Saturday, February 27, 2010

BLOOD TESTING

Yesterday was my least favorite day of Spring Training, blood testing day. No joke, I woke up in the middle of the night because I had a dream of giving blood and fainted. (Fainted in my dream not in real life) Not a good way to start my day to say the least. I showed up at practice around 7:00 AM, not having eaten anything since 9:00 PM the night before, and not being allowed to eat breakfast until after I gave my blood samples. Less than a minute after walking in the front door I heard from a player that came really close to passing out during testing that we were giving eight vials of blood this year instead of the usual three. Right away I could feel that nauseous feeling coming over me. I had a hard enough time last year giving three, never mind five more tubes of blood this time around. There was no way I was going to make it through this thing. I got in line of about six people, waiting my turn to sit in the execution chair. I would wait for a minute or two, then decide to leave line and take a stroll around the clubhouse. I guess I had to get mentally prepared to do this. I got back in line and started with my nervous chatter, where I talked to anyone and everyone just to take my mind off the idea of blood, needles, nurses, veins, or anything else associated with hospitals. After about a ten minute wait my name was called into the principle's office. I sat down in the chair like the cool kid I was pretending to be. The lady asked if I was OK with the whole procedure and I answered with an emphatic, "YES!" She smiled at me, "Good, you're not one of those wussies then." That kind of got me down. I guess I was one of those wussies, but she didn't know it. I was determined to keep it that way, bite my lip, and give it hell. "Lets do this" She was actually one of the best at taking blood I have ever seen. I didn't even feel the needle go into my arm. Before I knew it, a few minutes had passed and I was done. Painless. Let's just not try that again until next year.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

PHYSICALS

Yesterday, we had a day off of workouts and spent the morning doing our team physicals to make sure we are healthy and ready to go for a long 162 game season. I showed up at our complex at 7:00 AM to get my physical underway. We started off with some easy stuff that you would encounter at your normal, everyday physical. I got my blood pressure taken, which I think went well. It was around 120 over 60. I don't really have any idea what that means, but they said it is good.

Next was an EKG test where they strap a bunch of electrical things to your body to make sure your heart is beating correctly. After that I went to Internal Medicine where they check your pulse, heart beat, throat, ears, and that uncomfortable thing where you've got to cough. If everything checks out OK here you move on to another doctor that checks any past injuries you may have encountered. I hurt my leg last year and missed almost two months because of it so the doctor made me do a few exercises to make sure it was healed. Next they check your shoulder strength, hip mobility, and knees to ensure they are all fully healthy.

When you finish here you head over to weigh-in and take your height. Last year, I was measured at 72 and 3/4 inches. Somehow this year I was measured at 72 inches. I know I'm getting older, but I didn't think I would already start shrinking. I weighed in last year at 217 and this year at 204. Losing weight was actually something I was trying to do this off season, so I am happy where I am at right now. Two years ago I got caught up in trying to get big and strong because I thought it would help my power numbers. It actually ended up hurting my power numbers, along with my speed and agility. I was probably better off playing football at that point than baseball. This year I feel so much faster, and my body is moving a lot better.

After we take our height and weight we do a quick "sit and reach" to test our flexibility. It reminded me of 5th grade when you had to do the "sit and reach" along with a pull-up contest and a mile run. I use to kick ass in that mile run by the way, but I'll save that story for another day. We follow this up with a quick test of hand/grip strength and then a vertical jump test. The last thing in line is to take a pee test. The pee test is one of the weirder things we go through during our physical. They give you a cup and follow you into the bathroom. You have to pull your pants down around your knees while a guy stands about 3 inches from you to make sure you are the one to pee in the cup. We are both standing in a tiny bathroom, I don't know who else could sneak piss into my cup for me. Either way, those are the rules and if you want to play you've got to follow them.

The worst part about physicals for me is blood testing. I've never been able to give blood easily. It's not like I faint when I give it, but back in the day I would come really, really close. Whenever I walk into the room with all the nurses and needles I start to get really nervous, but try to act as cool as possible, thinking maybe I can fool all of them into thinking that I'm not scared at all. I haven't been successful with this method to date. As soon as they tie that tube around my arm they always ask me the same thing. "You don't like giving blood very much do you?" I guess I'm bad at pretending. "Shit, how did you know?" The good news was that blood work was postponed. The bad news is it was postponed until tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MAIL BAG

Gustavo asks:
Congrats on making it all the way to Arizona safely, but may I ask why you didn't just catch a plane? Did you want to see the scenery or experienced a long road trip?

I have told hundreds of people that I drove out to Spring Training this year and every single one of them responded with the same question. "Why the hell would you do that?" I figured I'd take the time here to let everyone know exactly why I decided to drive so maybe I won't ever be asked again, or at least not as much.

