Monday, December 28, 2009
This morning was the first day of our Christmas Vacation Baseball Camp. Needless to say, it was a very, very long day. We had 35 kids ages 7-12 for three hours. I think even more tired than my body is my throat. Seven and eight year old kids ask more questions than I would have ever imagined, and most of the questions have absolutely nothing to do with baseball. It's kind of like watching that old TV show, Kids Say the Darndest Things. Why are you wearing black shoes? Do you have any brothers? What color is your car? What's your dog's name? Questions aside it was a really great time.
On the plus side we only had one casualty, with a seven year old taking a thrown ball of the chest. Anytime you have young kids involved with moving objects you know somebody is going to get hit by something. There are still two days left so I'm sure this is just the beginning.
After camp was over I had to get my own swings in and give a few more hitting lessons. Overall it made for a really long day, but as long as there is baseball involved it makes things go by pretty fast. I've got some of my swings from today's workout below.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
This video was taped back in 2005 when I was a Sophomore at Wake Forest. I wanted to be the closer for us, but I was afraid I might hurt my arm or do something stupid and get injured. If my career as a hitter doesn't pan out atleast I have a back-up plan...just kidding. The coaching in the video is done by Hall of Fame Manager and National Cross Checker / General Manager Jack Antonelli.
Working on the catching skills. You never know when you'll have to bust them out.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Matt, I saw you were drafted out of high school. Why did you decide to go to college instead of turning pro?
Thanks for the question Quinn. I did get drafted out of high school to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Believe me, when I got drafted the first thing I thought was that I wanted to take the offer and play professional baseball. Playing pro ball was something I was working hard towards for a few years, so when I had an opportunity to go play it was really exciting. Before I could make a decision though, I needed to make sure I looked at all the facts and made the right choice.
Although I had always wanted to play professional baseball, I had always seen myself going to college and getting my degree. I had a scholarship to go play baseball at Wake Forest University, a very good academic and athletic school so I had a tough decision to make. I spoke with my agent and told him what I was thinking in regards to my decision. I told him that if the Dodgers would offer me $250,000 I would really have to think hard about my decision. It turned out that they would not offer me the amount I was asking for, so I decided to go to college.
Looking back, I am not sure I would have signed if the Dodgers had made the offer I was looking for. Turning down a college scholarship to play in the ACC, something I had always wanted to do, would have been extremely tough. The way I looked at it, I could go to college, get my degree, play college baseball, and get drafted again in a few years, hopefully even higher than I had been out of high school. I am glad I made the decision I made. I was able to play some exciting baseball and become friends with a lot of great people down at Wake Forest.
I think playing college baseball helped prepare me for professional baseball. I had the opportunity to play in the Cape Cod League during my summers, another really great experience. And after it was all said and done, I was drafted 18 rounds higher after my three years of college. I haven't had a chance to receive my college degree yet because I left school after my Junior year. At some point I would like to return to school and get it.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
My fantasy football team lost in the semi-finals this Sunday. I haven't come out of my room in three days because of it. I hate losing, especially when it has to do with football. My man Tom Brady didn't really bring the A game for me this week. I guess I'll find a way to get over it. I just don't want to listen to whoever wins the league yapping about it all Spring Training.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
School vacation is a great time to start getting seriously prepared for your outdoor baseball season. I will be running a Christmas Vacation Clinic Monday - Wednesday (Dec. 28th,29th and 30th) morning from 9:00 a.m. til 12:00 p.m. We will provide top level instruction with a staff that includes college coaches and college and professional players on the fundamentals of hitting, fielding, and throwing. The Clinic will take place at the newly renovated Strike One Complex in Danvers, MA. The camp will include a low student to instructor ratio. (6 to 1) We will have drill stations stressing baseball fundamentals with players grouped by age, along with competitions. There will be motivational talks on baseball and life skills. Every player will also receive a clinic T-shirt. The clinic will fill up fast so please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
Date: December 28th - 30th, 2009 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Ages: 7-12 (If you are 6 or 13 let me know your birthday we may be able to accommodate you)
Last year we held three winter camps for all different ages. Below is a quick shot of one of last years clinic.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
What are the living arrangement like when you are playing in the minor leagues?
