Bellevue’s 2003 season and my career came to their simultaneous conclusions on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in May. Our fate came at the hands of the hated Liberty Patriots, a group of juvenile bush leaguers that our JV squad had brawled with three years earlier. Seriously. Liberty would go on to win the state championship that year, led by some stringbean pitcher named Lincecum. I don’t know. He was okay, I guess.
After the game, I remember our whole team kneeling in the grass behind the third base dugout, listening to our coach sum up this unfortunate turn of events in a few words. At the time, I remember thinking how I had no idea what I was going to do with my life now that baseball and I would be getting a divorce. I wasn’t going to play in college and my dreams of ever appearing in the same big league lineup as Ken Griffey Jr. were now dead (I say this only half-jokingly). All of this left me feeling completely lost, in spite of the fact that I was headed to the University of Washington and had what was more or less a promising future in front of me.
Assuming the life of a journeyman hanger-on, I dabbled in a select league that fall and played on one final all-star team in the spring of 2004 before finally hanging the cleats up for good. The all-star team I played with took on a traveling squad from Japan. If ever there was a more fitting way to end a baseball career, that would have to be it.