What it felt like to get 1st Major League Hit

Who doesn't want to join history
 

In 2008, I made my MLB debut with the San Diego Padres after my 1st Major League spring training and I was a long shot to make the Padres roster with the status of being a Rule Five Selection.  In most cases, players selected in the Rule Five draft have a hard time cracking the opening day roster, due to their lack of MLB experience.  That Spring Training I had 68 plate appearances and a stat line of; .309 average, 21 base hits, and played every position minus catcher, pitcher and 1st base.  I treated that spring training like my only chance to become a major leaguer and I did.   I performed out of my mind and my only thought was to carry that momentum right into the regular season, which meant I wanted to become part of MLB history and that was to hit a home run in my 1st Major League at bat!  

1st Major League at Bat

Let me give everyone a sense of what it feels like to have your very own 1st Major League at bat. For a moment, imagine it's you.  It's opening day and there are 38,000 people in the stands and they are ready to see you play.  The Stadium is electric! People are calling your name, asking for autographs, and can't wait to see you get a chance to officially become a Major Leaguer.  The Houston Astros are in town and perennial All-Star Roy Oswalt is the starting pitcher.  He throws 95+ and you really want a chance to face him.   You aren't in the starting lineup, and you have more electricity pumping through your body than the empire state building.  After 7 innings of baseball, it doesn’t look like you will get in that night.   Another day comes and goes which yields the same result, no game action.  It's Day 3 in the big leagues and on April 3rd, 2008 you get the call to pinch hit.  For a moment, your heart rate takes off like an F-15 fighter jet, from 70 beats to 200 beats in a half a second.  You calm yourself down enough to walk up to home plate with the goal in mind, hit a home run your 1st official at bat. At the time, it only happened 95 times in history. Your name is announced as you're walking up to home plate, the fans recognize it's your Major League debut and lucky for you, it's in front of the home crowd.  You proceed with your usual routine, then the pitcher delivers a pitch and it's right where you want it, middle in and you TAKE IT!!!!  Strike one, you mutter damn it, why didn't you swing.  You quickly regroup for the next pitch.  He winds up and you take a nice swing and smoke a ball the other way deep, deep to the warning track!!!!!  No home run but you are officially a Major Leaguer and history still made!   You are now the 16,876th player to play Major League Baseball.

City of San Fransisco and my Last name

After a 7 game home stand to start the season and only 1 pinch hit appearance, we head north to San Fransisco for a 4 game series against the Giants.  Anyone who has been to San Fransisco early in the year knows it can get really cold at night.  This night game is freezing and a terrific game at that and I get the sense I am getting in tonight.  It's a 1-1 game for most of the night, then 2-2 into the 9th inning.  Bottom of the 9th; I get called upon to play left-field for defense, which is my very 1st defensive action as a big leaguer. I hustle out to left-field, sprinting as fast as I could to stay warm because it was freezing.  Before I could even begin playing catch, a few college students yell out; hey everyone we got a new guy out here and his last name is Crabbe!  And of course, they begin to heckle me, first 4 people, then 50, then 3,000 people start screaming you got STD's, and it continues "You got Crabs, STD's, you got Crabs" and on and on. Then a fly ball hits in the air and I take off back towards the left field fence and the short-stop catches the ball in the infield!!! I totally misjudged it because of nerves (lLOL). Inning over, I take a deep breath and remind myself it's time to get my 1st Major League hit.

My first hit

To this day when I recall this moment, my heart immediately begins to fill with joy.  Bottom of the 10th 2-2 game, freezing cold and please click the link,  no need to explain.  My 1st Big League hit.  Many have never seen this!

"Be You"

Organic has value

Who doesn't love when they get a chance to be themselves?  Yet it's one of the most difficult concepts for most to act upon. Our society has a way of telling us how we should act in order for others to like us.  Unfortunately, being organic, you in true form comes with a risk. A risk of being denied, not accepted, but allowing yourself to be vulnerable can open new doors and opportunities.

