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***