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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.

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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.

Time to relax with a baseball prospect is well behind us

January 31, 2012

Laguna Hills, CA – Our family had their recent visit with the Kansas City Royals farm hand during the month of December and the first week of the new year. In many ways just as similar to the thousands of other professional baseball families spread throughout the world during these past holidays. The only difference this time was that none of his other teammates came by the house to visit. Years past has not only given our family the opportunity to see John Lamb but some of his fellow Royals farm hands during the holidays. No Michael Montgomery, Tyler Sample or any of the others this year. I have no intention of attempting to rationalize the lack of their visit, nor hold any ill will. Our family’s time to relax with a baseball prospect is well behind us since John was ordered back to the spring training complex early. The Royals organization simply wanted him to start throwing a baseball again. This development for his rehab, after the June 2011 Tommy John surgery, has been welcomed with open arms and excitement by John, family, friends and followers of his infant professional baseball career.

Photo credit - John Owen

I just happened to be with John when Scott Sharp called and informed him of the Royals asking for a return to Arizona and continued rehabilitation from the surgery. As many baseball fans know the process of rebuilding the structural integrity of the elbow has extended many baseball careers. Since my son is still fighting for a big league roster spot this concept of giving him a “new” elbow could very well turn out to be a fantastic step in his young career. All the cards rest on his side of the table now. Only time will tell us all the overall success of this procedure on John. No player wants to see the disabled list during a professional baseball career but injuries are a part of sports. Starting to throw the 5 ounce baseball is merely one of the many steps through this rehabilitation process that hopefully will return my son to the game he loves and a chance to help his team win ballgames.

One of the many things accomplished during this past visit home was John signing his fan mail from the past season. We are amazed at the amount of mail he receives during a season, especially knowing the obvious level of his professional career. Reading the letters triggered a variety of emotions but none more prevalent than enormous pride. His willingness to acknowledge their simple requests brings tremendous comfort to the family knowing that he understands the value in the baseball fans. Some may not agree but I offer a simple reminder that John Lamb, like many other professional baseball players, has been urged never to sign blank cards.

Simple advice about the use of mail to receive an autograph from a ballplayer would include the following:

Photo credit - Colleen Lamb

1) Send your mail to the Spring Training facility of the Major League club whom controls the player’s current professional contract. Sending your requests to the minor league teams could only delay the process of the player receiving the mail.
2) Use a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope with your address placed in the top left corner of envelope also. This may help to insure delivery if you neglect the proper postage on your return envelope or package. Keep in mind minor league baseball players will not pay your postage with their own low wages. Most are not “bonus babies” whom play professional baseball.
3) Adding a brief letter to ask for an autograph is appreciated but not a necessity!

Without any doubt John Lamb was much more excited than the rest of the household over this critical evolution to this off-season routine a few weeks ago. The days fly by when we have him around the house and his early return to Arizona has surrendered some sadness but much more joy knowing he is throwing a baseball again. The only ones that have maintained their mild state of depression are the household dogs. Nightly, both continue to sniff under his bedroom door waiting for his return. Since John was a little boy all he talked about was playing Major League Baseball and now the opportunity still presents itself. The time to relax is clearly behind all professional baseball players now. Many families, friends and fans continue to watch the calendar waiting for the start of Spring Training in the hopes their favorite team will have success during the 2012 season. I can assure you all the Lamb family is doing the same.

 

Hoping it was a Merry Christmas for all

December 25, 2011

Orange County, CA – The left coast of our family, like many others, literally cherish this time of year. The Lamb family is hoping it was a Merry Christmas for everyone  that share similar challenges around the game of baseball. Management, staff, coaches, scouts and players are just a few of the examples whom endure great sacrifices away from their family during most of the Calender year.

This time of year provides the household an opportunity to get extra hugs from our loved ones. The arduous grind of a professional baseball season can be a challenge on any family through the travel and extended time away from home.

Recharging the mind and soul is a vital part of any professional baseball player’s success. John Lamb coming home for the holidays to take a short break from the clubhouse environment has been welcomed with open arms. It was great to see John show off the dimples over his new leather jacket!

While the last few days of 2011 are checked off the calendar, we share the excitement and anticipation of many other Kansas City Royals fans for the new season to begin. John Lamb is doing well and simply looking forward to direction by the Royals to begin a throwing program and return to his childhood passion of playing baseball.

Next holiday on the horizon will have us all one step closer to another Major League Baseball season. Again, the Lamb family wishes you all a safe and happy holiday season!

