds active roster following a short stint on the disabled list while rehabbing from a back related surgery. Now with a couple of starts behind him being back with the big boys, we’re anxious every five days to see his outings through our MLB.tv account. Unfortunately, John bruised his hand a few days ago, while batting, in a Mother’s day performance at Great American Ball Park which prompted an early exit from the game in the top of 5th inning. Not having any strength in his thumb to grip the ball forced the staff’s visit to the mound. Luckily, a MRI yesterday didn’t show any structural damage in his hand and it seems, based on media reports and talking with John, that a little extra rest should offer up another start with his fellow Redlegs.

 

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Nobody around the game can see the future but plenty try to predict and forecast. One thing can be certain, my Son wants to win and he cherishes championships. Surely, at this point in his baseball career, his focus is to help the Cincinnati Reds return to their winning ways and bring a championship back to the city on the banks of the Ohio River. All we can hope for is that health and opportunity continue to embrace John Lamb during the course around the game. Gratitude towards the Cincinnati Reds organization, front office, coaches and staff continue to fill the west coast household of a young man living out childhood dreams. GO REDS!

 

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Moving into May

April 30, 2013

Laguna Hills, CA – It’s no mystery that professional baseball is filled with highs and lows for management, staff, players and fans over the results on the field. Our family has experienced plenty of peaks and valleys during the infant career of John Lamb with the Kansas City Royals organization. Now that we’re moving into May, it is easy to say that the game has provided another simple highlight worth smiling about for the family and fans around the game of baseball.

JL_Wilmington pic by Denise

Tonight’s start for John with his Wilmington Blue Rocks team had a sense of urgency throughout the minor league clubhouse. The Kansas City Royals, Advanced Class A affiliate, had lost seven straight going into the second game of the series tonight with the Salem Red Sox, Carolina League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox club. Putting an end to the slide had to be the primary focus of not only the staff but also the team.

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Fortunately, solid pitching, defense and hitting were all integrated into tonight’s performance during the Blue Rocks effort at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington, DE. Not sure who had more fun during the broadcast? Surely, Mr. Celery with all the run production and the radio announcers sharing positive reports about the game must have enjoyed the game. However, hearing that my son was flashing some of the pre Tommy John surgery success which helps a team win really provided a true calm in the living room during the game. Hopefully, there were some optimistic reports from staff and brass about the event also.

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A wide variety of sources can and will offer the statistical data from tonight’s game along with opinions or projections. Not here to discuss anything more than a real sense of relief for my son who is still getting the chance to chase his dream in baseball. While there is a real confidence that follows a small step forward in a professional career for any athlete, John is positively more proud for helping his team win and not the personal line illustrating the pitching performance.

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We will continue to ride this high for another five days moving into May!

Only a couple more hours to expect

April 6, 2013

Laguna Hills, CA – Anyone that truly loves the game of baseball can appreciate the wide levels of emotions the game can produce. The great Earl Weaver once said, “A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.” Add this philosophy with parenthood and you can have a volatile case of anxiety during any baseball game your son plays. On any given day, during the grind of a season, thousands of parents share these emotions around professional baseball. While there is a full appreciation for similar experiences around the game, we only have a couple more hours to expect the start by John Lamb for a full season effort on the Kansas City Royals farm. The injury that stalled his professional career back in 2011, while pitching for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, has been filled with plenty of peaks and valleys. Today’s game with his Wilmington Blue Rocks teammates in Myrtle Beach, SC against the Pelicans will offer yet another step towards his dream.

John Lamb tossed a career-best 7.1 innings and allowed just one earned run, his first in six outings and 35.2 innings. (Brad Glazier)

Photo credit – Brad Glazier

The Wilmington Blue Rocks, Advanced Class A team for the Royals, lost their season opener last night in extra innings. We will be watching tonight’s game on our MiLB.tv subscription as John takes the ball surrounded by many other prospects within the organization. Emotions are about to explode with the first pitch of tonight’s Carolina League contest and with any luck this is simply the first of many more roller coaster rides during the season.