Hey Craig thanks for the question. Depending on what team you play for and what league you are playing in, the living arrangements can be very different. My first year in the minor leagues I played in the Northwest League in Eugene, Oregon. I lived in a hotel that was about five minutes from our field. It was a very tiny hotel room and I even had a roommate. There were two beds in the room and a tiny TV and that is about it. I bought a bike to ride to the field since we didn't have any cars to get around.
I got moved up after two months and was sent to the Midwest League in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There I lived in an apartment that was located on a golf course. The apartment wasn't great by any stretch of the imagination, but after living in a hotel for two straight months I thought I had a penthouse apartment at the Ritz. I had two roommates in a two bedroom apartment, so one of my roommates slept in the living room on the sofa. The guy was 6'6'' and almost 300 pounds. Why he wanted to sleep on the sofa, I don't know, but he enjoyed it and I had my own room so I wasn't going to complain.
The next season I was sent to the California League in Lake Elsinore, California. There I stayed with a host family. Out of all the places I have stayed to date, this was by far the best. I stayed with a great family less than ten minutes away from the field. I couldn't have asked for better host parents, as they turned out being my home away from home. I still see them every Spring Training and stay in touch throughout the off-season. After three months I was moved to San Antonio, Texas where I once again moved into an apartment, this time I only had one roommate. The place was really nice, but it was almost thirty minutes from the field. That turns out being a pretty big pain when you are driving that far back and forth every single day of the week.
The next year I played in Portland, Oregon, where I again had a roommate in an apartment. When I got called up to San Diego I lived in a hotel downtown. It was really nice to have my place be so close to the stadium and also have so many restaurants within walking distance. This past year I lived in an apartment again, but instead stayed by myself since I missed almost two months at the beginning of the season. The apartment was kind of old and not the greatest, but it was literally a stone throw away from the park which turned out great.
As you an see, I have lived pretty much every way possible. One thing about playing baseball is you learn how to adapt to your surroundings, which are always changing and find a way to make the best of it.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
We flew out there on Southwest, which from my experience is much better than any of the other airlines, with the exception of maybe Jet Blue. The only bad part about Southwest is picking your own seats. I like the option, but if you are given a C ticket or something like B40 you are destined for a middle seat, and that's the last thing you want on a cross country trip. Anyone with an A ticket or a high B number guard the thing like its their first born child. A lady almost ripped my head off when she had B5 and noticed I was holding a B9 and was standing next to her. "I'm a B5!" she screamed at me from six inches away. "Congratulations!" I went and stood two people behind her. Like Lloyd Christmas says, some people just aren't cut out for life on the road.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Anyways, I am still upset about Sunday's Pats loss to the Dolphins. I made so many bets with everyone I possibly could during the baseball season that the Pats would be unbelievable just like they were in 2007. I was wrong I'll admit it. Spring Training is definitely not going to be fun with all the money I'll have to dish out to free dinners because of it. I bet as many people as I could that the Patriots would have a better record at the end of the year than the Chargers. Most of the guys in our organization are obviously Chargers fans, so I thought my bet would be money. I think I owe like 7 people free dinners when I get there. I told them when I made the bet, "Don't forget McDonald's is not a restaurant!" I wish I could take that back now.
