Wednesday, December 30, 2009

CHRISTMAS BASEBALL CAMP


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SWINGS II

Monday, December 28, 2009

CAMP WEEK

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

OLD SCHOOL

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

MAIL BAG

Quinn from Massachusetts asks:

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

SANTAAAA

Merry Christmas everyone! Just wanted to give a heads up to anyone wanting to attend our Christmas Break Hitting Camp this coming Monday. We have seven spots still available so if you would like to come please e-mail me at mattantonelli9@gmail.com to reserve a spot. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Christmas week has been really busy for me with working out, hitting, doing some lessons, and buying some last minute presents. I always wait until the last second to buy everything I need. It's 5:00 p.m. right now and I am planning on going to buy a few things tonight. I have a feeling it is going to be a really bad move.

I don't know why, but it doesn't feel like Christmas time to me. Time is really flying by. I feel like it was Halloween just last week. I think the older you get the faster time goes. When I was ten it felt like Christmas took forever to come around. Before I know it, I will be flying out to Arizona for the start of the baseball season.

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.

I hope everyone has a nice Christmas. I've got a quick workout tomorrow morning before I eat for the rest of the day. It should be a nice day of relaxation. My family lives next door to me so I only have to travel a few feet for the day. Enjoy the next few days off of work and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

GOTTA GET IT RIGHT

Sunday, December 20, 2009

MAIL BAG

Bob from New York asks:

How do players keep a positive attitude when they find themselves in a slump?
Hi Bob. Thanks for writing the question, even though I don't like thinking too much about slumps. Hitting slumps are really weird. Baseball seems like the only sports where you can feel like the greatest hitter in the world one second, and have no idea what your doing the next. Slumps can be absolutely the most frustrating things in the world, but the thing you usually have to remember is that they are a part of the game. You can't go 4-4 every game (That is unless your Albert Pujols). You are bound to have no hit games, and sometimes your going to have a couple of them bunched together. You will also have three or four games in a row of multi-hit games. Baseball usually has a funny way of evening things out.
The times that it is tough to keep a positive attitude is when your slump lasts and lasts and lasts and you don't know what to do to get out of it. Over the last few years I have been in some really long slumps at times. It was something that I had never experienced in my life, so believe me it was really, really frustrating. I have gone through times when I had anything but a positive attitude. I guess the one thing you have to do is always believe in your ability and know that if you keep putting in the time and working hard things will turn around for you. The thing about baseball is once you hit the ball the game is out of your control. You can feel great and not get any hits, and you can feel horrible and go 4 for 4. The most important thing is to keep an even keel and keeping working hard whether you are doing great or not.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

CHRISTMAS VACATION CLINIC

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 mattantonelli9@gmail.com 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)

Cost: $130

Last year we held three winter camps for all different ages. Below is a quick shot of one of last years clinic.

SOME MORE HITTING

There hasn't been a whole lot of new things going on the last week or so. I have been working out a lot and starting to work a little bit more on my swing. I've got a few things I want to work on so it's time to start putting in more work.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

TAKING SOME SWINGS

I went and took some swings today for the first time in a week or so since I was out West for the weekend. Just figured I'd throw it up here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

MAIL BAG

Craig from Illinois asks:

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'RE THEREEEE

It is nice to be back home again after spending the weekend out West. I flew out to Arizona on Friday for a wedding. The weather was great out there as usual, especially after dealing with the cold and snow we had the last few weeks. It is crazy how much of the day is spent flying when you travel from one coast to the other. We had stops in Chicago both times, so by the time you switch planes and finally arrive you've lost almost ten hours of your day. Mix in a delay because you don't have any pilots and you might as well chalk the whole day up to a loss. Luckily, the wedding was awesome and a real lot of fun. I was able to catch up with a lot of people that I haven't seen in a while.

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

SOUNDWAVES

Last Sunday I did an interview with a friend of mine Tyler Pyburn from Bay State Game Day. I was in my car driving home from watching the Pats game so I might seem a little upset. If you live in the Massachusetts area check out their website baystategameday.com to keep up with Massachusetts sports.



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

HOW YA DOIN?

I am really tired. I might actually fall asleep while I'm writing this. I just got back from a workout at Catz and it really kicked my butt. I usually work out every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, using Wednesday as a much needed day of rest and relaxation. This Friday I am flying out to Scottsdale, Arizona to attend a teammates wedding, so my workout schedule got changed to Monday through Thursday. I still have one more day to go tomorrow and I am not looking forward to it. I guess it will feel really nice when tomorrow is over and I know I have the whole weekend to relax in the sun of Arizona.

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.