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A recent trip to Arizona really was baseball related

November 30, 2011

Laguna Hills, CA – Life has been challenged by many things during the past few months winding down the end of the professional baseball season. A continuous struggle with a two-year old injury has heavily weighed on the household and far more than anything related to the great game of baseball. Baseball has and always will be the perfect place of happiness within the Lamb family as fans first and with our modest connections second. With the St. Louis Cardinals defeating the Texas Rangers to end the Major League Baseball season in the 107th World Series some other professional baseball players also completed their efforts in the instructional leagues or the Arizona Fall League. Obviously John Lamb is not involved with any of these noted areas within professional baseball but he is still actively rehabilitating his arm from the Tommy John surgery earlier this year and preparing his body for next season. A recent trip to Arizona, a few weeks back, really was baseball related from the stand point of business, scouting, networking and more importantly getting a long overdue hug from the 6 foot 4 inch left-hander during his work in the Kansas City Royals complex.

An almost two-year old work injury from the end of 2009 has been a sharp thorn in the side of our household. The physically demanding trucking job hauling flammable freight around the Southern California basin came to an abrupt halt without warning following a delivery at a gasoline station in Orange County. After an arduous legal posture from the employer and very little help from the Workers Compensation Fund in California the claim was finally thrown to the curb. Baseball and scouting during this entire drawn out process was truly the only highlight during all the doctor visits and procedures performed without any real relief. Doctors, lawyers and the arrogant employer were the only winners at the end of the entangled mess of the California legal system. In retrospect, even though my pain continues to persist from the injury, the extra time did offer the opportunity to see more baseball games under my earlier Independent Contract agreement with the Marlins as a scout. New doors and opportunity have been opened as a result of this entire process through the extra scouting throughout the pain associated from the injury. I can only hope that a full-time scouting position comes from my added time around the ballpark learning about this great game of professional baseball.

Fortunately, my injury has taken a turn for the better following a recent surgical procedure known as a Discectomy a few weeks ago. All associated issues have been resolved following this simple surgery. I’m very thankful to have found a very competent surgeon perform the surgery which was long overdue to help my return to a productive way of life. My follow-up visit with Bryce Johnson, MD has confirmed that all appears to be going well with my recovery from the spinal injury. While there is still some pain at least I have full function of my right leg again and I’m looking forward to the start of rehabilitation soon.

The opportunity to have some recent visits with John has merely added to the joy of turning a different direction in life. He is continuing to prepare for the start of the 2012 season with his work in Surprise, AZ at the complex. His left arm is ready to throw again and scheduled to begin a throwing program in January, as directed by the Kansas City Royals organization. Not sure of all the details associated with plans of the program, but this Dad has full faith and confidence that John will continue to prepare himself for playing professional baseball for the Royals. We are very eager to hear and see his name every five days in a professional baseball uniform. For now the family will simply embrace this time of year with some extra visits by the left-hander due to the multiple holidays. One down and a couple more holidays to go before John Lamb hits the grind of another professional baseball season on the farm for the Kansas City Royals.

We will get an extra visit this coming weekend with John Lamb scheduled to sign autographs at the MVP Sports Cards store in Laguna Hills, CA just before the 1958 Mickey Mantle card raffle. Even though my son is humble in many ways and he realizes that plenty of work lie ahead to make his big league dreams, I have always been extremely proud of his willingness to sign for fans of the game. I hope to capture some smiles on the faces of attendees at the event for the local baseball trading card shop.

With the 2011 MLB season behind us, Fall League concluded, free agents being entertained by new teams, a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place which adds another five years to continuous Major League Baseball and the Winter meetings right around the corner one can’t help but embrace every aspect of the game during the off-season. The pinnacle event of professional baseball had an enormous amount of people who embraced the game this past October. Not only the die-hard fans of the each team involved but also the post-season followers that jump on board the water cooler chatter around the work place. The grind of baseball can typically wear down many people during the course of the season but the Fall Classic always has the tendency to ignite an extra attraction to the game. Our family follows baseball with great intensity and this year enticed my Saint Louis born wife just a tad bit more while her Cardinals ended up winning the 107th World Series.

The off-season for professional baseball is really not a true concept. Many deals are being made for clubs to try to improve their organization. Fans are busy contemplating every move by their favorite team. Some change hats and patiently hope for opportunity to align with another professional organization to stay connected with this great game. Although there may be a lull in posts on this site during the next few months, one thing is certain, there will be many more trips to Arizona in the very near future which will also be baseball oriented with my son, scouting and continued passion for baseball.