I went hitting yesterday and made it through a whole session without my hands bleeding like the first time around. My swing feels really good for it being only my second time hitting. I am pretty excited. This Saturday I went into Boston to buy a shirt and tie for this wedding I am going to. It was a crappy day out with some snow so I figured I would be the only person in the city shopping. I was definitely wrong. The place was packed. I took my dad's truck in because my car can't drive in the snow and it ended up backfiring. I am a horrible parallel parker as it is, but with his truck there was no chance I could fit into some of the small parking spots. I ended up circling the city like five times before I decided to find a parking garage and pay the outrageous cost. I ended up buying a black shirt and a black tie to go with my black suit. My favorite color for clothes as you can probably tell is black, but I am not sure if maybe I went a little overboard.
The one bad part about not being home this weekend is that I'm going to have to go look for a bar to watch the Pats game. I usually watch at a place called The Moon, which is right across the street from our Spring Training facility. I'm thinking I'll be watching it over there again. I have a big day on Sunday. Not only are the Pats now playing for their playoff lives, but my fantasy football playoffs start. I need to win this thing so I at least have some bragging rights when I get back to Spring Training. Well, I got to go start packing for this trip. I hope everyone has a good weekend.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I thought I remember something about you being a hockey player in high school? If that's true, doing a piece on hockey would be sweet. I've always felt hockey and baseball are the two most difficult sports, skills-wise.
Thanks for writing Chris. I did play hockey for four years during high school and it was probably my favorite sport growing up as a young kid. Right up until I entered high school I was playing hockey pretty much all year round. When I was young I always wanted to play hockey and baseball at the University of New Hampshire. My dad and I knew the UNH assistant hockey and head baseball coach growing up so we were always attending their hockey and baseball games. I can remember traveling down to Florida when I was little and allowed to be the teams bat boy, or being able to go in their hockey locker room and take some of the players sticks home to play with. It was sad when UNH had to drop its baseball program right before I was set to enter high school. That changed my plans as far as where I wanted to go to college, and what sports I wanted to play when I got there. I played four years of varsity in high school, but I started to dedicate more time towards baseball and less towards hockey as the years went on. I started only skating and practicing hockey during the four months of the hockey season so I could see my skills in baseball increasing while my hockey skills weren't improving like they were when I was younger. I still had a great time playing hockey and I still wish I could play a few more games on the ice. My senior year of high school our hockey team made it to the semi-finals of the state tournament but lost a game played at the new Boston Garden by one goal. That was the last hockey game I played in that actually counts. I have been skating one time since that day when a bunch of my former teammates had a pick up game at a local rink. Needless to say I was a little rusty. I'll always have a lot of great memories from all of the hockey I played and all the great people I was able to make friends with at the rink.
Below are a few videos from my last regular season game of my senior year in high school. I wish I had more videos, but the only game I have recorded from my high school career is this game. I am playing Center and am #6. Luckily, I scored a goal and had a pretty good hit this game.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
New Orleans Saints
Votes so far: 12 Poll closed
Monday, November 30, 2009
Hey Matt. I would love to see you answer some more difficult questions like, do you invest your own money in the stock market? I see from your interests that you watch Mad Money and go to thestreet.com. Do you trade stocks and if so what stocks do you like right now?
Thanks for the question Nick. This is the first non-baseball related question I have received, so I think it is a good idea to throw it on here to mix things up. As far as investing goes, it is something I have really become interested in over the last year and a half or so. About two years ago the only thing I knew about a stock was that people invest in them. Other than that I had no clue how to go about doing so, or how the stock market actually worked. After getting drafted in 2006 I hired a financial advisor to help me deal with some of these types of financial issues because I was so unfamiliar with them. He helped in giving me a general idea about stocks and let me know that I should start gaining a better understanding for them because they would be something I would be dealing with if I planned on investing in the future. During my first season in Triple A I really got hooked on learning as much as I could about the topic. I began learning by watching television shows on CNBC like Mad Money and Fast Money. I also started reading different websites like Thestreet.com. Over the last year or so I have read about 10 books on investing and it remains something I try to follow and learn about everyday. A lot of people that have a financial advisor like to just turn their money over to them and let them handle everything, but I feel that if I am going to invest I want to know what I am investing in. As far as my investing goes, my financial advisor takes care of most of my stocks and bonds. I can't really get into everything I own, but generally speaking I invest mostly in large cap, blue chip companies, but there is also some other stuff to keep my portfolio diversified.