WINNER

OK, so the correct answer for what jersey number I wore in high school football is #18. Pretty much everyone either guessed 18 or 6, so you guys are good. It is funny how many people said it was a trick question and the answer is 6. I guess I was interviewed last year and said I wore 6 in every sport, but I guess I was lying that day. Congrats to the winner Zachary Wolfe from Rancho Santa Fe, California. I'm going to start asking a new question every few weeks because of how many people sent answers to my e-mail today. You guys can write me an e-mail or leave a comment under the blog post letting me know what types of prizes would be cool to win. It has to be something that is easy for me to mail. Thanks again to everyone who e-mailed in and good luck next week.

TRIVIA QUESTION

Here's the question for this weeks trivia. The first person to send the correct answer to mattantonelli9@gmail.com will win a pair of new Nike batting gloves.

During my high school career I played football, hockey, and baseball. I wore #6 in both hockey and baseball. What number did I wear in football? This might seem like a tough question if you didn't see me play, but the answer is located in one of the posts throughout the blog. Good luck and if you know the answer don't wait. First person with the correct answer wins.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Q & A

I did an interview on a blog dedicated to the San Diego Padres called Gaslamp Ball a few days ago. They asked me some questions about a variety of different topics. Check it out below or go to gaslampball.com

When the Padres found out recently that you were blogging did they try to shut you down? Give you ground rules? Lecture you? Has it even been brought up?

I'm not really sure if the Padres know that I have a blog or not, but they have not said anything about it. I am not sure if they will or not in the future, but I don't think they have to worry about me saying anything they wouldn't want me to. I pretty much stick to only writing about myself. I decided to write my blog for fun and to let fans, friends, and family know what's going on in my life when I'm 3000 miles away from home.

What are two secrets about Matt Antonelli that we should know?

Haha I don't really have any secrets, but if I did I don't think it'd reveal them on the Internet.

With all the young guys in the clubhouse these days, who do you see as the team leaders both with the big league club and at Portland?

The big league club is definitely a young team, but there are also a lot of great veteran leaders on the team. If I had to pick a few quickly it would probably be a guy like David Eckstein or Adrian Gonzalez. I obviously haven't been around the team as much as some of the other guys, but during Spring Training and my short time up in 08' I saw that these guys have a lot knowledge that they offer the other players. I feel really fortunate to have David Eckstein play the same position as myself and be able to learn from him. As far as Portland goes, it is tough to say because I won't even know who is on the team until right around the end of March. I am sure we will pick up a player or two that is an older guy and can bring a lot of wisdom and experience to the triple-A level.

Terry Kennedy is the new AAA coach. Though you obviously intend to make the big league club does the change affect what you'll be doing in the offseason or during spring training?

I had a chance to be around TK a little bit during the last two spring trainings and I can tell he is a really great guy. I have a lot of friends that have played for him in San Antonio and I haven't heard a single bad thing about the guy. I know I would love playing for him. With that said, I personally won't be doing anything differently because he could possibly be my coach. I just look forward to learning from him during the season.

Do guys in the clubhouse discuss whether to marry a Minor League girlfriend or hold out for a Major League girl?

Haha that's a funny question. Nah, I don't think guys talk too much about what type of girl a certain guy should be with. Most of the guys that I am playing with are already married anyways, or they are engaged. I'm starting to feel old.

With the Padres promoting so many young players, it must have been frustrating to have been hit with injury. How do you like your chances to stick with the club this season?

It is never fun to be injured. I had gone pretty much my whole life without ever being injured and missing time because of it. It is no fun sitting on the bench or in the trainer's room and seeing your friends and teammates out there playing without you. As far as my chances on sticking with the team goes, I never look at who I think is ahead of me or behind me in the organization. I try to focus on myself, and what I can do to improve my game in order to make the club and play for a long time. If I play the way I feel I am capable of playing I know I will have a chance to play.

You talk a lot about your swing on your blog. There is so much jargon in swinging a baseball bat. What cliches do you actually find useful and try to implement in your swing? For example, does "keep your eye on the ball" or "quick hands" actually translate to something for you to do?

My swing has definitely been a major topic of discussion, especially after the last 2 seasons. I'd always just gone up to the plate and hit, but after I got into a few bad habits somehow I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I have looked at my swing over and over again, torn it down and built it back up. I am always searching for something easy to think or say to myself that will help me stay locked-in at the plate. I think everyone has something unique and a little different from someone else that they use to keep their swing intact. I have used a bunch of different techniques throughout my life and right now I feel I have the ones that will help me this season.

What are those giant faces outside the gates at PGE Park?

I have no idea what the hell those things are.

Is there any chance we could get you to renounce all Boston sports teams?

I think it is really funny how mad some people have got at me because I like Boston sports teams. Since being drafted I have actually lost my love of the Red Sox. Once you get picked by another team your loyalty changes. My job is to make myself the best player I can to help the Padres win. I really haven't followed the Sox since 2006. As far as it goes for the Patriots and Celtics, I don't think there is anyway you could change that. I still live in Boston and have lived here for 24 years. I am not one of those fans that shoves it in other people's face when my team wins, and I don't cry or lock myself in my house when they lose, but I still love them. If I end up playing in San Diego for a long time I am sure I will go to plenty of Chargers games and cheer for them, but if they play the Pats in the AFC Championship I'm sorry, but I'm rooting for the Pats.

