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Ep. 4: ‘It’s not career ending’

The following is an excerpt from the script to Episode 4. Click on the embed above to listen to the full episode, or you can subscribe to Razed Sports on your favorite podcast app.


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As we left episode 3, Cole Uvila was unhappy with himself. After his promotion to Advanced-A, with the Down East Wood Ducks of the Carolina League, he had started well. But through the bulk of May he had some struggles. After giving up just the second homer of his professional career early in the month, he went through a stretch of five straight appearances in which he allowed at least one run.

So he thought about what was going on, and what he could do about it. He figured out he had to make some changes. And he did. He replaced his slider with a curveball and he worked to keep his fastball higher in the strike zone. He thought that would be a tough combination for hitters – at least in the long run, once he sharpened his curveball, and could control it better. Naturally, there would be some growing pains as he adjusted to the curve and struggled with his command.

COLE: “I kind of need to work more than most on refining my craft. I’m still kind of like a raw pitcher, I would say … I think the command and control part is what needs the most work.”

But as Cole was working to improve his command, especially of the curveball, there was good stuff happening, too. Quite a bit, actually. On May 24 against the Carolina Mudcats, Cole struck out four batters in two scoreless innings. On the 29th against Salem, he whiffed two in 1 2/3. In all, he allowed just one run over his next seven appearances as the Wood Ducks crept closer to the mid-June All-Star break. The early signs signaled that the changes just might be working.

Cole its not career ending.pngCole its not career ending.png

Meanwhile, back in Washington. Cole’s father Steve had been deep in a transition of his own – he was getting back into the hobby he loved – drag racing.

With Steve’s son having started his pro baseball career, and his daughter Ashlynn off to the University of North Dakota playing softball, he had time for racing again. He had bought one of his old cars back from a buddy who’d held onto it for 27 years – yes, the car pre-dated Cole. Steve started tuning it up, taking it to the track again.

STEVE: “It’s a white 1967 Camaro called Thumper. And it’s got ‘Thumper’ down the side of it and a big rabbit painted on it. It’s kinda old school cool and a lot of the kids love it. It’s known around and whatnot. It’s been a race car since 1971, so it’s got history.”


The car has history, just as racing is a part of Steve’s history, and in a way, Cole’s, too. And that history is complex and runs deep. It involves a decision Steve made years ago. A decision that changed everything, though, as we’ll find out, not forever. Sometimes, things can come full circle.

That’s what happened on June 2, 2019.

It was a Sunday. Cole was with his Down East team, in Virginia, for a series against the Lynchburg Hillcats. Steve was in Walla Walla in the south-east corner of Washington state, for a drag race event. He had Thumper there and he was signed up to compete in the sportsman class.

The sportsman class is a little different from what you typically might see on TV. It’s not just about pouring money into your car to make it the biggest, baddest, fastest car on the track. In these races, the cars are handicapped against each other. Basically, if your car gets down the quarter-mile track a second faster than your opponent, then your opponent gets a one-second head start. It evens the playing field, so typically the best driver should win, regardless of who has the faster car.

As Steve starts prepping for what he hopes will be a long day at the track, he texts Cole across the country to let him know how things are going. The field is set up kind of like the NCAA basketball tournament, in that it’s a bracket. If you win, you advance, if you lose, your day is done. The winner on this day would have to take five straight races to earn the trophy.

STEVE: “I was sending him texts during the day, ‘hey I’m at the drags, this is what’s going on.’ Keeping him kind of updated you know. … After I won my second round I come back to the pits and I go ‘huh, this could be my day!’”

*** *** ***


Written and produced by Bob Harkins.


Theme song: “Rip My Jeans” —

Jahzzar — “Dummy”, “Candlelight

Juanitos — “Jimmy H Boogaloo

Soda Caustica — “No. 2

(All music edited for time purposes)


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