Get outside your comfort zone

I am grateful for the foundation of my life, which for me was public housing.  I must say I was more fortunate than others I grew up with. During my childhood, I was exposed to another world at a crucial time in my life.  This was the timeframe when I was bullied badly and it was then, luckily that a new friend came into my life.  There was a kid named Seth Farrelly on my little league team, someone who was encouraging to all of his teammates. Seth is the grandson of a former Virgin Islands Governor Alexander A. Farrelly and someone I befriended during little league. We both supported each other in different ways. I would sleep over at his house from time to time, we would zip line, competitively play video games, and his mother would make the best homemade cheese pizza I have ever had, she even topped them off with fresh hand-picked basil.  His family welcomed me in with open arms and loved me even when they didn't have to.  Early on, they taught me that support can come from outside of your world and gave me hope that I wouldn't have to play this game of life alone. This is important for young kids to truly grasp, blessingsrarely come in the form we expect.

Importance of being you

In 2003, while hitting at my former hitting instructor's facility in Acworth, GA, a young 8-year-old boy named Zach Deboy was getting a hitting lesson with CJ Stewart. I was in the far batting cage working on some drills with my usual very intense focus. I felt someone watching me and when I turned to look, I see this country looking white guy staring at me intently. I took a break and we engaged in small talk about where I was currently playing, what team I was playing for and continued assuring me about how he sees untapped potential in me.  My instinct told me this man was genuine and simply wanted to wish me the best.  Then I do what I do best, I talked to him like we had been friends for 20 years. He later gave me his business card and told me if I needed any help, to give him a call.  Roger Deboy and CJ became good friends, so naturally I became friends with Roger as well.  In 2004, I was in need of an off-season job. I mentioned something briefly to Roger and before I knew it, he landed me a job as a laborer at one of his job sites.  It was the best two years of my life working in construction. I learned how to drive bobcats, operate small lifts and put my time in sweeping a lot of floors. During this time, I was in need of a place to live close by to where I trained. I later took up residence in a warehouse next to the job site.  That warehouse had a tiny little office that looked built for a little elf, so it was perfect for me.  It was also located directly across from CJ's batting cages.  This is where I spent my time hitting when I couldn't sleep in the warehouse, I swear that place had ghosts!!  At 3 am in the morning I would be hitting balls off an iron mike machine or a batting tee always reminding myself, one day I will play in the Major Leagues.  In 2005, Roger invited me to live with his family and I quickly took up his offer.  I spent 4 years living with Pam, Roger, and Zach and it was an amazing four years.  When I reflect back on the most inspirational periods of my life and how they all began, they all stem back to allowing myself to be vulnerable and not running from fear. I chose to be vulnerable, and I got help! 

Trust is a must

My understanding about trust has expanded due to many years playing baseball, so this understanding has evolved, but it's absolutely necessary to live your true potential.  In order for any of us to be really good at something, we have to completely believe in what we are doing.  In baseball if you believe, you tend to achieve.  As an 18-year-old sophomore in college when I first started dating Amanda, who later became my wife, it was difficult to be myself. We are taught our whole lives to change who we are so others will like us. I didn't know what impressed her, so initially I put on a facade.  Thankfully, I quickly realized that what she valued was who I was in my natural form.  She enjoyed my energetic personality, my true love for life, my creative mind, and in the end I won.  Now we have two beautiful kids, a loving marriage, and we continue to grow daily!  This is a very important concept for young kids, young adults, and even adults to understand.  We perform best when we are true to ourselves.  Let's have a moment of reflection, think about your first day of school, first game, first business deal or first kiss.  Were you nervous?  I am sure you were initially but what happened when you relaxed and trusted yourself?  I bet you made it out alive; so be you!!!!  
 

How to create your reality

Have a dream with a purpose

Think about the most successful people you know.  Then juxtapose their happiness and purpose in life.  The most successful individuals aren't always the happiest and I wonder if it's due to a dream that has no defined purpose.  I believe God created dreams so we are always moving towards our reasons for existence.  I had many battles early in life.  I was bullied badly, so badly once I was hit with a beer bottle while walking home from school in the 6th grade for no reason.  Yet I remained optimistic about my future.  Guess what keep me positive? A DREAM to inspire an Island by playing Major League Baseball.  