Thanks for all the questions guys it was fun.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, good luck this season! High fives all around!

Friday, December 4, 2009

TRIVIA

OK, so on Wednesday, December 9th, I'm going to ask a trivia type question on here. Whoever is the first person to answer the question correctly will receive a pair of my Nike batting gloves. I haven't decided what type of question I will ask, but I don't think it should be too hard. You can send your answers to mattantonelli9@gmail.com. If you are a high school or college baseball player the gloves are an XL so you can where them if they fit. If you don't intend on using them I can personalize them to you along with my autograph. It really is up to you what you want me to do with them. If you don't play baseball, and really don't care for a signed pair of gloves by me then I don't know, maybe you can use them for gardening or something. I will send an e-mail later that night to the winner and send the gloves out the next day. Below is a photo of the gloves. Good luck.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

HITTING

Yesterday, I went to the batting cage to get some swings in for the first time since I returned from fall ball at the end of October. Every year, once the season is over I like to take a few weeks off from hitting to let my body recuperate from the long season of swings. I don't know exactly how many swings I take during a season, but swinging everyday from February until October can't be that great for your back. I felt pretty good considering it I haven't done it in a while. I am sure in a few days after I get back into a rhythm I will feel like I never stopped hitting since last season. I am glad I took some video yesterday because what you feel and what you see are sometimes very different. I want to make sure not to over analyze every single swing because if you look hard enough at anything you can find something a little wrong, but watching my swings reminded me of a few things I need to remember when I'm hitting. I've been home for more than a month and I can still hear my hitting coach in my head reminding me of stuff when I take a swing I'm not very happy about. I guess that's a good thing. Anyways, here are a few swings from yesterday and a picture of my hand when I was done. I got to toughen those things up a little. Sorry about only having a few swings on here, but my camera battery died about one minute into hitting.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

MAIL BAG

Chris from Albuquerque, New Mexico asks:

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

OUCH!!!

Who will win Monday Night Football's Patriots vs. Saints game?

New England Patriots
8 (66%)
New Orleans Saints
4 (33%)

Votes so far: 12 Poll closed

Ouch! I definitely didn't see this one coming. I figured it would be a close game and the Pats would come away with the hard earned win. Boy was I wrong. The Saints are good. The Saints are really good. The Pats didn't look good at all, but I think it was more of how well the Saints played and not so much about how bad the Pats did. Everyone knows that Drew Brees is a great quarterback and the Saints have more weapons than just about every team in the league, but I thought the Pats could at least find a way to slow them down a little bit. Everything came so easy to them. Guys were running all over the field wide open, and when they decided to run the ball their backs ran really hard. Somehow their defense figured out a way to take Moss and Welker totally out of the game. I've seen teams take Moss away and let Welker catch 15 balls, or take Wes away and let Randy go for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, but I've never seen them both get shut down on the same night. They not only covered well but they got pressure on Brady all night. Anyways, congrats to the Saints. I've seen both the Vikings and the Saints play now and I have to go with the Saints. I think they are coming out of the NFC and I'm hoping the Pats can get it all straightened out before playoff time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

MAIL BAG

Nick from Massachusetts asks:

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

SPORTING NEWS

Last month I was sent a questionnaire to fill out from Sporting News for their sports magazine. I am not sure exactly when it might be published but here are a few of my answers:


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

Superstitions
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.

Worst habit
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
Tom Brady

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
Sports

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

My hero
Tom Brady. He's the best quarterback in the league AND he's married to a Victoria's Secret model.


My bucket list (things you’d like to do while you’re still on Earth)
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.