No mystery about the weight of perception around baseball

October 10, 2011

Laguna Hills, CA – Professional baseball has continued to ignite a passion throughout many generations worldwide. There are little boys that dream about the big leagues whom share the same goals as other young men playing at various levels. Coaches also have similar aspirations to connect themselves to the great game of Major League Baseball during the grind of high school, junior college and university ranks of competition. Some of these progressions can open doors of opportunity to become involved with a professional baseball organization under a contract. One thing is certain that there is no mystery about the weight of perception around baseball and the direct relation to the dreams of opportunity to wear the hat of a Major League Baseball club.

The old cliché of beauty is in the eye of the beholder relates much more than any fan will ever appreciate around the game. Fans debate, argue and joust with other family and friends throughout the year over their own perceived value of players, coaches and organizations’ personnel. The same can be said about the ongoing conversations that occur by management, development and scouts during the months of work that lie ahead of the next Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, as well as the entire season of professional baseball. It is all about perception on and off the field during the entire journey and that will never change.

Best example to offer about this issue is about my son during the 2007 fall scout ball season. Some perceived John Lamb as a lazy player while others simply used the word easy to debate his efforts on the field. About half way through the season one of the coaches came to me an apologized for his original perception and admitted he was wrong. It takes a huge man to acknowledge being wrong and learning from the experience and I will forever have an extra respect for the scout and coach involved. He really was not wrong with his opinion but just merely passing on a judgment before enough time had passed to develop a firm perception. Jumping to conclusions about a player on or off the field is not in anyone’s best interest.

Professional baseball organizations will continue to rate and make decisions based on perception during the amateur career of a player, as well as the professional time on the field. It’s simply part of the entire process of trying to place a winning product in the stadium for the fans. Perception around baseball triggers multiple debates almost everyday for the clubs attempting to improve while others are looking to support their usual dominance.

How about all those ideas that circulated during the 1999 First-Year Player Draft over one of the more dominant players in professional baseball. Albert Pujols was not highly considered since 401 names were being taken off the Draft board before he was given his opportunity to play professionally. Surely hind sight is twenty-twenty vision but perception about the Pujols value within the game was extremely discounted at the time by management and scouts. It can safely be said now that Albert has increased his value through the multiple eyes of evaluations during his successful professional career.

One thing is certain about perception… it really takes some time to confirm any opinions about players and their value. Lots of earlier concepts about players are wrong both on and off the field. Life can not be predicted completely, yet baseball continues to attempt the impossible task of forecasting players with projected value via the first-year player draft. More times than not, the first projections are wrong around the game. No surprise that the failures outside the foul lines shy to matching the tendency of the game. A .300 hitter is cherished in Major League Baseball; however much less than 30 percent of players whom sign a professional contract will ever taste the food in a big league clubhouse.

Conversations will always be generated by the statistics on the field of play and with full merit. Whenever players and teams don’t produce they have huge targets on their backs from the fans. Management also feels the pressure to give their fans a quality product and these concepts are all driven by perception throughout a player’s career. An enormous amount of money is generated through the game of professional baseball by the fans that support America’s pastime. The fans really do have every right to discuss their opinions about their team and through their own personal perception. Social media platforms have offered the easiest method for the fans to contribute over their perceived value of their team and not likely to change in the near future, if at all.

Every facet of the game of professional baseball is generated by the basic cognitive process of debate over projection and perception of value. More times than not the first ideas are spoiled along the way through evolution of even more perception. Truly one of the characteristics which continue to draw me to the ballpark is the individuality allowed outside the lines. Sometimes a sense of arrogance and entitlement trickles into the debate of doing business around the game and not fighting it is best to humbly move on and discuss perceptions elsewhere. Reality for being right or wrong about any one perception will simply not be supported for quite sometime around the game of baseball. Unfortunately there is much more wrong than right, as history has revealed.

There is only one chance for a first impression and taking pride with that fact has always been a personal priority around the game of baseball. Nothing angers me more than when someone distorts the truth for their own egocentric reasons of perceived value in the game. Respecting people is a two-way street and difficult when one part of the equation is living with perception of greater importance than his fellow-man at the ballpark. Meanwhile kids, young men and old men continue to aspire towards their dreams of Major League Baseball value and leaving ones’ ego in the parking lot serves everyone better at the end of the day.

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