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Our previous trips to this year’s spring training provided opportunity to nurture some relationships around the organization which has continued to support my son. Seeing him work around the Surprise, AZ complex during drills, practice and games provides an enormous joy knowing your boy is still living out his dreams around the ballpark. Watching his interactions with fans brings tremendous satisfaction and pride. Seeing their genuine excitement, following an autograph or picture with John, can easily put a smile on any parent’s face. Our family stands firm with gratitude towards the Kansas City Royals organization for their ongoing confidence in his ability.

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A light lunch and nap is in order now before John Lamb resumes his efforts on the field later today in South Carolina. Go Blue Rocks!

Article by John Sadak

Idaho Falls Article about Saturday’s game in Colorado

September 3, 2012

Perry, UT – While I sit waiting to unload later tonight I found the following article about John Lamb and his performance Saturday night with the Idaho Falls Chukars, the Kansas City Royals affiliate of the Pioneer League.

Link –

http://chukarsblog.mlblogs.com/2012/09/03/john-lamb-analysis/

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My wife gave me inning updates of my son’s work during my drive up to Utah and I could not stop grinning with excitement for his Pioneer League debut. I realize this was simply another rehab start for John but the Chukars needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and it was great to hear about a solid team effort to secure the lopsided win. It sounds like my son will get one more start with the Chukars on Thursday in Orem, UT and with some luck maybe I can pause the truck to see him pitch against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim affiliate.

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Plan to leave Arizona soon

August 28, 2012

Mc Carran, NV – While I continue to drive all over the Westetn United States as guided by freight John Lamb has just notched his fourth game appearance for the Kansas City Royals AZL team. I realize that during his professional baseball career many of his games will simply be read about, or possibly heard via radio broadcast, rather than observed in the desert heat. There have been a few bumps in the road of recovery and it’s only been a week since removing the boot of his left foot. The plan for John to leave Arizona and achieve more work on the Royals farm is simply fantastic news for all that have been eager to see him pitch again after the elbow surgery. Any baseball game with John Lamb in a box score, radio broadcast, internet feed or watching from the seats will always bring joy to this dad.

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I was fortunate to have seen last Wednesday night’s game during some time off the road while in Arizona. I was pleasantly surprised to see him pitch knowing his legs are still not at full strength. The ankle injury really took a toll on his ability to work his lower half but overall it was great to see him take the ball to the hill. Velocity was upper 80’s on the fast ball and he flashed a couple decent change ups during the two plus innings of work. The established pitch count was hit before recording an out in the top of the third but another good step down the road. The results may not have been stellar in the box score but the performance helped build some character with regard to the game’s disappointments. Can’t wait to see him throw again with some added strength in his legs and I can only hope it’s before the end of this season.

The recent return to our highway system pulling cargo from point A to point B may have some challenges with seeing John pitch but it will not keep me from eyeballing the box scores. John should be in a game on September 1 with the Idaho Falls Chukars during a road trip. I can only hope that last night’s outing is the beginning of better things to come during his rehab return to the Pioneer League. John managed three scoreless, no hits or walks while striking out three during Monday night’s game. Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and have a load that routes by a stadium or two the next few weeks and see the lefty throw again.

No matter are the means of information about John’s next game, nor the specific results, the most important thing at this stage of rehab is to continue to take the ball every fifth day. Helping his team get outs and wins are a mere bonus with the effort. I am eager to read about his next start in the Pioneer League through Baseball America or through the eyes of an Idaho Falls reporter.

Second game of work for John

August 17, 2012

On the roads, USA – By now many of you know that my son, John Lamb, had his first taste of competitive baseball on August 14 in Surprise, AZ with the Kansas City Royals rookie affiliate. Unfortunately, I was not there to see the effort but was happy to hear from John after his inning of work. I cannot express the sincere relief in knowing that my son is back in the saddle with living out his dreams of playing professional baseball. Tomorrow is the scheduled second game of work for John in the Arizona League and should only be two innings on the mound. All the anxiety during the rehabilitation from surgery and minor hiccups along the path have now finally been replaced with adrenaline of competition.

