View Mobile Site
 

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

Complete Game: The Story of Andrew Lorraine, Part 2 of 3

Posted: July 26, 2009 10:06 p.m.
Updated: July 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Andrew Lorraine poses for a picture as a senior at Hart High. During his final year with the Indians, Lorraine was 9-0 with a 0.91 ERA.

View More »
 
“I was totin’ my pack along the long dusty Winnemucca road,

When along came a semi with a high an’ canvas-covered load.

“If you’re goin’ to Winnemucca, Mack, with me you can ride.”

And so I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside.

He asked me if I’d seen a road with so much dust and sand.

And I said, “Listen, I’ve traveled every road in this here land!”

— from the song “I’ve Been Everywhere”
Written by Geoff Mack, sung by Johnny Cash (amongst others)

Andrew Lorraine is the everywhere man.

The Hart High School graduate turned professional baseball player is a journeyman, having played in the Major Leagues, Minor Leagues, independent leagues, Italian League and even a league in Taiwan.

In the song “I’ve Been Everywhere,” which fittingly has been used to advertise a hotel chain, Johnny Cash rattles off a rolling rhythm of cities in four verses.

He mentions 92 locations.

Lorraine has pitched in 23 of them.

And he’s still trying to pitch.

Through the first couple of months of 2009, the 17-year professional pitcher has struggled to find work despite pitching well in the 2009 Caribbean World Series.

The 36-year-old has never given up hope that he will pitch again in the Major Leagues.

The first step, though, is pitching anywhere professionally.

In May, everywhere appears to have a new stop — Fullerton.

But June offers a baseball detour.


May

Early in the month, Lorraine agreed to play for the Orange County Flyers in Fullerton of the independent Golden Baseball League.

The Golden Baseball League’s season starts later than many national professional leagues, so it was the right fit for Lorraine.

The league is in its fifth year.

Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco have played in the GBL, and a double-digit number of players have been signed by Major League organizations and assigned to their Minor League affiliates.

“Nothing’s guaranteed,” Lorraine says of a season-long job with the Flyers.

Actually, he was invited to the team’s spring training; there’s a chance he won’t even make the team.

Lorraine says he almost signed with a Mexican League team, but chose this opportunity instead.

The Orange County Flyers opened the 2009 season May 25 against the Chico Outlaws.

Lorraine wasn’t on the team.


May

Melissa, or Missie as she likes to be called, has been married to Andrew Lorraine for 11 years.

In the last 11 years, she has lived and traveled across in the United States. She lived in Canada, Taiwan and Italy. She packed up and moved by herself while she was seven months pregnant. All because of baseball.

“I find it odd when I’m here for too long,” she says from her home in Scottsdale, Ariz. “When I’m here five or six months straight, I think, ‘We’re supposed to be traveling.’”

She wasn’t even a baseball fan growing up.

Missie followed hockey and football.

But a friend of hers named Wendy had a brother who was in Major League Baseball — former outfielder Matt Luke.

Through Wendy, Lorraine and Missie met at a sports bar while Lorraine was on the California Angels.

Their journey began.

Lorraine played in parts of seven Major League seasons for seven different teams — the Angels, Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers. He played for 13 different Minor League clubs.

Missie can recall every one of Lorraine’s locations, too, but not necessarily in order.

“I love the travel, meeting new people, seeing new places,” she says. “I would have never picked Taiwan to live or visit, but it was one of those things because of baseball. I ended up loving it. It was one of the greatest experiences.”

Traveling the baseball road, Missie says there are wives and girlfriends who get sick of the grind and are vocal about it.

She says she has always been open-minded and not bad-mouthed it.

There was no trash pickup when the Lorraines were in Italy, so they had to drive for 25 minutes to dispose of their garbage.

While in Taiwan, a player’s wife complained about not being able to throw her trash away while she was at a merchant’s shop.

Trash pickup is not regular in Taiwan like in the United States, Missie says. So merchants don’t want their trash to fill up quickly.

Missie insists that there has been no wear from the travel.

She supports her husband’s decisions.


May

His former high school teammate calls Missie a saint.

“There are a good dozen times where I would have turned my back and walked away (on the game),” says Casey Burrill. “He has said, ‘No, I’ll play somewhere else.’”

Burrill, a former catcher, played on the 1989 CIF-Southern Section Division 4A finalist Hart baseball team with Lorraine before moving on to play at USC.

Burrill played in the minor leagues for two seasons, 1994 and 1995 in the Atlanta Braves organization before calling it a career.

He is the head coach at West Ranch High, one of Hart’s Foothill League rivals.

Burrill has also stayed close with Lorraine over the years.

“Honestly, I think it’s a blind devotion to the game of baseball,” Burrill says of Lorraine. “Even though the guy’s got an (American Studies) degree from Stanford, he wants no part of cubicle, no part of a laptop, or making a sales call. He wants to put on the spikes, warm up and get somebody out at the plate.”

Burrill suggested Lorraine become a coach, but the former big leaguer refuses to go that route.

His will is unshakable.

“Andrew hasn’t changed since his junior year in high school,” Burrill says. “There’s nothing different. Same speed. Same horrible-looking delivery. Same stubbornness as a (high school) junior.”

Burrill says he respects his friend for believing in himself.

He also says Lorraine’s intelligence is beyond average.

He adds: “It would be a travesty if he took that Stanford degree and used it somewhere (other than baseball).”


June

Andrew asks from New York state: “You haven’t heard what’s up with me?”

Lorraine left the Flyers because of another opportunity.

Hamptons Collegiate Baseball, a lesser-known (in comparison to the Cape Cod and Alaskan summer leagues) summer wood-bat league in the seaside resort area of Long Island, N.Y., offered Lorraine a head-coaching position.

The job was set up after Lorraine e-mailed a friend, who recommended him to another friend in the organization.

Lorraine would lead the Southampton Breakers for the two-month season.

“I’m trying to create more opportunities for myself and finding out if I like it or not,” he says.

Lorraine says he might be able to return to the Flyers in late summer.

This would further his reputation as a “journeyman,” a word that to some has a negative connotation.

It could mean a player who bounces from city to city, never finding a true home.

But it could also be positive, as in a player who has longevity.

“I think it’s pretty applicable,” Lorraine says. “I don’t know if that’s a negative connotation, but it definitely applies to one who perseveres. ... You don’t choose to be a journeyman, you end up one.”

And Lorraine isn’t about to let go of the journey.

He still thinks about pitching in the Major Leagues, between moments of thinking about his team and his family.

There are tough days.

He takes the losses tougher, he says, because when you’re a pitcher, you hurt the most when the loss is in a game you pitched. As a coach, every game is your game.

Other tough days are ones like Father’s Day.

This Father’s Day, rain beat down on the Hamptons and the Breakers’ game was cancelled.

“It was hard,” Lorraine says of not seeing his son, Mason, this Father’s Day.

The Flyers started off the season 1-10.

The Breakers started it 1-4.

Comments

Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

 
 

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...