Two years ago while playing in single-A at Lake Elsinore, California, I had my car with me and loved every minute of it. Not having a car makes life miserable. Just think if you didn't have your car with you everyday. You might make it a day, maybe two, but to survive eight straight months without a ride would probably drive you crazy. I hate having to depend on other people for things, and I hate to ask people for rides even more. I've done two years in Portland, Oregon without a car and I never want to do it again.

In July of that 2007 season I was called up to Double-A in San Antonio, Texas. I needed to fly out the next day to meet my team in Midland, Texas, so I had a company ship my car. I hate the idea of handing my car over to complete strangers. At this time my car was only a few months old and I had spent a good amount of money on it. It was the one gift I bought for myself after getting drafted and I'm really anal about making sure nothing bad ever happens to it. I wouldn't have let my grandmother drive the thing at this point, expect maybe for one of her quick trips to Stop and Shop, so I sure as hell didn't want some random kids taking it across the country.

If you haven't had a car shipped before, it's a pretty simple process. They show up with one of those huge trucks you see driving down the highway with tons of cars strapped to it. It depends how far they are traveling, but usually taking my car across the country will take about two weeks. Because I was only going from southern California to Texas they told me it would take a few days at the most.

I stuffed most of my belongings in my car and watched them strap it onto their truck. They said they'd see me in Texas in two days and drove away. I jumped in my host families car and got dropped off at the airport for my flight. After arriving in Texas and playing for almost two weeks I called my car service to find out why the hell it hadn't arrived yet. I got a few different excuses like, we hit traffic, we had to pick up another few cars along the way, we didn't know how to start your car, and we needed to change drivers. I really did hear the excuse that they didn't know how to start the car. I started to worry when I heard this one, but in the end they were professionals (so i thought) and I gave them the benefit of the doubt and waited. They told me the car would be there the next day.

A week more had passed and I was just getting home from a road trip when they finally showed up and left my car at my apartment and took off. At this point I hadn't played my XBOX in almost a month and really wanted to play some Madden. If you have read my blog before you know that I love video games, and a month away from them is a long, long time. Before I ran down to my car to grab my XBOX I joked with my roommate, "Dude what would happen if I opened my car and my XBOX was gone?" I said it joking around, never actually thinking it wouldn't be in there.

I ran downstairs to my car and opened the trunk where I had my XBOX, about 30 games, my DVD collection, all my electronics, my clothes, and a bunch of other stuff. I was basically moving all of my belongings to Texas in my car. When I opened my trunk I couldn't believe what I saw. Someone had stolen pretty much everything. The only thing they left for me was some of my clothes. (I guess they must not like my style of clothing) A few weeks earlier I had played in the Single-A All-star game in Stockton, California. I know it is only Single-A, but it was my first all-star game as a professional. Whoever took my stuff ended up taking my all-star jersey that I was given, along with a plaque, an all-star bag, and a bunch of other signed baseballs and things from some of the guys on that team. None of these things could be replaced, which was really upsetting.

I opened the drivers door and jumped in looking for any other clues of abuse I could find. I found a women's hair clip in the center console. "That son of a bitch used my car to take his date out!" Now I was really pissed. I called my girlfriend and anyone else that would answer to tell them about the clip I had found. She let me know that it was her hair clip and no one took a girl out on a date. It made me feel better, but not very much. I turned the car on to make sure it started OK. I looked at the odometer to see if they had driven it anywhere. Turns out they put more than 800 miles on the car. I paid them $1200 to ship my car about 1000 miles and it turns out they put almost that many miles on the car. I could have driven myself to Texas, saved my $1200, and actually had my possessions when I got there.

I got on the phone with the company and told them exactly what happened. They said it wasn't there fault, and there was no way I could prove they stole anything. They said that someone must have opened the car and stolen my belongings while the car was parked overnight. Last time I checked I don't think a thief would take a car off the back of a truck, drive it 800 miles, steal all of the belongings in the car, and then take the time to put the car back up on the truck before they took off. That doesn't make much sense to me. Either way I really didn't have any proof, and they said they weren't liable for anything. I ended up filing a police report and had some of the things covered by my insurance company. I never did get back any of my all-star stuff.

Well, now you know why I am forever afraid of shipping companies and why I probably won't be shipping my car anywhere else. 40 hour drive from Boston to Peoria it is.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

ON FIELD WORK

On Friday we had our first on-field practice of the spring. Hitting in the cages is one thing, but once you get on the field for the first time everything changes. Our day started with a quick stretch on the field followed by some running. After we threw for a few minutes we spilt up into three groups for some on-field batting practice. It took a few swings before I started to feel comfortable facing a live arm on the field. I don't know what it is, but hitting in an open area is so much different from hitting in the confined space of a batting cage. It is awesome to watch how the ball reacts off the bat and see the way the ball flies.