My motto
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?
Girlfriend

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

RELAX IT'S THE HOLIDAYS

Rico sipping back on grandpa's old cough medicine during the holidays


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Hey, what's up everyone? Since I'll probably be really busy tomorrow and won't have time to write anything I want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving! Over the last week or so my schedule has been pretty low key. I have been working out in Needham, Mass, at Catz pretty much every morning. The workouts have been going really well and my body is feeling great. I have only been training for about a month and I can already feel my strength and speed really increasing. I plan on starting to hit and field again next week after I give my body a few days to digest all the turkey I'm going to eat this week. For anyone that lives around the Boston area you've got to try out the restaurant 75 Chestnut. I went there this weekend for the first time and it was excellent. It's a small place that's fancy but not over the top with great food. If you are around the city I really suggest you try it out before it gets too cold in the next month or so. On Sunday I watched the Pats beat up on the Jets. It's always nice to put a beating on the Jets, but it's even better now that Rex Ryan is their coach. I think the guy is a good defensive coach and once Sanchez gets a little more experience under his belt they will be pretty good, but the guy talks a ton of smack and its nice to see him have to shut up once and a while. I loved watching Rex get pissed when Brady threw a deep pass to Moss winning by 17 with almost no time left on the clock. I can't wait for next Monday night's game against the Saints. It should be a great game with tons of points being scored. I'm putting my money on the Pats, but then again I always do. On Thanksgiving morning I'll be heading to my old high school St. John's Prep to watch them play in their final football game of the season against the Xaverian Hawks. If we win we will finish tied for 1st in the Catholic Conference and have a chance to go to the playoffs. After the game we will be heading to my aunt and uncle's house for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. It should be a really good day of football and lots of food. I love any day that has either one of those two things involved.

Monday, November 23, 2009

MAIL BAG

Brian in California asks:

What do the players talk about in the dugout – is it all serious or pretty casual?



Thanks for writing Brian. I get this question a lot from friends and family so I'm glad you asked. I think you would be very surprised if you put a microphone on all the players in baseball and got to hear what they talk about during a game. I would say that most of the talk that goes on during a game is on the casual side, but it is different for every player. There are some players that are really intense during the game and don't like to joke around very much. Starting pitchers for the most part are like this, although there are always exceptions to the rules. They only get to play once every five games, so when they are out there they usually always mean business. There are also some guys that don't seem to take anything serious and are always joking, particularly the position players. As far as myself, I like to keep things on the lighter side. Most of the stuff I am talking about during the game is the kind of talk you would expect to hear on your lunch break in the coffee room or around the water cooler. (I've never worked in an office before, but this is where I image people talking with each other about what goes on during their day). I am at a baseball field for ten hours a day and If I talked about nothing but baseball all day long I think I would go insane. I talk about all types of things, like where I went to eat the night before, what I did before I came to the field, what I'm going to do after the game, even what video games I've been playing on XBOX. We talk about each other's families, girlfriends, and wives, about football, basketball, and hockey, and almost any other thing you can think of. There really isn't anything I don't or wouldn't talk about during a game. I like to stay loose during the game because I think it helps me play better, and talking about everyday life is a good way to get that accomplished. With all that being said, there also is a lot of serious talk going on throughout a game. Even when I am joking around with the guys I am always focused on the action. I need to know how a pitcher is throwing certain guys so I can try to figure out how he is going to attack me when it's my turn to hit. When I am on deck or within two or three hitters I really start to get zoned in. In the end I always try to remember that although it is our job, at the end of the day we are playing a kid's game and you've got to keep it fun.

My friend and roommate Wade LeBlanc and me talking in the dugout prior to a game in L.A.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

LET GO CELTICS!

On Friday night I got a chance to head into Boston with my girlfriend and a few friends to watch the Celtics play the Atlanta Hawks. Although the final score didn't turn out the way I or the team was hoping for, it was still a great experience. Celtics games don't even feel like games anymore. They feel more like events or parties. The place is sold out every night, very different from what games were like a few years ago before the "Big Three" were brought together. Kevin Garnett has quickly become one of my favorite players in the game. It's unfortunate he played so many years in a small market basketball town where I didn't get to see a whole lot of him on national T.V. They were never able to put a great team around him, expect for for 2003 season when he lead them to the Western Conference Playoffs. The guy has single handily returned the Celtic's franchise to a level of dominance not seen since the early 80's. Anyone that has been to or seen a game in the last two years can see that the team and the new Boston Garden has taken on his personality. I love the way he is constantly yelling and pounding his chest raising the intensity of his teammates and fans. I've never seen a single player have this type of effect. As I sat in the stands I wished the atmosphere at a baseball game could somehow resemble that of basketball game. It would add an element to the game that is only really present in post season play. I'd love to try and take a page out of Garnett's book, the way he slams his head into the pad underneath the basket a few seconds before tip off, or skips to the side of the court and yells at the fans to get them to stand up and get excited. I think If I tried something like that before the first pitch of our games someone would call the police and then a shrink. I still think it might be worth trying.

Laura and me a few minutes before tip-off

My favorite part of a Celtics game...Introductions

Friday, November 20, 2009

FIRST BIG LEAGUE HIT

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

LEBRON JAMES IN THE NFL

Yesterday Lebron James said that if he dedicated himself to football he could play in the NFL."If I put all my time and commitment into it, if I dedicated myself to the game of football, I could be really good, no matter what team I was on." Jeremy Shockey responded to the statement by sending out a message on twitter.