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John sounded optimistic about his performance which was mentioned in the Royals minor league report and also Baseball America’s Prospect updates. He indicated he felt good and that his arm was working free and easy. The two strike outs, no walks or runs sounded like he was throwing strikes as needed to help his team get outs. Friday’s work should involve no more than two innings based on the plan set by the Royals. All of the anxious feelings that circulate through the mind of a recovering athlete have been set aside during preparation for the next game.

I can only imagine the level of adrenaline running through my son as he heard the umpire say “play ball.” John has always had a pretty level appearance during his play and some have even misunderstood his cool demeanor as not caring. Anyone that has shared a dugout with John knows that’s not the case. His adrenaline is no different than that of most professional athletes and is simply controlled in his own way. Believe me when my son pitches his blood is flowing with controlled emotions and desires to win.

Today will provide another small step of work for John and getting him one bit closer to joining a team on the farm for the Kansas City Royals baseball club. Sadly I will miss today’s game also due to my recent return of pulling freight on the roads of America. I hope the stars align to allow seeing him pitch on August 22 when his workload should be increased and it will provide this Dad more opportunity to see his son play professional baseball.

It’s that time again for some updates

August 16, 2012

The following report on the Kansas City Royals farm has been eagerly anticipated for months.

Royals Minor League Report: Aug. 14

Kansas City Royals Aug 15, 10:39 AM

Omaha Storm Chasers (74-50)

Omaha 7, Las Vegas 0 WP: Jake Odorizzi (9-2 with Omaha, 13-4 overall) HR: None

Jake Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the fifth as Omaha won the opener at Las Vegas. The righty retired the first 12 batters before allowing a walk to Jack Cust. The next batter, Chris Woodward, reached on a play that was originally ruled an error and later changed to a hit. Odorizzi allowed two hits and two walks over seven innings. Max Ramirez recorded hits hits, two RBIs and a run. Irving Falu added two hits, two RBIs and a run.

NW Arkansas Naturals (17-33 in second half, 54-66 overall)

Northwest Arkansas was off on Tuesday. The Naturals begin a series at Midland (Athletics) tonight.

Wilmington Blue Rocks (25-25 in second half, 54-66 overall)

Potomac 7, Wilmington 5 LP: Chase Boruff (1-8) HR: Brett Eibner (13)

Wilmington let a 5-2 lead slip away at Potomac plated five in the sixth. Starter Leondy Perez (5 1/3 innings, six hits, three runs, one earned, one walk and four strikeouts) took a shutout in the fifth. Nick Van Stratten went 3-for-5 with a run scored. He is 6-for-8 since being transferred from Northwest Arkansas. Brett Eibner hit his 13th homer of the year, with 11 of the 13 away from Frawley Stadium.

Kane County Cougars (26-24 in second half, 60-60 overall)

All Midwest League teams were off on Tuesday. Kane County hosts Clinton tonight.

Idaho Falls Chukars (9-7 in second half, 26-28 overall)

Billings 3, Idaho Falls 0 LP: Sam Selman (5-1) HR: None

Idaho Falls was blanked on three hits at Billings. Rainier Bello went 2-for-3 with a double for the Chukars. 2012 second-rounder Sam Selman fanned 11 for the second straight start. Selman limited the Mustangs to a run on five hits and one walk over six innings. He has 73 K’s along with a 1.33 ERA in 47 1/3 innings.

Burlington Royals (33-17)

Burlington 8, Princeton 2 WP: Daniel Hernandez (4-1) HR: Bubba Starling (9), Fred Ford (12), Mark Threlkeld (7)

Burlington upped its league-leading home run total to 57 with a trio of long balls. Bubba Starling hit a solo shot in the fourth while Fred Ford and Mark Threlkeld went back-to-back in the fifth. Ford is tied for the league lead with 12. Burlington hit 58 in 68 games last season.