If I had to pick one stock for you it would be Apple. It has been one of my favorite stocks since I began investing and it still remains that way.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
What I watch on TV (just list shows; can be past or present)
Sports, Family Guy, Sportscenter, Mad Money, Flip This House
What music I listen to (name bands/acts, no genre, can be as many as you’d like here)
Eminem, Tupac, Lil Wayne, The Fray, John Mayer, Young Jeezy, Audio Slave, Shinedown, T.I...
What I drive (color, make, model, year, any other details you want to include)
Black 2007 Jaguar XK
Favorite movie (or movies; can be past or present)
Dumb and Dumber, Major League, Ace Ventura Pet Detective, Rudy, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Wedding Singer, Tommy Boy, Big Daddy
What I’m reading (book, with author’s name)
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Magazines I subscribe to
ESPN the Magazine
Web sites bookmarked on my computer (don’t have to list all of them; just 3 to 5)
ESPN fantasy football, thestreet.com, facebook.com
Nothing specific, but if I do something during the day and play well that night I will make sure to do the same thing the next day.
Cracking my knuckles. I have a problem.
On my office walls
I don’t have an office right now, but if I did I would probably have some inspirational quotes framed, along with some sports action photos.
The one person I’d love to trade places with for a day (can be alive or dead; please include a sentence on why that person)
Tiger Woods. He runs the world.
My first job (as much detail as can provide- How old were you? What city? Name of position and company? Responsibilities of job? What did you get paid? What do you remember about it?
My first job was washing dishes for my families catering business. I started when I was probably fifteen years old. The business was in Everett, Massachusetts. My job was to clear dirty dishes off trays the waitresses brought to me. I would throw away any uneaten food and run the dishes through the dishwasher. When they were clean I would stack the dishes and put them away. The main thing I remember is not exactly smelling so fresh and so clean when I was done. I couldn’t wait to get home and take a shower.
My favorite meal (same thing- as much detail as you want to provide)
My favorite food is probably ice cream. I could eat it every night. Especially Cake Batter ice cream from Coldstone Creamery. However, I want to stay in relatively good shape, and live past the age of 35, so I try to only eat it a few times a month. My favorite meal is meat and potatoes. I eat it almost every night and have been doing it since I was five.
Talent I’d most like to have
Probably Tom Brady’s ability to play the quarterback position. I’ll admit it, I’ve got a man crush on him and I love the football. Also, Tiger Wood’s ability to play golf. It would be awesome to have all the other men in your sport fear you.
My favorite athlete to watch in another sport
My dream date (person, not how it’d go)
Any of the Victoria’s Secret models. Alessandra Ambrosio will do.
Favorite city to visit
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite sports team growing up
I have been a huge fan of all four major Boston sports teams my whole life.
My greatest love
My favorite physical attribute (about yourself)
I don’t really have one.
My least favorite physical attribute (about yourself)
I don’t really care about what I look like too much.
Favorite value in others
Honesty and sense of humor
Tom Brady. He's the best quarterback in the league AND he's married to a Victoria's Secret model.
Get married, start a family, and retire while I am still young enough to spend a lot of time with them. Learn to speak different languages and travel around Europe. Live on a golf course someplace warm and be the greatest 90 year old golfer of all time.
I don’t really live by a motto, but if I had to make one up on the spot it would probably be, “If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right.”
Birthdate and birthplace
April 8th, 1985 in Peabody, Massachusetts
Married or single?
What you’re up to these days
Enjoying the off-season at home and getting ready for the start of next season.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
My friend and roommate Wade LeBlanc and me talking in the dugout prior to a game in L.A.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Laura and me a few minutes before tip-off
My favorite part of a Celtics game...Introductions
Friday, November 20, 2009
I received a question from Jake last week asking what went through my head when I got my first Major League hit off of Greg Maddux. I responded to his question but realized that the post of my video did not make it on the response. So here it is.