I think Shockey is a great NFL tight-end. The guy is a beast physically at 6'5'' and 250. He ran the 40 yard dash in 4.58 which is a great time for a man at his position and of his size. If he didn't get hurt so frequently his career could be really special. With that being said, I don't think he is very intelligent. I understand that football players are special athletes and extremely prideful when it comes to their profession. Not only are they all extremely gifted physically, but they are some of the toughest people on earth, playing one of the most violent games week in and week out. I still think if Lebron decided to dedicate himself to football he would be a star. Who's going to cover the guy? He would instantly be the tallest offensive skill position player in the league. Once he started to workout specifically on football he would add another 20-30 pounds to his frame. If you flanked him out wide he would almost have a foot height advantage on most of the corners and safeties, and he would out weight them by 80 or more pounds. If you put a linebacker on him he would still be a half foot taller and out weight them by 40 to 50 pounds. And as far as his 40 yard dash time is concerned, I would bet everything in my possession that he is much, much faster than a 4.9. There are NFL offensive linemen that can run a 4.9 forty. Unfortunately, with the new one hundred plus million dollar contract Lebron is going to sign this off-season we will never seen Lebron in an NFL uniform, and if we did I would be convinced that he is even less intelligent than Shockey.
Let me know what you think of Lebron in the NFL in the comment section below or at mattantonelli9@gmail.com


IN BILL WE TRUST

OK I've had it! If I have to turn on another radio station or flip to ESPN and listen to someone talk about the decision Bill Belichick made on Sunday nights game to go for it on 4th down instead of punting I'm going to lose it. It's now Wednesday night, three days after the game ended and it is still dominating every channel of sports talk. I have never seen a coaches decision scrutinized to the degree Bill Belichick's decision has been in the last few days. As far as the actual decision to go for it on fourth down instead of punting goes, I don't agree with the call. If I'm coaching there, I punt the ball and hope my defense can hold. With that being said, I have no problem with the call by Bill to go for it. I can see why he would rather put the game in the hands of his best player than in the defense who had just let the Colts drive the length of the field twice in only a few minutes for 14 points. I wouldn't have been able to make the same call if I were coaching because I don't have as big a pair of "you know whats" that Belichick does. The reason I like the guy so much as a coach is because he doesn't care what the media thinks. He doesn't care how much he is criticized for making an unpopular decision. He does what he thinks gives his team the best chance to win and that's it. As a player, or as a fan of his team, there is nothing more you could want from a head coach. I guarantee if he had to do it again after all the criticism he has received over the past few days, he would go for it again. I think that's awesome. As far as the fans go, I think everyone has to get over the whole deal. Everything is going to be OK. The sun is still going to rise tomorrow morning. The Pats will continue to win games. They will make the playoffs, and I still think they will meet the Colts in the AFC championship game and beat them. Listen, things could be worse. You could have this guy in the picture below coaching your beloved Patriots. And if that doesn't scare you enough, how does having Tom Cable sound, or maybe even Herm Edwards. Yeah, I thought that would cheer you up. Just don't forget Pats fans, "In Bill we trust."



Me helping coach the offense at my dad's Freshman football practice

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MAIL BAG

Nick age 11 from Peabody, Massachusetts asks:

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

MLB DRAFT 2006

I was looking through my DVDs and stumbled upon a newscast from the New England Cable News recorded the day of the 2006 MLB draft. Before you watch it I must make it perfectly clear that I do not exactly know what I was thinking with my hair. On a scale from one to ten, ten being Brad Pitt and one being Weird Al Yankovic, I think I'm somewhere around a negative seven. Have fun checking it out.



Friday, November 13, 2009

WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS

If you have ever watched the television show 1st and 10 on ESPN for more than ten minutes, you know that Skip Bayless is completely off his rocker. Since it's the off-season and my days are nothing but completely boring, I’m stuck watching the same three channels all morning long. I just can't stand seeing this guy talk sports anymore. I know on radio and television sports shows you need someone to get listeners and viewers fired up. Sometimes they say things that are completely nuts so you call into the show or tune in day after day and scream at the televion like I do. I was watching yesterday when he said he would rather have the three running backs from the Dallas Cowboys than Adrian Peterson. He said that Marion Barber is a tougher runner than A.D., Felix Jones is a more explosive runner, and Tashard Choice runs better between the tackles. I'm sorry but you've got to be an absolute moron to make this statement. Peterson has the shiftiness of a Barry Sanders, the toughness of a Walter Payton, and the speed of a Bo Jackson, and last time I checked those three guys are a little better than the Dallas trio. This isn't even the issue that makes me the angriest. The guy is constantly calling Lebron James "Prince James" because he doesn't feel he is worthy of his "King James" title. I'm sorry to inform Skip, but other than Kobe Bryant, who has seven years of experience over him, Lebron is the greatest basketball player on the planet, and he's only 24! The guy does whatever he wants on and off the court. If he were alive in the 70's he would have saved John Connor in Terminator, traveled the jungles of Vietnam in Rambo First Blood, and beat down the Russian in Rocky IV. Plain and simple the guy is a freak of nature. No 6'8'' 260 pound human being should be able to run, jump, handle the ball, and shoot like this guy. He hasn't won a championship yet, but Jordan didn't win his first one until he was 28. He's going to win a bunch of NBA championships before it’s all said and done, and he's going to be doing his thing for another 15 years. I just hope Skip says the things he does because he was told to stir the pot, because if he really believes what he says, I might have to send in my application to ESPN.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

MAIL BAG

Jake from Massachusetts asks:

What went through your mind when you first faced Greg Maddux, a superb control pitcher and future Hall of Famer?