Surprise Royals (17-26)

Arizona Dodgers 9, Surprise 5 LP: Dylan Sons (3-3) HR: None

All eyes in Surprise were on John Lamb, who made his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery on June 3, 2011. The 2010 Paul Splittorff Award winner worked around an error with two K’s in a scoreless inning. Chad Johnson posted three hits, three RBIs and a run for the Royals.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Now that there are only three

May 31, 2012

Photo credit – Justin White

Laguna Hills, CA – While the 2012 baseball season is well underway, our family continues to patiently wait for the enlightenment that John Lamb will resume his professional career between the foul lines. Rest assured he continues to work hard through good health on the Kansas City Royals complex in Arizona, as directed by the club. Now that there are only three days left from being one year removed from the Tommy John procedure, nobody is more anxious than my son to pitch in a ballgame. This has been an arduous path through the rehabilitation process from the reconstruction surgery on the throwing elbow. This process has added more than a year of maturity to my son. It has opened his eyes to the limited opportunity for living a childhood dream of playing professional baseball. The chance to play in a Major League Baseball game is still a dream at this point but the path of working through the farm system is almost upon him. Family, friends and fans are more than ready to hear about John Lamb toeing the slab for his team.

In three days the calendar will acknowledge last year’s early morning trip to Los Angeles for my son’s surgery. Although we were comforted by the profound experience of the surgeon we could not be more concerned with seeing John taken away for the attempt to repair his left arm. He was not the only patient that Friday morning whom had concerned family and friends in the waiting room. It is easy to reflect on the fear from that day almost a year ago but I’m happy to say that all seems to be going well with John during his continued rehab work on the Royals complex. Even though others have pitched in games quicker off of their surgery that’s not was is most important. The process to begin the grind of a professional baseball schedule is as unique as the athletes that play the game and the Royals control this procedure. My confidence remains high about my son through his hard work, athletic ability and desire to overcome this career obstacle. Soon we will know when the ball leaves his hand how the time was spent after the surgery. Many other players around baseball have experienced long careers after the Tommy John surgery and the Lamb family hopes to see John fall into this category as well.

In three days the calendar will hit the eve before this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year player draft. Many young men, family and friends will be anxious with the forthcoming selections that will follow the Monday through Wednesday event. Our family has had the wonderful experience of seeing their son receive a phone call and announcement of their selection to play professional baseball. All the various emotions throughout the entire baseball draft process are special to everyone in their own way. I was overwhelmed with tears of joy for my son and surely other dads are soon to experience similar feelings of sheer happiness for their little boy’s opportunity to play professional baseball. Despite the new rules that govern the draft the feelings remain the same. The amateur baseball world will officially label the new prospects around the game through the draft and new stories will begin to unfold.

Today the Lamb household remains in a holding pattern filled with anticipation but hopefully very soon there will be good news with an assignment somewhere on the Kansas City Royals farm for John Lamb. My son is more than eager to resume playing the game of baseball and trying to carry out the strength and knowledge from this past year pause in his career.

Spring training is winding down

March 31, 2012

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Orange County, CA – A few week’s ago I got to see my son in the Kansas City Royals spring training complex. Sure his work is limited by the rehabilitation from the Tommy John surgery performed last June on the damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm but seeing him throw was a special site for this proud Dad. The end of March officially makes up the fact that spring training is winding down to the end. Major League Baseball players and full season minor league professional baseball players are all eager for the games to count.

Even though John does not fit into these conditions at this time he continues to prepare for a return to the mound.  Seeing him in the professional baseball environment provides tremendous pride and satisfaction by knowing that opportunity remains on his side. I was more than pleased to see his physical condition and share his mental approach moving forward in his rehab work. My observations while watching him throw with fellow Royals organization’s players was a mere bonus for taking the drive to the Arizona desert community.

Knowing full well that John will be staying in Surprise for a couple more months which will afford extra chances to see him at work. Next trip is planned in April and I hope to offer some video of the left-handed throwing on the Royals farm.

Wide varieties of emotion during the month of February

February 29, 2012

Laguna Hills, CA – All the Major League Baseball teams have opened their respective Spring training camps to prepare for the 2012 season. Obviously the first group of players to arrive in Florida and Arizona are the pitchers and catchers and shortly afterwards come the position players. This is true for those that are healthy or not involved in a rehabilitation status at the start of their spring assignments. John Lamb has been in Surprise, AZ with the Kansas City Royals organization since the beginning of 2012 with an opportunity to see fellow farm-hands and Major League players trickle into the complex. The wide varieties of emotion in the month of February are the result of multiple sources around professional baseball. This month is not the first time our family has endured the roller coaster ride around this great game. Logistics, timing, rankings and anticipation of the new baseball season are just a few of the areas that can spin a baseball family around.