We hit for about thirty to forty-five minutes and then took some time taking ground balls. It was my first time taking ground balls on actual dirt in more than four months. Back at home I do all of my work inside a turf batting cage. I do take some ground balls in the off-season but the way the ball bounces off the turf is just so different from the way it would react off of dirt. All together practice lasted for about an hour and a half, the perfect amount of time to get all of our work in for the twelve of us.

On Saturday and Sunday we were supposed to continue with our on-field practice, but we had so much rain that it flooded the field for two days. Hopefully the rain will move out of the area for Monday's practice so we can get back to our normal routine.

Friday, February 19, 2010

FIRST WORKOUT

After arriving in Arizona on Tuesday night I made my way over to our Spring Training complex on Wednesday for a workout. The report date for position players isn't until February 24 but I like to get there a little early to get settled in and comfortable before things start up for real. On Wednesday, I spent the morning saying hello to players and coaches that I haven't seen since the end of last season. It is always good to see the guys again after a four month break. That is one of the strangest aspects of being a baseball player. You spend more than twelve hours a day, everyday, for eight months with a lot of your teammates, and then go four months straight without seeing them at all.

After I straightened out my locker and organized my equipment, I headed out to our batting cage to get a few swings in. I hadn't picked up a bat for six days because of the long drive across the country. A week off of swinging doesn't seem like it would feel that long, but when you swing everyday for a month, taking six days off feels more like an eternity. I could definitely tell that I hadn't swung in a few days. It took at least a dozen or so swings before I started to feel comfortable again with a bat in my hands.

The best part about Spring Training is the practice time. Playing in games is fun, but I really love to practice. Being able to spend a few hours working on different parts of your swing, or fielding a bunch of ground balls is what I really love doing. I ended up spending about an hour and a half taking swings and talking to guys around the cage before I got some throwing in followed by a quick weightlifting session. The one thing I really want to make sure of this year is that my body feels 100%. Making sure that I get my stretching in is something I really want to focus on. I've never been the most flexible person in the world, but if I make sure to dedicate a good amount of time to improving my flexibility I think it will help keep me feeling loose and fresh for the year.

After practice I jumped in the cold tub, the only miserable part of my day. I don't know how cold the water is, but it feels pretty close to freezing. It helps get rid of inflammation in your body and keeps you feeling good, but sitting in ice cold water for twenty minutes is perhaps the worst thing imaginable. When you first jump in it really does take your breathe away for about a minute. After that your body starts to go numb and the water doesn't seem as cold as it is. I guess its worth the pain if it keeps my back and legs feeling good.

The next few days will look a lot like today's workout. Pitchers and catchers officially reported on Thursday and will start getting there work in for about a week before they are joined by the rest of the team.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DAY 5 - NEW MEXICO TO ARIZONA

I just arrived at my new home for the next month and a half, beautiful, sunny Arizona. Its been almost three months since the last time I've seen grass and real sunshine, and it feels great. It is amazing how different Peoria, Arizona is from the rest of the country. We arrived here at about 5:30 PM and it was still 70 degrees outside. Just a few hours north of Peoria in Flagstaff it was only 45 degrees. Crazy how quickly the weather can change only a few miles apart.

We left Santa Fe, New Mexico at around 8:00 AM with only a seven hour drive left until we reached our final destination. We decided to stay the night in Santa Fe even though it was an hour or so out of the way. We heard from friends and family that it was a beautiful drive from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, about 50 miles of highway leading through the mountains of New Mexico. I am glad we decided to drive the few miles out of the way because we ended up getting some great pictures.

The craziest part about the trip was when we arrived in Northern Arizona. I have spent a lot of time over the past four years in Peoria, pretty much Phoenix, Arizona which is located towards the southern part of the state. The weather there is almost always extremely hot, except in the winter when it is a very comfortable 70 degrees. It is pretty much located in the desert where there really isn't any green grass or trees from all the summers days of over 110 degree heat. I figured that is what every part of Arizona looked like until I made my drive down the state today. Northern Arizona looks an awful lot like Vermont. The drive was awesome, through the mountains and tall green trees. It made me feel like I was back at home on the east coast.

The best part about the five day trip was seeing a lot of different areas of the country that I have never been through before. Even though the trip took a lot out of us and my lower back is still pissed at me for cramming it in my car for 40 hours, it is something I am really glad we experienced.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DAY 4 - ARKANSAS TO NEW MEXICO

Today's trip proved to be the biggest test to date, fourteen hours from Little Rock, Arkansas all the way to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Knowing we needed as much time as we could get, we decided to multi-task and grab as much food from the continental breakfast as we could and eat on our drive to our first stop in Oklahoma City. Laura has really helped out on this trip driving almost five full hours. Oklahoma didn't offer much with regards to entertainment. We did happen to find where Carrie Underwood grew up, Checotah, Oklahoma. I had no idea she was even from Oklahoma, but when Laura saw the Checotah sign she almost had a heart attack. She was driving at the time and decided to stop in the breakdown lane of the highway so we could snap a few pictures of her name on a sign. Whatever makes you happy.