Guard your mind against dream wreckers and get connected with like minds

Throughout my entire life, I have been connecting with others who share similar traits.  I believe it's due to my commitment to living my purpose.  When you are moving towards your destiny, God provides the support. This is why you won't and can't fail.  He provides like minds!  These are the individuals who view life like you.  Here are a few names to support my theory; R-City (Songwriters and Singers), Delayno Brown (Reggae Artist and songwriter), CJ Stewart (L.E.A.D and Diamond Directors Baseball), Kelli Steward (Executive Director of L.E.A.D), Karese Roberts (business owner Kakes by Karese), Roger Deboy (Construction Management), Brian McCann (MLB All Star), Micah Owings (MLB player and Entrepreneur), Tim Raines Jr. (Retired MLB player and IMG Coach), Chone Figgins (Retired baseball player and fellow golf nut), Phil Wallin (Diesel Fitness Co-owner and performance specialist), and my immediate family.  There are more names only the list would be too long.  Everyone above had dreams and they came true.  So guard your heart and mind against those dream wreckers; if someone tells you can't do something, say ok let me find out for myself! 

Get out of the incorrect environment and build momentum

If you are in an office, house, or environment which leads you to believe its too hard or you can't do it, move on and try to find like minds who will encourage your movement.   A movement begins when you take a stance to stand alone and believe in you!  In time you will have one follower, then two, then three and then you are an inspiration!!!  Let me share a small story; around this time last year I ran into a scout who noticed me coaching my high school team at IMG Academy.  He said you know Callix, I told everyone you were only going to play one year of Minor League Ball and be done.  Guess how I responded?  I said thank you, you were the very reason I made it!!!  And to keep it coming because there is more on the way!  There will be people you come in contact with who will say you can't do it, you know what to say to them?  I damn well sure want to find out!!!  So dream of whatever you want that is positive and purpose driving and charge onward with passion. This is how you create momentum!!!  If you are unhappy and want to be happy do what Nike says "Just do it"

Go all the way in

I believe if you want something in life there is only one way you can do it and that's going all the way in!  In 2012 when I decided my baseball playing days were over, I picked up the game of golf. I needed something to ease the transition from baseball.  A goal was set to become a scratch player which is a zero handicap on any golf course played.  I might not be a scratch golfer just yet but guess what my handicap is? 9.3 without a lot of rounds.  Guess how I made that happen?  I set small attainable goals and attacked the game from every angle.  For 3 years at IMG Academy I religiously practiced, read books and played whenever my schedule allowed.  Many people said it's the golf bug; you know what I said? Nope; I have a dream, which meant I have to go all the way in.   At the moment, my quest for scratch is on hold due to a more important goal.   Once I resume this quest I will show you my zero handicap index.  

I dreamt about getting hits off of Randy Johnson and when I faced him it felt like Deja Vu

One of my greatest attributes happens to be my ability to conjure up dreams. LOL. As a young boy, I had two very important friends who helped to create my dream of Major League Baseball; Akeem Francis and Kishon Herbert both supported me in the infancy.   We didn't practice on actual fields all the time, but we did so under our buildings with rocks, bottle caps, and broomsticks.  The name of our field was the Brown Monster our replica of the Green Monster.  I really wish I had a photo of it, but I don't.  We had many at-bats against Randy Johnson.  Like all the time and I was very successful against Randy Johnson from the ages of 9-12.  I couldn't get out.  In 2008 guess who I faced while in the big leagues with San Deigo?  Yup; Randy Johnson the Hall of Famer.  Take a look at his career stat line; 

W     L     w-l% era.                                                     hits                                                 303166.6463.2961860371003724135.13346170315134111497374875190
 

Randy Johnson is one of the greatest pitchers of all time and someone I am super proud to say I faced while a Major Leaguer.  You see the 3,346 hits he gave up?  I had two.  You see the 4,875 strikeouts he had?  I had none!  You see the 3.29 era?  I had two rbi's against him.  And both were earned. Lastly, I was 1 of the 190 hits batter he had.  And he called me a little piece of sh** because I didn't get out the way.  Final numbers against Randy Johnson 2 for 3, 2 rbi's, 1 double, 1 HBP, and 1 called a piece of sh**.  One of my greatest moments in the big leagues felt like Deja vu all because I used imagery.  So the next time somebody tells you to wake up and smell the roses, tell them no; I don't like the way yours smell!!!

