DUNEDIN, Fla. – Two Thursdays ago, the phone rang at 4 in the morning in Adam Simber’s Dunedin hotel room, it never gets better.
“Hi, Adam – your wife’s water has just broken. He is going to work, ”said a friendly hotel employee, startled. “I’ll take you to her.”
Cimber immediately arrived for his cell phone. It was silent. One million missed calls. See, Simber has a light sleep and usually keeps her phone vibrating all night, because its low roar in the nightstand is reliably enough to wake her up. But this special sleep follows the arrival of a late night on a cross-country flight the day before, a little sleep before the morning physical, and a full day of spring training activities with a bullpen. Dude deleted.
In Simber’s defense, Lauren was not due to give birth a week later. Also, on the bright side, he now knows how to shape his day to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. It’s safe to say that Lauren did not look that way. As soon as she was reunited with her husband, Lauren offered her a choice of two flight options to take her home to Scottsdale, Ariz., That morning. Perhaps generous to call it a choice. There was one who thought he should be taken. He was already on the booking page.
“My wife is great – she’s the clutch,” said Simber. “She is OK. But I think he will forgive me. I think it will make a good story. “
There is no doubt about it. Simber packed some shirts and socks in her backpack, flew to Tampa Airport, briefly caught a connecting flight to Chicago, and arrived at HonorHealth Shia Medical Center in Scottsdale within an hour before Lauren River Christian delivered Simber. And -3-fourth-inch, 7-pound, 1-ounce boy – the couple’s first child. Everyone is healthy, happy. Simber is still married, thank you.
“Yeah, I’m a fool,” he said. “But it was a blessing that it happened so quickly – because it was supposed to happen at a time when I could miss real games. I still had some FOMO when I was in Arizona – it was just the first week of camp and we got the boys team here, and we were building that momentum. But at the same time, it’s like, ‘I can’t leave this kid.’ So, coming back was a mixed feeling. It was sweet not to be here – and not to be there now. “
It was only a nine-month high-pressure in a Blue Jess uniform for Simba, which adds, which was acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins last June. The Blue Jays didn’t just ask Simber (and, to a lesser extent, Trevor Richards, who took over a separate trade a week later) to stabilize their bullpen after two months of uninterrupted melting – they told him to carry it.
No Blue Jess reliever has thrown more than Cimber’s 37.1 innings since July 1. He has appeared in 39 of Toronto’s 84 games since the acquisition, pitching seven back-to-back days. During a critical stretch in late September, when high-volume relievers like the Simbar became their most worn out, the 31-year-old was asked to pitch five times in seven days. He retired 15 of the 17 batsmen and did not allow a single run.
Such was the importance and reliability of Simbar, who worked at 1.69 ERA more than the presence of those 39 Blue Jays, making 30 outs in just five walks. The Blue Jays can’t get into a game in the post-season with enough innings load on the shoulders of side-armor with such a high level of efficiency. He finished the season with a career-high 71.2 innings pitch and a career-low 2.26 ERA.
Now, physically, Simba didn’t feel her best in the end. How can he? He can throw a slow MLB fastball – Cimber’s 87-mph average fastball speed was 743rd out of 753 pitchers to throw a heater at the majors last season – while a good amount of sink to work, depending on a submarine delivery. And down a Frisbee slider zone and generate poor communication. But last season he faced all the batsmen except 30 MLB reliever, finishing in the 16th league-wide innings.
There is a lot of work you will never see to do in order to maintain the work pressure – hours on the training table, in the weight room, under the hot and cold tub water. Especially for an athlete like Simba, whose biological tendencies are, oh, let’s say that. He’s loading multiple plates from post-game spreads and grinding peanut butter sandwiches before bed to maintain weight in season.
Of course, if he was still pitching for the Marlins, crossing the 2021 finish line as strong as Simber would have been a different challenge. Miami wasn’t going anywhere fast and finished with 95 losses. But the trade was reviving in Toronto with a play-off contestant, giving Simbar the mental strength to continue digging deeper into the tank.
“It doesn’t really matter how you feel when you’re very close and you’re in such a predicament – it’s like, ‘Tell me – let’s go,'” Simber said. “It’s a little easier to keep going day after day when you’re not hunting and you just want to pad your stats and finish a season. When you’re playing for something more than yourself, it’s easy to be like, ‘Screw it. Let’s roll. ‘ I think everyone was there last year. “
So it’s no surprise that while Simber was in Scottsdale for Rivera’s birth, he also threw away, hiding the benefits he worked off-season to get a bullpen. He also traveled to a nearby LA. To maintain his strength and conditioning routine he was able to get back to where he left off when he returned to fitness and camp.
Simber had just fallen asleep during that extended period, clinging to a couple of hours of sleep throughout the day – a small price to pay for excluding both personal and professional aspects of her life. He has always been a big coffee drinker. Moreso now, of course. But he is also tapping into some new energy sources.
“Dad’s strength definitely kicked. I would wake up and say, ‘Oh, okay, I have a baby now.’ And then I was in the race, “said Simber.” And, really, I still carry that energy around this clubhouse. It’s easy to get out of bed in the morning when you’re on the field playing for a really good team and the boys are hanging out with a good team. .
“I don’t think there is a team in the league that can be a big blessing to do business with. We have something special happening this year and for next year. So, I am just grateful and blessed to be a part of it. I can no longer be emotional about being around this group. “
There is no shortage of inspiration, then, for Simbar for his fifth MLB season, his second at Blue Jess Bullpen and his first preparation as a dad. The Blue Jays will undoubtedly call him as often as last year, throwing Simber’s unconventional arm slot to right-handed hitters in the sixth and seventh innings and counting on its soft-connecting material – Simber’s 3.8 percent barrel rate is the top four percent of MLB pitchers last season. – To help bail out teammates from the jam.
Remember, it’s not easy to do what Blue Jess tells him. To log heavy innings, to face constant leverage, to regularly enter the game with runners, as Simba did in almost half of his Blue Jays last season. But it’s not easy to survive in the MLB with just two pitches, including an 87-mile-hour fastball. Still, Simber finds a way.
And if he had gone the easy way, he probably would have left the ringer on his phone two Thursdays ago, wouldn’t he? And he probably wouldn’t have thrown that bullpen while his wife and newborn were asleep before going to a commercial gym for a quick workout. In the baseball world, Simba was always a little different. Nowadays, baseball is a little different to him.
“It definitely gives me a new perspective on why I’m here, what I’m doing. It’s not just about playing baseball for myself and seeing what kind of contract I can sign or something like that,” he said. “Every time I look at my phone , I look at my son, and I think, ‘I’ve been able to provide for this baby.’ It’s bad to be away from her, but I hope she realizes one day I’m doing it for a higher purpose – for her and for her family. “