The video below is also of my first hit recorded from my girlfriend's camera. She was sitting with my family who flew out to L.A. for the game.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
What was it like to hit your first home run in Colorado? Also, did you get the home run ball?
What's up Nick? Thanks for writing a question. Hitting my first home run was awesome. Home runs are something that always seem to stick in your memory for a long time. I can still remember my first little league home run when I was 12 years old. I can picture exactly what I was thinking and how happy I felt when I saw the ball land on the other side of the fence. The same can be said for my first college home run. I can still envision stepping into the batters box in the 1st inning, getting a fastball down and in, and hitting a line drive over the left-center field wall into the netting covering our scoreboard. My first home run in a big league uniform is probably the most special of them all. Playing in the Major Leagues is something I've wanted to do since I was a little kid, so being able to hit a home run in a big league game is definitely really special. Although, If I could do it over again I would have hit the ball a little further over the fence. I never got to see it go out because I was running hard around first base in case it didn't get over the wall. I did get to watch it after the game on t.v. to see exactly how far it went. If the left field wall was 360 feet I think I hit it 361. Good thing they all count the same! I still have the television broadcast of the game that I will put below so you can see what I'm talking about.
It's funny that you asked if I got to keep the ball. I actually did get to keep it. The guy in the video that caught the ball brought it to our clubhouse attendants after the game and told me I could have it if I traded him another signed baseball along with a signed game bat. I only brought three or four bats for the trip to Colorado so I couldn't give him one of mine, just in case I broke a few the next day. I grabbed a pitcher's bat out of the bat bag and signed my name on it. The guy wasn't too happy when he saw a Clay Hensley model bat with my signature on it, but I'm sure he'll get over it.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Thanks for writing Lisa. Actually, when I first arrived in Eugene, Oregon a week after getting drafted, it was nothing like I had imagined. Growing up, and even throughout college, I was not very familiar with minor league baseball. I had never been to a game, and didn't know very many people that were playing in the minor leagues. Our home ballpark was one of the oldest parks in the United States. It was over 100 years old. You could have sworn at any minute the place was going to collapse. I lived in a hotel room with a roommate for the entire summer. The room was very small and only had two beds with a tiny television. No kitchen. No microwave. At the field we were given peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day for a pre-game meal. Sometimes we had a choice of Doritos chips. The locker room was smaller and older than my college locker room. We would travel from town to town on a bus that may have been older than our stadium. We broke down a few times, once on a return ride from Vancouver, Canada, when it took us a total of 15 hours to return. If you have ever seen the movie Bull Durham you can get a pretty good idea of what life was like. I didn't have a car, but instead rode a bicycle to and from the ball park. After games I would ride to IHOP or McDonald's for dinner. If our game ended early enough there would still be a restaurant or two open so we could get a real meal. I was paid $300 a week, and that was before I paid for my hotel room and club house dues. I was fortunate enough to receive a signing bonus, but there were many players that didn't and had to scrape to get by for the summer. Those are many of the things that I didn't expect to find when I arrived for the first time. There were also a lot of great things I found. It was really great baseball. Most of our players were all great college players or from countries like Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and many others. Many were high draft picks, and even the guys that weren't were tremendous ballplayers as well. The stands were packed for almost every game. In college we were lucky to have 500 people at a game. We routinely had a couple thousand every weekend in Eugene. The coaches were great. They all knew so much about the game. I learned more about baseball my first professional season than I had for almost my entire life. Overall, it was just a lot of fun being in a nice place, with a new team, and great people.