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A Trying Time for West and Mavericks

on 07/14/2003 wishes to thank High Desert beat writer Michael Rothstein and the folks at the Victor Valley Daily Press in Victorville, California, for allowing us to re-print the following diary:

>From July 2nd:

Hello Maverick fans! The past few weeks have been a big roller-coaster for myself. It started with the All-Star break and some much needed rest; then continued with two of my good friends leaving the High Desert ball club; and it all concludes with some renewed enthusiasm toward the second half of the season.

The All-Star break couldn't have come at a better time. We finished the first half with a dismal 25-45 record and as a team we needed to get away from baseball for a few days and refocus towards our goals.

A lot of guys left town and a few stayed in High Desert but the common goal was to get our minds off baseball for a few days and come back refueled and ready to turn this season around.

I stayed around my apartment and went to Los Angeles for a day to visit a mall and the beach. It was a good time and when it was time to come back to the ballpark, I felt refreshed and ready to go.

I also had to deal with some personal loss in the past week or so. Pete Smart, my roommate this season and a teammate for the past three years, decided to retire from the game. I recall his emotions as I drove him to the airport and they were really mixed.

He just kept saying, "This doesn't feel right" as he packed up his belongings at our apartment.

Returning from an injury is always a tough deal and with Pete already having a Master's degree, he felt it was time to step down and try the 'real world.' I am sure he will be very successful as Pete is a prodigy and very smart.

Mark Ernster, another close friend of mine on the Mavericks this year, was given his release papers from the Brewers. This is a very frightening reality that every baseball player has to go through during their career.

I started playing baseball when I was four years old in Houston, and it's very scary to think it could come to an abrupt end. While it doesn't provide much job security, it sure makes you value being a baseball player and makes everyday coming to the park enjoyable.

I hope Mark recovers from his leg injury as quick as possible and can be picked up by another baseball organization as he is a very good baseball player and a quality individual.

As far as myself, I've been busy with paperwork from the University of Texas. I am planning on returning to Austin, Texas this off-season to finish my degree program and graduate. I still have the same drive and goals to make it to the major leagues and be a successful big leaguer, but having a backup plan is a wise decision.

My major is sports management so regardless my career field will be involving athletics in some form. I've also been busy trying to find an apartment in Austin through the Internet. One major problem is with a school with a 50,000 undergraduate enrollment, a lot of apartments near campus are filled.

On the field, we've been working hard to try and get this season changed and get back on the right track. We're starting to get a few more guys back healthy which will help.

Brad Nelson coming back to the lineup in full-strength can help our offense out immensely. I think our attitude has changed a little bit also. We're starting to have more fun and relax a little bit which hopefully can translate into victories for us.

Talking to the guys on this year's Double-AA (Huntsville) squad, they say their clubhouse is a really relaxed and has a fun environment.

Obviously they are winning a lot so hopefully we can take some notes from them and find our own niche as a team and get back to winning ways.

Thanks for all the support all season long!

Any questions for the High Desert Mavericks can be sent to


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