Please copy and paste the link below into your browser to see my reality!
 

https://vimeo.com/139081995

Pincer Mondays "Inspired by my father's illness"

A special man
My previous pincer story chronicled my love for the Atlanta Braves. That love was fostered by TBS and my father Elvin Crabbe Sr., a strong-willed, self-proclaimed encyclopedia.  My childhood memories with him are filled with lots of playing catch and musical tunes.  He was passionate about many things; baseball and music are the two I remember easily.  He loved music!!!  Let me paint a picture for you; envision a staircase with metal railings leading to your yard.  Then you throwing little pebbles at that railing and hitting it.  Now able to call with an absolute certainty what musical notes was echoing from that hit. He was able to do this along with many other talents.  Let me name a few more; he was a mechanic, threw ambidextrously, switched hit, could fix TV’s and still remains very funny to this day.  Hopefully, this gives everyone and idea of his unique abilities. He has also dealt with schizophrenia most of his life.  

Early childhood with him
The early parts of my life, I called a public housing complex named “Warren E. Brown” home.  This complex sat up on a hillside overlooking Charlotte Amalie High School; the high school I later attended for my freshmen and sophomore years before heading stateside.   My dad informed one of his good friends Sam Daly, he was bringing his baby boy to play for his little league team the "Rebels." Sam was a local photographer and taxi cab driver whose teams was known for being good. I bet Sam was skeptical at first-because several years earlier my dad brought one of my older brothers Junior to play for his team which didn't go well.  Junior wasn’t very good at all and really didn’t like baseball; he currently works for Bank of America, and his talent is numbers!!! (LOL)  God blessed me with Sam, he was one of those coaches we all hoped to play for.  He was the type that genuinely cared for his players, and did everything to see them develop.  Sam is the coach responsible for my overly positive attitude towards baseball.  This is the power of positive coaching!  Now back unto my dad, when I was physically able to play catch we did so often.  At least 4 days a week for 30 minutes we played catch.  He taught me early on that in order to get really good at something like baseball; I had to do it all the time.  He was the 1st person to instill that principal of work ethic, which cultivated that relentless charge for what I wanted to do for the rest of my life...BASEBALL

He passed along some great qualities
Those who grew up with me can attest to my overwhelming passion to include baseball in every aspect of my life.  We've heard coaches say you have to eat, sleep and sh** baseball.  I totally did!!! I developed a system for practice right under my building.  I improved my hand/eye coordination by hitting stones and bottle caps with my mothers broomsticks.  I even made her buy dry popcorn seeds to work on my hitting; putting them in my mouth to spit and hit.   Why tell you this? To let you know, I was paying attention to a father who did things which seemed to be idiosyncratic to others.  I was merely paying attention to his creativity and lack of care for how others viewed him.  This is the attitude I have taken most of my life thanks to him. 

One of the scariest nights of my life   
His most difficult bouts with schizophrenia happened before my existence which meant I didn't see much of his darkest moments.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t spared from all. He came upon some difficult times with his illness and became unstable. One night my mother, sister and I were watching Television and heard a loud commotion taking place outside our front door.  30 minutes prior to this incident he was attempting to get in the apartment but my mother wouldn’t let him due to his instability at the moment.  My mother hurried to the door and found my father in a tussle with two police officers.  One of them actually knew of his issues.  This officer wasn't a great man and could care less about his illness.  My sister and I rushed to our mother’s side. She was screaming don’t kill him, please don’t kill him, he is sick.  Both officers had already drawn their firearms; one had his weapon to my father’s abdomen and the other to his head.  To this day, that experience has never left my mind.  Thank God the officers listened to my mother's cry and didn’t harm him. 

