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Phillies prospect's blog is downright bush league

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Hey, have you heard the story about the magic quarter that a couple of the Gulf Coast League Phillies pitchers have?

Gulf Coast League's Brian Gump (left) with Luis Melendez, the outfield/hitting coach.
Gulf Coast League's Brian Gump (left) with Luis Melendez, the outfield/hitting coach.Read moreBrian Gump blog photo

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Hey, have you heard the story about the magic quarter that a couple of the Gulf Coast League Phillies pitchers have?

Well, you would have if you'd discovered the blog being written by GCL Phillies leftfielder Brian Gump, who takes a wryly amused look at life on the lowest rung of professional baseball's ladder in the continental United States.

It's perspective through the eyes of a 22-year-old, 26th-round draft choice from UC-Santa Barbara. It's an honest, yet never cynical, peek at living in a hotel across from the ballpark, getting by on minimal meal money, dreaming about the big leagues.

He has written about the buzz in the clubhouse when pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson and infielder Jason Donald were traded to the Indians for lefthander Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco, two big-leaguers.

A number of the pitchers seemed to have a little hop in their step when they were walking out the door today, that's because they probably just moved up the depth chart two spots . . .

To a vast majority of the country, the four minor leaguers don't mean a lot until they arrive in the big leagues. For us minor leaguers in the Phillies farm system . . . [trading] those four prospects mean that four spots just opened up and it also means that four friends/acquaintances/competitors [are gone].

Gump was an English major in college. The blog, it seems, is a result of that, plus the fact that GCL teams play a lot of games under the merciless Florida midday sun and then are through for the day.

"You know, we have a ton of down time," he explained recently. "We're always looking for things to do. So I thought, 'Why not?' I thought I'd try it and when I first started doing it, it was pretty exciting. So I just kept doing it."

He has no firm idea of where this might lead.

"I was thinking about maybe talking to people at my school and seeing if they wanted to put it on their athletic [Web] site. Obviously the more exposure the better. If I do this enough maybe I could make a book out of it. We'll see."

He has written about seeing his roommate, Jakub Sladek, from the Czech Republic, released.

I was quickly slapped in the face with an ugly reality of minor league baseball, people lose their jobs if they don't perform and perform quickly . . . I really didn't get a proper chance to say goodbye . . . It all happened so fast.

Baseball has always had a "what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse" ethos, but Gump's teammates are among his biggest fans.

"They tell me they get back to the hotel and can't wait to log on and check it out and see what I have to say that day," he said with a laugh. "I didn't expect that. They're always asking me to name-drop, to mention them or put their picture in there."

So far, the on-field part of his GCL experience has been positive, too. Through his first 25 games he was batting .325 with six stolen bases and a .404 on-base percentage.

The biggest lesson has been that there's a big difference between what he expected professional baseball to be like and the reality.

"It's not as glamorous, obviously, especially down here," he said. "You don't think about playing in front of 10 people every day. Or the heat of Florida. I really didn't expect that, at least not prior to being drafted by the Phillies. But I'm not complaining. It's been a fun ride so far."

He has written about the unwritten rules of baseball.

Absolutely no pooping on the bus. I'm pretty sure that is a universal rule, though.

"I really don't know how many people read it," he said. "I'm always surprised when just random people message me or text me or something to tell me how much they like it and keep doing it. I've gotten a lot of encouragement to keep it up."

There's a quote of the day, links to both the Phillies' Web site and the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos site. There's a glimpse of what he has been reading lately, a game report and biographical info. But the biggest reason to click here are the posts including, of course, the one about the magic quarter.

It seems that Chad Poe and Colby Shreve found it on their nightstand. Unable to decide whether to go out to dinner or order in, they decided to flip the coin to decide. It instructed them to go out. They did, and had a good time.

"Upon returning to the hotel they were impressed with the wisdom that this piece of currency demonstrated," Gump wrote.

Subsequently, the two pitchers plus Jarred Cosart used it to decide whether to attend a friendly poker game in a teammate's room. Poe and Cosart were advised to stay away, Shreve was given a green light. Naturally, Shreve won and the others lost.

Gump wrote: For fear that the quarter's magic is not limitless, its powers are sparingly used by the superstitious pitchers. They were willing to let me see it, but to call on a demonstration strictly for the sake of this blog would be an irresponsible waste of magic and possibly anger the quarter.

Good stuff. Check it out at www.briangump.blogspot.com.