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Ep. 6: ‘Just Roll With It’

The following is an excerpt from the script to Episode 6. 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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The great Ernie Harwell once said: “Baseball is a lot like life. It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.”

One thing you could add is, that with all those ups and downs, comes the incredibly unpredictable. Even the greatest players can have bad days. Even the most obscure can have great moments. That’s just the nature of the game. To succeed in baseball, you have to learn how to deal with those unpredictable moments that are sometimes out of your control.

As Cole Uvila embarked on the second half of the 2019 season, he was on a roll. He’d been pitching really well entering the All-Star break, a break that he used to refine and improve his curveball. He expected the pitch to take his game to an entirely new level. His first appearance of the second half came on June 22 at home against the Salem Red Sox, and it was a good sign – Cole pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three.

Then, the Down East Wood Ducks hit the road for the first of two rather long road trips over the next couple of weeks – a stretch in which they’d go 26 days without a day off.

Cole’s next outing came on June 25 in Zebulon North Carolina against the Carolina Mudcats, and this game was a perfect example of how unpredictable – even sometimes unfair — baseball can be. Cole entered in the 8th inning, protecting a 6-0 lead, and the outing started off well enough, with a strikeout. Then … things got a little weird.

He has a 2-2 count on the second hitter when a curveball comes in with a little more break than he anticipated … and it hits the batter in the foot.

Cole gets two strikes on the next batter, tries to throw a fastball up in the strike zone – remember that’s a big focus for him – but he leaves it a bit too low and it’s laced up the middle.

Cole strikes out the next guy, so he can now get out of the jam with any out. But the next hitter …

COLE: “The third guy had a swinging bunt which was a two-strike changeup that he was fooled on and just barely got the bat on it, it was as if he bunted it down the third baseline. …So the swinging bunt, I went over to field it and watched the guy run in. So that’s one run.”

Cole can still get out of it with an out, and it looks like he will when he coaxes a routine ground ball to third base …


Cole walks the next batter after a couple of borderline pitches are called balls, and that ends his night. He ends up getting tagged for four runs, and his ERA at Down East climbed from 2.48 to 3.64. The crazy thing about all of this was … he was throwing hard and had control of his pitches. He felt really good.

COLE: “It was just kind of the way the game goes sometimes. It can be pretty unforgiving. … it wasn’t like some ugly beating myself up about. Because it’s more … the results are important and it is a production game, and it is crummy to come out and not get out of an inning for your team.. Obviously for those reasons I was disappointed but for the process I guess kind of like the bigger picture, I felt really good, I felt like I had command of three pitches, which has been at times a struggle for me. So I wasn’t like obviously excited about the outing, but it was, mentally it wasn’t as hard on me as maybe the box score would say.”

Games like this are tough, but it’s just one challenge in a sport full of them. Every day is full of ups and downs.

But Cole isn’t the only person dealing with the challenge of baseball. His fiancee Kayla has had to learn to adjust to the game as well …



Kayla: “Before all of this I was such a Type A person that wanted everything kind of, I wouldn’t say planned out but at least thought about you know? And now it’s just, I have zero say in anything, so I’ve quickly learned to kind of just go with the flow and like you know ‘we’ll figure it out as we go.’ So it’s definitely different for me but it’s pretty fun, too.”

Kayla and Cole started dating in the summer of 2015, when Cole was home after his junior season at Georgia State. They had a natural way of getting along and she was drawn to Cole’s easy-going humor and positive energy.

KAYLA: “I mean it just felt real natural. He’s such an easy person to get along with. He’s very welcoming and kind but also, it felt like we had so much in common and like moreso I just enjoyed his company more than anything, and then I just like obviously fell in love with him. He’s just a good person to be around. … He’s very personable. He is very easy to talk to. It never feels forced like conversation, even from Day 1. And he’s just hilarious. … He’s just always making people laugh. Loves to be the center of attention and that’s just, I love that type of energy and atmosphere and it was just so much fun from the very beginning.”

But as the summer wound down, there was a decision looming. Cole was returning to Georgia State for his senior year. What were they going to do? Was it a summer romance or something more? It was an all or nothing situation.

KAYLA: “And then I was like well it just didn’t make sense to stop talking, or not try. So it was just, we went all in and we’ll figure it out as we go. We’re still kind of figuring it out being far apart from each other. But it’s not, I mean you learn to deal with it, you know?”

They might not have known it at the time, but it turned out that Cole’s remaining time at Georgia State was simply good training for the future. Since he was drafted in 2018, Cole has been assigned to Arizona for spring training, to Spokane, in the Eastern half of Washington State, and this season, to two stops in North Carolina. Where he’ll be in the future is anybody’s guess, and so Kayla has learned to adjust to the twists and turns of baseball, just like Cole has.

KAYLA: “I feel like at the beginning it was kind of hard because I had a million questions, but then he was like you know ‘I’ve got no answers, so we’re going to figure it out as we go.’ And I’m like ‘ok.’ So now I just am really just go with the flow and we’ll see what happens and just kind of enjoy the ride I guess.”

How they do it is a lot of communication. They Facetime every night before bed, even if it’s just a few minutes at the end of a long bus trip. And Cole has found that he has time to text her during the day, an advantage to being a pitcher and not having to take batting practice, or infield.

COLE: “There’s a lot of time to text back and forth, to stay in the loop with what she’s doing. And yeah we just, it’s obviously not ideal, but I think for, because our relationship started with long distance pretty much I mean we met in the summer of 2015 and then I had to go back to school in Georgia. So I mean I think all things considered we’ve handled it pretty well and like I said it’s not ideal but we do get the whole offseason together. She tries to come out once a month and it’s been, all things considered a pretty good transition.”

*** *** ***


Written and produced by Bob Harkins.


Theme song: “Rip My Jeans” —

Broke For Free — “If

Ari De Niro — “Questing

Jahzzar — “Trust

(All music edited for time purposes)


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