Photo credit - Colleen Lamb

The logistics of baseball during the spring months of training are really quite simple. Teams are in the Cactus or the Grapefruit League and nowhere else. There are many people who converge on Arizona and Florida this time of the professional baseball season to get a closer look at their favorite team or player. I have had the pleasure of attending many spring training events over the years but none more emotional than the 2009 during my son’s first with the Kansas City Royals. Pride and happiness are foundation for most emotions around the ballpark in February and March for a baseball family. The Lamb family continues to be proud and excited for John with the opportunity to live his childhood dream of playing professional baseball. Fortunately the Royals play spring baseball and rehabilitate about 350 miles from our home in Southern California which affords the chance to visit during spring training.

The timing of the 2012 spring training is welcomed by most if not all baseball fans and those whom have their livelihood based on the professional baseball season. This year is a little hard to digest for the Lamb family for the obvious reason since the lefty is continuing to work on the rehab assignments by the Royals. Although John is throwing regularly again it is doubtful that there will be a chance to see him pitch during any spring training games this year. It serves no purpose to rush the strength and conditioning process while recovering from elbow surgery in June of 2011. With nothing but ideal circumstances during the entire rehab process John maybe pitching at game speed in June. So until he gets up on a mound and starting to throw downhill our family will continue to simply hope for the best. Having a major injury is a lot like fowling a horse. The earlier in the year the better timing the process has on the big picture. No need crying over the timing situation but instead we stay positive over the progress of his recovery at this time.

The rankings that circulate throughout the game of professional baseball have been entertaining to say the least. Now personally I refuse to get caught up in the hype of player rankings but I cannot say the same thing for family and friends of John Lamb. Some of the family gets extremely uptight and anxious over the written opinions found in media. Whenever the rankings are brought to my attention it is truly taken with a grain of salt, or like water on a duck’s back. The rankings are nothing more than opinions from a very wide variety of people around the game. Some are from professionals with tremendous credentials and reputation while others are generated by ignorance and bad information. The one which made me laugh the hardest was a statement that John Lamb has had multiple elbow surgeries. That particular statement has as much merit as the idea my son was going to an Ivy League school after graduating from Laguna Hills High School. Many things found on the Internet are simply laughable and are completely unfounded. Statistics never lie even if you’re not big on the analytic side of professional baseball. Pitchers throw strikes and get outs or they struggle and hitters get on base and contribute to runs or they don’t. Rankings do not make ball players succeed or fail. Actions on and off the field help clubs win ballgames and get rings for the organization. John threw strikes, got outs and helped his teams win before the Tommy John surgery and most around him expect the same when he’s healthy enough to take the ball into a ballgame again.

Some video about John Lamb…

The anticipation in the family is palpable now and surely shared by John during this spring training. Some recent phone conversations with my son confirm he is eager to work and prepare his body for the return to helping his team win games. Suspension of the unknown can be overbearing at times but healing the body for the grind of a professional baseball season requires patience. Ironically the Merriam-Webster dictionary suggests viewing prospect as one synonyms of anticipation. There are many family and friends of my son that share tremendous contemplation over his return to the game. We will all see very soon if John Lamb can return to the form which opened the door to professional baseball out of high school.

While our family continues to embrace the opportunity for John through eager eyes we must all take a deep breath and allow the time to expire for proper strength and conditioning. Another trip to Arizona is still in the immediate future to see spring training inside the Royals complex. Meanwhile, the wide varieties of emotion during these months leading up to the regular season of baseball will simply take a back seat to the larger picture of my son’s return to the game. The steps of recovery from last year’s season ending surgery takes president now to any mixed feeling. So be sure to look for the kid roaming around the complex and say hi. I can assure you he does not bite and is typically more than willing to sign items for baseball fans… especially kids. I can only hope for another picture with him in Surprise, AZ to add with those from years past.

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