Thanks for the question Jake. A lot of people don't believe me when I tell them, but the real answer to that question is "nothing". It was really strange. I flew to Los Angeles at 6:00 A.M. the morning of the game from Tacoma, Washington, where I was finishing up my Triple-A season. I arrived at the ballpark right from the airport and figured I wouldn't even be playing since I just got called up. I got called into our manager's office and he let me know that I was in the starting lineup. Before it could all sink in it felt like it was close to game time. I was hitting 8th in the order that day, so I didn't get up until the 2nd inning. In the bottom of the 1st their lead-off hitter hit a hard ground ball to me. Once I made the play and threw it to first for the out I could feel myself really relax. When I got up to bat it felt no different than any other game I had played in during the year. I really felt comfortable in the batters box. I was hitting well in Triple-A for the last month, so I think that helped out a lot. I hit a line-drive single to center field on the third pitch for my first big league hit. It didn't really sink in until I got back to the hotel later that night and received a lot of text messages and calls from my friends asking me what it felt like to play in a Major League game. Now that I look back on it, I'm not sure if there's another pitcher in the game I would rather get my first hit off of. Needless to say, it's something I will never forget.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MAIL BAG

I've received a few questions on my e-mail over the past week, so I've decided to answer a few of them every so often.

Lisa from Massachusetts asks:

Hi Matt! What was your first impression of professional baseball when you were drafted? Was it everything you imagined?

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

TURTLE'S WEEKLY WORDS OF WISDOM part II

The economy stinks. The unemployment rate seems to rise every month. Its a tough time to find a job or even get an interview. But what happens when you are lucky enough to get to the interview process? If you're Turtle you come up with a story for the ages. Turtle, freshly home from graduating college, made it to the second interview for an office supplies sales job. For this interview, the manager of the company decided to take him on the road and show him a typical day in the wonderful world of a salesman. While on the way to one of their stops, the manager asked Turtle to tell her a story. How would you impress your possible future boss? Maybe with a story about excelling at your prior place of employment? Well that wasn't good enough for Turtle. He was in rare form this day. Instead of choosing a story about how he was fortunate enough to have an internship working with Rafael Nadal, one of the top athletes in the world, Turtle decided he could do one better. He chose to share his story about the time back in high school when his baseball team made a $50 bet with a teammate that he wouldn't eat a piece of dog crap. Turtle strikes again! Surprisingly, instead of immediately kicking turtle out of the car, she allows him to finish the whole story. Even more surprisingly, she actually offers Turtle the job on the spot. Turtle's moral of the story when attempting to score a new job: Don't try to impress someone with a glorified story about prior work experience. A shit story always wins.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

RIDE EM' COWBOY

Spring training is always a great time of year. I remember as a kid getting all excited for the Red Sox to head down to Fort Myers, Florida, to start preparing for their upcoming season. As a player you can feel the excitement and energy that each spring training brings. Every team is once again tied for first place, and anxious to see what a new season will entail. My first spring training was in 2007 in minor league camp. Every player in the minor leagues reports to minor league camp each year around the first of March, while the major league team reports around the middle of February. The teams are separated, with the minor leaguers using four fields and the big leaguers using two. Each team has their own locker room, and the only time players from each team are around each other is during lunch, where both teams share the same cafeteria. Every year a few minor league players are given an invitation to major league spring training, where they will be able to practice and play with the big league squad for about a month. Every once and a while a young minor league player will make the team, but much more often than not they will be sent back to minor league camp a few weeks before the regular season starts. My first major league spring training invitation came in 2008, a little less than two years after being drafted. It is a great time to be around guys who have had success in the major leagues and learn from the way they play the game. Even though it is only spring training, you can gain an awful lot of experience in that month or two.

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

ANYONE?..ANYONE?..BUELLER?..BUELLER?

If anyone has any questions about something I've written or has any ideas to make the blog better please let me know at mattantonelli9@gmail.com.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

GETTING BACK AT IT

Sunday was officially the last day of relaxing for me this off-season. I have been home from fall ball for exactly two weeks and its time to get going again. I have used the last few weeks to get my body back to feeling the way I want it to. I have been doing a lot of stretching to get a little head start on my workout schedule. Flexibility is one of the main things I want to really focus on this off-season. I have never been the most flexible person, especially in my hips, and I think improving in that area would really help my overall game. It has definitely been nice to get away from baseball for a little while and do some other things that I am not able to do during the season. I wrote a few blogs about my golf game, and was happy to be able to get outside while the weather was good enough to play a few holes. Its also been nice to see family and friends that I haven't seen for the last eight months or so and get some home cooking. There's nothing better than that.