He inspired me to always walk with a purpose
My dad had a way of moving with a purpose although others didn't understand what that purpose was.  I can recall moments of him walking long distances to get where he wanted to go, in a collared shirt, khaki pants, and all white Reebok tennis shoes. The Bottom line, if he had somewhere to go and couldn't get a ride, he would just GO!  There is no greater example of this than when I was 6 years of age.  Unfortunately, I was stuck by a car and broke my leg.  A short time after getting my cast removed he made me walk 5 long miles with weak legs because he had somewhere important to GO.   Here is a funny story inspired by him; 9 years later while playing for a travel team and about to attend a CABA world series in Dallas,TX my sister who I lived with told me I couldn't go.  At the moment, she couldn't afford it.  I wish I could find that World Series ring we won, to show you I got there. "LOL,"  Sorry Afia something told me to GO!!! * (Many thanks to Mr. Owings for letting me crash with them and thanks for feeding me) This is the trait I probably admire most about my dad and paid the closest attention to.  He always moved with a purpose!

Don’t let a family issue stop you, find the positives!!!
Why tell this story?  It’s not for anyone to feel sympathy for my dad or family, but to inspire others who have faced or currently dealing with similar matters.  If anyone in your family has issues like alcoholism, depression, anger management, or my case schizophrenia I encourage them to not dwell on those matters.  I recommend taking a deep breath and think it can always be worst.  Maybe learn something from them!!! Try not to play the victim because the real victim is the one who needs your help. By the way, he wasn’t so mentally ill after all.  He said his son was going to play MLB baseball and he did!!!!!

My Biggest Disappointment in Baseball Was Still a Dream Come True!!!!

As a boy, I had one thing on my mind and that was baseball.  Growing up in St.Thomas, U.S.V.I in the 1990s, it was easy to fall in love with the Atlanta Braves.  Names like John Smoltz, Rafael Billiard, Otis Nixon, Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, David Justice, and Tom Glavine come to mind very easily. In my household I was the benefactor of being the last child, which we all know comes with several advantages. So I always won the television.  With access to TBS on cable, naturally I became an Atlanta Braves fan and only dreamed of wearing a Braves uniform.  Terry Pendleton was my inspiration to become a switch hitter so I often pretended to be him any time I had a bat in my hands.  Though it took many years to become a switch hitter, my admiration for Mr. Pendleton, and my love for the Atlanta Braves only grew stronger.  After much prayer and my relentless begging, my mother allowed the move to Stone Mountain, GA. A mere 25 minutes from Atlanta’s Turner Field. 
 
High School in Georgia
I arrived at Stone Mountain High School a program not known for strong baseball.  Immediately I met a friend who got me placed on a travel team with Brandon Phillips (MLB All-Star) and many others solid players.  I was primed for success living in the perfect area for high school baseball.  Later that year by the grace of God I was introduced to a travel organization named the Gwinnett Tigers a club out of Duluth,Ga.  I found myself on a team that would feature 3 future major leaguers; Micah Owings, Brian McCann and myself.  Not to be forgotten was Brad Mccann Brian’s older brother an absolute stud who went on to star at Clemson University, and later play in the Florida Marlins Minor League System.  Matt Handley our best pitcher at the time was also a stud, sorry Micah.  We all had dreams of playing Major League baseball and shared that often.  After two years of high school baseball I had a good idea I would get drafted.  A scout named Rob English got me an invitation to the Braves Pre Draft workout just before the 2000 draft.  Let’s just say; I have never been so excited in my life!   I pretty much told everyone at my school the Atlanta Braves loved me, and was going to draft me.  Never mind I had no idea .LOL.   On 6/10/2000 I received a call saying congratulations you were selected by the Atlanta Braves as the 970th player in the MLB Draft by Rob English.  I said in my head "yes" I was a millionaire. "lol"  Several days later I was told they wanted to follow me at Young Harris College and give me a shot later if I had developed.  I never played for the Atlanta Braves but my dream to play at Turner Field remained!