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Every team in the league has a tradition where they have the rookies perform something to welcome them to the team. Our team's tradition is to make each rookie do whatever our manager decides, whether it is to sing karaoke to the team or give a presentation on a certain topic. My first year in camp I had to take three players with me to a bull riding competition in Scottsdale, Arizona. We were given a media pass for the event and had to take a camera and interview people involved with the competition. We also had to dress like cowboys. We each spent $100 on cowboy hats, boots, shirts, and jeans. I had never seen a live bull riding event so it actually turned out to be pretty fun. It was just a little uncomfortable in my form fitting jeans. The team's media guy took our footage and added some special effects to make everything fit together nicely. The next day they brought a DVD player and big screen t.v. into the locker room so the team could watch our masterpiece. Check it out.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
At spring training during the 2008 season, the Padres and Dodgers traveled to Beijing to play in the first professional baseball game ever held in the country of China. We took a 14 hour direct flight on one of the biggest planes I have ever seen in my life. Each player was given a row of seven or so seats to himself to stretch out and sleep when needed. One of the coolest parts of the flight was being allowed to sit with the pilots in the cockpit when we were 30,000 feet in the air. The view from up there is unbelievable. Once we arrived, the toughest part about China for me was the food. I am an extremely picky eater. I could survive in a world filled only with meat and potatoes for the rest of my life, and be perfectly happy doing so. The hotel we stayed at was one of the largest, most beautiful hotels I have ever seen. A few guys on the team and I decided to eat at the hotel buffet, which offered hundreds of different choices, such as jellyfish, bamboo shoots, and sea horse. Honestly, these were really the food choices, and people were actually eating them. Needless to say, I passed on the meal and decided to walk around the city to find something a little more appetizing. A popular thing in China is for people to set up small tents and offer food and vegetables to the public, much like an American farmer's market. I decided to check it out, before noticing my choices for lunch were again sea horse, cockroach, and some other large insect I wasn't really in the mood to eat. I was about to give up, deciding to starve and return home in a week, 25 pounds lighter than I had arrived. That was until I found one of the greatest establishments of all time, McDonald's. A Big Mac and 10 piece nugget with barbecue sauce had never sounded so tasty and nutritionally satisfying as it did at that moment. My troubles had ended and I could now relax and eat peacefully. That was until I decided to place my order. Asking for a number 10 didn't work the way it does in the States. Neither did pointing at the large board above their head and yelling, "chicken!" When they realized were weren't getting anywhere, they gave me a menu on a small piece of paper so I could point to what I wanted. They did understand Coke, which was outstanding, but they didn't have any BBQ sauce. In America, I would have been pissed, but in China, chicken without the right type of sauce still sounded a lot better than insects on a stick. I wanted to bring the food back and eat at the hotel so I asked for a bag. After a few blank stares, one lady went behind the desk and gave me three straws. I took them and tried to explain with my hands the shape of a bag and how you would carry food in it if you wanted to leave. She nodded seeming to understand exactly what I said. She returned with five or six packets of sugar. I don't even know why I would want sugar. I didn't order coffee, and Coke already has enough sugar to keep you wired all night. At this point, I was starving and decided the straws and sugars would be all I needed. I stuffed my Big Mac in one pocket, my nuggets in the other, and carried the rest back to the hotel. In the 4 days we spent in China, I ate McDonald's 10 times, and that isn't a joke. My Chinese didn't improve very much, but I did learn to forget about take out and just eat my food there. I've got to give a ton of credit to both of my grandparents for being able to survive in a new culture for all of those years. Now I understand why they love eating spaghetti and meatballs so much. It definitely beats fighting with the McDonald's guy.
Below are some of the pictures and videos I took while spending a week over in China.
Me sitting at the top of the Great Wall of China
The view from outside my hotel room in downtown Beijing
My golden arches
Walking up the Great Wall of China (video)
The field where we played 2 games against the Dodgers (video)
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Below are a few clips of some of the lessons I gave last year.
16 year old high school junior
15 year old high school sophomore
11 year old little league
Saturday, October 24, 2009