Yesterday, I drove a half hour down the highway to Needham, Massachusetts, to work out at Catz Sports Performance Center. For the last two years I have done my speed and agility training there, but this year I have decided to also incorporate my strength training. I usually do most of my strength training at Planet Fitness, a smaller gym a few minutes from my house. It has always been really convenient because of how close it is to home, but over the last year or so it has turned more into a cardio gym than a place to strength train. They have something called the "lunk alarm", a siren that sounds if you breath to heavily while lifting or drop a weight too hard. I got yelled at by management because I placed my weights back onto the rack to hard. Plus the whole place is purple and yellow, and my head starts to hurt if I see that color combination for more than an hour. Other than not having to deal with those things, the best part about Catz is that I have a trainer constantly pushing me during my workouts. No two workouts are the same and he doesn't let me sit around and chat with people, something that always seems to happen when I'm working out at my old gym. I was actually wishing yesterday that I had a chance to relax for a few minutes. Mark, my strength and conditioning coach, isn't big on taking breaks. I was given a grand 20 seconds rest in-between my sets. About an hour into my workout, after switching from squats, to pull-ups, to lunges, to rows, and back to squats, I thought I was about to lose my breakfast. It's not the most manly thing to ask for a break, and even when I tried to hint at taking one I got a quick response of, "no rest kid." Sometimes it's either take a break, or pass out, so I'm starting to get good at asking lots of questions. It's a good way to get a quick breather without sounding like a pansy. After a set a squats all you got to do is say, "how was my form? Am I doing everything right? What am I suppose to do next again?" Give this a try next time your working out with a trainer. It works I'm telling you. Anyway, my body is killing me today after working out back to back days with Mark. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow and can get back after it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

TURTLE'S WEEKLY WORDS OF WISDOM part I

Turtle is a friend of mine that I have known since I was about ten years old. He has been one of my cousin Mike's best friends since we were all young kids. I grew up playing baseball and hockey with Turtle throughout our childhood, and being close with my cousin, the three of us were together a good amount. Turtle is really one of the nicest and sincere kids you will ever meet, but sometimes he will unleash a series of comments that will leave you shaking your head, as well as burst out laughing. It's like the engines running, but there's nobody behind the wheel. So with this I've decided to dedicate a section once a week to commemorate some of Turtle's great words of wisdom. So sit back, relax, and learn something.

Yesterday, Turtle found his fantasy football team fighting to stay in playoff contention, as the season quickly approaches the half way point of the year. As he looked at his roster his gut told him he had to make a change. He decided he needed to perform a trade in an attempt to make a push for the playoffs. He sat down at his desk and went to work, scrolling feverishly through all of his buddies teams before his eyes locked on a single name...Drew Brees. Turtle's head perked up. This was it, the single player that would take Turtle's team to the mountain top. So, in an attempt to honor the great Mike Ditka, Turtle unloaded half his team for a single player. Championship!

The next day, my cousin Mike was looking over the trade. He just couldn't understand why the hell you would trade half your team, including three of your best players, for a single guy. Especially when he already had a good quarterback that would now be sitting on his bench. Turtle knew exactly why. "The team needed a little shake up Mike, something to get them going. I needed to bring somebody new in." Mikey, as he normally does, gave a dumbfounded look back at Turtle. "Turtle," Mike began. "Your fantasy team doesn't have morale! They don't know you just made a trade for Drew Brees. Drew isn't suiting up before a game thinking, "let's do this one for Turtle, he just gave up a lot of players for me and I've got to prove I'm worth the deal. Jerricho Cotchery isn't sitting on your fantasy bench thinking, "it's OK guys, Drew is here we are all gonna be fine." It's fantasy football!"

Only time will tell if the move turned out to be the right one for Turtle. I sure hope it does, and if anyone can single-handedly turn your fantasy season around, it might be Drew Brees. But just remember kids, your fantasy team indeed does not have morale. At least as far as I know.




***Turtle's team is currently getting the %!@$ kicked out of them by 60 points by the team he made the trade with***

Saturday, October 31, 2009

WILL SOMEBODY GIVE THIS KID A HAPPY MEAL?!?!