8 Years later
After 6 years in the Milwaukee Brewers Minor League system I was selected in the MLB Rule 5 draft, a draft designed to give players left unprotected from a major league roster a shot at the Big Leagues. In 2008 I went to Padres spring training a long shot to make the 25 man roster, and after a strong spring I made that team.  The day Buddy Black told me I was going to be a Major League Player I cried tears of joy.  One of my greatest days to date is calling my mother and telling her I was going to be a MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER.   On 5/5/2008 after much anticipation I made my trip to Turner Field and guess what I did?  I cried like a baby and no one knew it!!!! My dream came true, I was about to step foot on Turner Field as a major leaguer.  My greatest mentors, friends and family finally got the chance to see me live my dream at Turner Field!!!! Names like Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira were Atlanta Braves.  Guess what?  Greg Maddux was my teammate pretty crazy stuff!!!!  Dream come true?  I still hadn’t played on the field yet.
 
Finally got my chance.
First game of the 3 game set; I get no action.  A pinch-hit appearance the second night.  I walked up to home plate and guess who is catching?  Brian McCann, my friend who had a huge part in making my dream a reality.  I arrive at home plate and Brian says; Callix how cool is this.   I answer back; dude its sick!!!  The pitcher is Manny Acosta a reliever I faced at least a dozen times in the Minor Leagues; someone I hit well.   First pitch, right down the middle but I took it because I was leading off the inning.  No worries I reminded myself; saying I am about to go big fly.   Second pitch; he throws a nice sinker, and I swung out of my size 10 shoes hitting the weakest ground ball of my life to Mark Teixeira.  Da** it, I say out loud! I got one more day.
 
My last time stepping foot on a Major League Field in Game Action
I show up to the park early hoping to be in the starting line up.  Buddy Black on other occasions let me know if I was starting the next day but didn't do so this time.  No line up was posted early that morning.  After 30 mins in the batting cages; I enter the locker room and to my liking a lineup posted 1) Brian Giles RF2) Callix Crabbe 2B.  Heart rate elevates immediately!  I get out there early living my dream; signing autographs, quickly chatting with friends, and living it up!  Oh my goodness I never had so much adrenaline pumping in my body!!!  I am trying to act cool but dude I am wired like a Starbucks coffee with 16 shots of espresso!!! By the way at the time I didn’t drink much coffee and didn’t drink any that day! First pitch 1:05pm. First at bat; base on balls and scored a run.  First defensive inning; 1st play of the game Yunel Escobar hits a slow roller; I make a barehanded play.  Guess what?  My throw is a little too far right.  Ball goes in the dugout, and he advances to second base on my throwing error!  Oh god this can’t be happening; I said to myself.  Six innings go by and we are winning 4-1.  Atlanta Braves outfielder Matt Diaz hits a cue shot to second base which is coming to me like a squirrel running away from a dog and its goes right through my legs.  Error # 2.  The Braves score 4 runs over the next few innings; 3 of which happened right after error #2.  We lost 5-4.  I go 0-4 with a walk, run scored and 1 line out to Chipper Jones.  Padres record 12-23.  
 
5/11/2008
After a quick 3 game home series against the Colorado Rockies, while packing my bags to head to Chicago’s Wrigley Field I get a squeeze on my shoulder saying Callix; Buddy needs to see you. I turn around and its one of the clubhouse attendants.  My heart stops beating I know my time in the big leagues has come to an end.  Team departs for Chicago and I never step foot on a MLB field again.
 
Dreams come true, just not with the ending we want.
Why I tell this story?  Because I want to inspire a young generation of athletes to not let anyone put unnecessary pressure on them.  Including themselves!!!!  We have a way in our culture of defining success based on accolades or a big bank account.  I believe this is harming our young athletes.  This belief is just an illusion.  Michael Jordan said” “Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”  Today’s worldly definition of success is an illusion!  It’s very easy for young kids to have the image of MVP awards, world cup victories, grand slams, or national titles to feel successful.  Success for some is daring to chase after their dreams even if that outcome isn't exactly what they hoped for.  There are far greater lessons learned chasing a dream than not chasing one.  You know what my success is?  Daring to believe in a dream many said I was crazy for believing in.  I am one of very few to make it to the Major Leagues from the US Virgin Islands which is great, but daring to try was even greater!!!!