The ball crossed the plate for a called third strike Tuesday night as York Revolution outfielder Eric Patterson stood in the box for the final out of the seventh inning at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
Patterson didn't agree with the call, dropping his bat and staring at home plate umpire Chase Edmonson. But even in some of the most frustrating situations that the game of baseball can present to a player, Patterson refuses to be negative. In this case, he smiled at Edmonson and had a light-hearted conservation about the call.
"Everyone is gonna have their ups and their downs," Patterson said Tuesday. "For me, I try to turn everything into a positive. In the big scheme of things we're playing a game. We're out there to have fun."
It's that positive attitude that Patterson, a former big leaguer, stuck with during the first month or so of the 2013 season, when he batted .221 with just seven extra-base hits, including two homers, in his first 21 games. In his next 22 games through Tuesday, Patterson compiled a .320 average with 15 extra-base hits, seven of them homers.
"It's just baseball. Even those first 21 games I didn't have a lot of hits but I felt like I was hitting the ball good," Patterson said. "Sometimes it's tough luck, where you hit the ball hard right at guys. I made some adjustments."
York's leadoff man for much of this season, Patterson could be the next Revs' player to get picked up by a major league organization if he keeps up his hot hitting.
A 5-foot, 11-inch speedster with the ability to play the outfield and middle infield, Patterson last played in the big leagues in 2011 with the San Diego Padres. Originally drafted in the eighth round by the Chicago Cubs in 2004, he made his major league debut with the Cubs in 2007, just two weeks after moving to the outfield for the first time in his career with the Cubs' Class AAA Iowa affiliate.
"I think (Cubs' outfielder Alfonso) Soriano got hurt and I got called up. It was pretty crazy," Patterson said. "I probably wasn't ready to play in the outfield in the major leagues. But what are you gonna do, say 'No. I'm not ready to play the outfield in the major leagues?'"
The brother of former big leaguer Corey Patterson and son of former NFL player Don Patterson, Eric Patterson has a career .217 batting average in 226 games in the big leagues, where he has never gotten a chance to play everyday.
"It's just something that never happened," Patterson said. "But at the same time, some guys don't get an opportunity at all (to play in the majors). I'm not gonna sit here and whine and complain about it. Obviously I've had opportunities. I've had multiple opportunities. I wasn't able to perform, I guess, to the expectations they (major league organizations) had."
Patterson, 30, is hoping to get another shot in the big leagues, even though he feels it likely wouldn't be in an everyday role. Of course, he's looking at the bright side. His ability to play multiple positions is what's keeping big-league organizations attracted to him in his ninth year as a pro.
"In the long run, it's something that ... I fought it at first (being a good utility player) but you gotta look at the big scenario, now it's more beneficial to me," he said.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.