Last night, I went over my grandparent's house to celebrate my grandfather's 79th birthday. My grandfather and grandmother were born in Italy in the early 1930's and lived there for more than 20 years. They both decided to follow family to America in search of new jobs and better opportunities. Since arriving, they have had to learn how to survive in a completely different culture, while working at a wide variety of different jobs thoughout their lifetime. Last night, they were telling my cousins and I about what life was like coming to a very different country in the 1950's. They each agreed that the most challenging part was facing a completely new language barrier. They shared tons of funny stories about learning the language, and the difficulties this barrier presented as they traveled between New York, where my grandfather's family had settled, to Boston, where my grandmother's family resided. It got me thinking about when I was forced into a culture very different from my own a few years ago.

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

Tiananmen Square

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

BASEBALL LESSONS

Over the past three off-seasons I have been giving hitting and fielding lessons and clinics to players of all ages. I will be once again giving lessons this off-season until I leave for Spring Training on February 14, 2010. If you are interested or know anyone that might be don't hesitate to e-mail me at mattantonelli9@gmail.com. Thanks!

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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

GOLF 101

Today, my buddy Nick SantaBarbara and I played 18 holes at the Sagamore Country Club in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, where I attempted to play 18 holes of golf for the first time. I left the course on Sunday realizing how hard the game of golf really is, but also knowing that I did much better than I expected. It is a little intimidating the first time you do anything, especially when that thing is golf and you know that you are not a very good player. I assumed I would definitely be the worst player there, but after a few holes of seeing some of the other guys on the course, I realized they had just as hard of a time with the game as I envisioned myself having. My first shot of the day was probably my best shot, when I hit a 3 iron straight down the fairway (I only used my driver on par 5's, which I think really helped out). My confidence was riding sky high until I pulled my wedge out of the bag and was introduced to the dreaded short game. It took me about four or five shots from 50 yards out to get on the green and then three puts to get in the hole. I probably would have had more success taking Happy Gilmore's advice and bringing my hockey stick instead of my putter. The rest of the day went pretty much the way you would expect. I made a few shots which made me think the game wasn't that hard after all, followed by shots where I hoped no one was looking. The success of the day probably came from the fact that I only lost three balls, after bringing 25 just to be sure. I finished the day shooting a 114, 34 over. Nick is also a beginner, but has been on a course about a half dozen times or so. He shot a 101 on the day. The videos below are of Nick and I on the last hole of the day. As you can see, playing while being filmed can add a little pressure to your game.











Thursday, October 22, 2009

GOLF BALL WACKER GUY

Every baseball player in the world that has ever even looked at a golf club has heard someone say, "golfing will hurt your baseball swing." At least I know growing up I steered clear of the golf clubs, and instead stuck to footballs, basketballs, and hockey sticks. Well, after two seasons in a row of not exactly having the greatest baseball swing in the world, I've decided to give golf a try. For the last two years, golf has been something I have become more and more intrigued with, but have always thought of it as something I will play when I am done playing baseball and have more time to dedicate to it. I still plan on becoming a good golfer when my baseball career is over, but I've decided to start practicing a little during the off-season, at least while the weather is good enough to allow me. I have a tee time scheduled for Monday with a buddy of mine and went to the driving range last night to see just exactly how much I might embarrass myself in a few days. This will be the first time in my life I will attempt to complete 18 holes. When I was in single-A in Fort Wayne, Indiana, back in 2006, I lived on a golf course. One day a few guys on the team asked me to play nine holes with them. I told them I had never been to a golf course before and only had been to the driving range a few times in my life. They told me it was "no big deal" and if I could hit a baseball I could hit a golf ball. Well, to make a long story short, I decided to give it a shot, that was until my first tee shot destroyed a poor old ladies house. Now, I hear all the time,"don't worry, no one buys a house on a golf course and doesn't expect to have a ball hit at their house every now and then," and I totally agree with that statement, most of the time. The lady in the house that I hit probably felt pretty secure when she bought it considering it was almost exactly next to the 1st tee, one that not even Happy Gilmore could find a way to hit. My shot went straight sideways, hit her house, I jumped into my cart and gunned it towards the flag, acting as if I made the shot of a lifetime and reached the par 4 green in one. Thankfully no one was out on her deck, cleaning the gutters, or had decided to give the house a wash that day. I wasn't even given an opportunity to yell "fore", which would have made me feel at least a little more like an actual golfer. The ball went way to fast from the club to the house, I couldn't even get a "ffff" out before the damage was done. I ended up dropping a new ball somewhere near the green, and after about 9 or 10 shots to put the damn thing in the hole, I decided golf would have to wait. I am hoping come Monday my mind has totally forgotten about my bad golf experience. Either way, here is some footage I took of me hitting balls yesterday. It was actually a lot better than I had expected. The driver is about the only thing I had some success with so I'll save myself the embarrassment and leave out the iron shots. I went with a friend Athan Goulos who is also in the video. Athan is ALOT better than I am, and served as my cheerleader, while also helping with my technique. He is one of the top Long Drive competitors for his age in the country and played on his high school golf team as a 7th grader. Wish me luck on Monday, or just hope I don't kill someone.