We jumped back on the highway and continued for Amarillo, Texas. Northern Texas isn't much different from Oklahoma. Really flat land with a lot of farm animals and hay. It is very relaxing though, and if it wasn't unseasonably freezing outside I would have put the window down and rode in peace. The biggest thing I have noticed so far in my trip is how it hasn't really gotten any warmer as we've traveled south. The temperature in Texas was in the high 30's and there was snow all over the ground. The worst thing about our trip so far is all the restaurant food I'm being forced to eat. I hate eating fast food all the time, but I really don't have a choice. I just finished eating a Cookie Dough Blizzard from Dairy Queen and I feel like I weigh an extra twenty five pounds. I'm really looking forward to getting into Phoenix tomorrow and finally getting a workout in and eating a better meal.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

DAY 3 - KENTUCKY TO ARKANSAS

It was tough to get out of bed, but I forced myself to get up and jump in the shower early so we could get a head start out of Kentucky and towards Nashville around 9:30 AM. The snow had finally passed and the drive through town was much less nerve racking than the previous day. Kentucky really is a beautiful place, and a great scenic ride towards Tennessee. It was about three short hours until we arrived in Nashville.

Laura has never been to Tennessee before so we decided to take a quick look around the city and eat some lunch. The first thing we both noticed was how friendly people were here. A little different than the New Englanders I'm used to. I'm not saying people from that area are mean, we just use different words to show our affection towards others. "F You" really translates into "Hey best friend long time no see, how's the family?". Down here they call the men "sir" and the women "doll". It was really a cool place.

We walked up and down Broadway and checked out a lot of the small country bars and unique stores. I tried on a pair of cowboy boots and a stylish cowboy hat. I think I could rock out a nice pair of gator boots, but there's no way I could pull off the hat. We jumped back in the car after about two hours and drove another three hours to Memphis. It was really cold out and starting to get dark so we only stopped for a few minutes to look around. I wish we had more time to take a better look at Memphis. I played there a few years ago and was able to check out downtown. Another really cool and unique city. After a few minutes we continued on our way to Little Rock, Arkansas. It was starting to get late and we really wanted to get to our hotel room and relax for a while.

We pulled in around 8:00 PM or so. Even though the trip wasn't as long as the trip to Kentucky, the hours were starting to pile up. There is only so many days in a row you can sit in a small two door car packed to the brim before it really starts to get to you. We still have another 22 or so hours to go until we reach Peoria. Tomorrow is a big day for Laura. We have a fourteen hour trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I'm counting on her big time to grab the wheel for a few hours. We will see what happens. Cross your fingers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

DAY 2 - NYC TO KENTUCKY

We woke up early to start our drive out of New York City and head for Kentucky, "God's country". Most of our trip consisted of traveling through the snowy mountains, really a beautiful view but not that great with a rear wheel drive car. Out of New York and into Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and then Kentucky. There wasn't much to see, or do, on our long drive down a two lane highway with not much of anything around. Hour after hour passed, and I kept noticing the same three things popping up mile after mile. McDonald's, fireworks stores, and Adult XXX books and videos stores. I couldn't help but stop for a Big Mac and super sized fry, but steered clear of the other two.

I wish there were more I could talk about, but the drive really was that boring. We were meeting family friends in Kentucky for dinner that night, so we didn't stop much. Eleven hours, pretty much straight through, only stopping for gas and drive-thru. We pulled into Lexington, Kentucky around 8:00 p.m. I had totally forgot that the University of Kentucky was playing Tennessee that night in a big college basketball game. The directions took us right through downtown Lexington passed Rupp Arena. They love their college basketball down here. In Boston there isn't much college sports hype like there is down south, so it is always cool to be around that type of college sports atmosphere.

We hit about twenty minutes of traffic as everyone piled into the stadium just prior to game time. We continued on and were greeted by great people, an unbelievable home cooked meal, and a desert to die for, the world famous "cookie monster". It was exactly what we both needed after two days of fast food on the road. After eating and a bunch of laughs I was out like a light at 10:30. Sleep is good.

Day 3 - Arkansas

Saturday, February 13, 2010

DAY 1 - BOSTON TO NYC

Spring Training is officially here. We left this afternoon from Boston and headed south to New York City around 2:30, an hour later than we had wanted, but packing takes longer than you think when you’re moving most of your belonging across the country. Last New Year’s Eve we took a drive down to NYC to celebrate the holiday and the trip took us about 3 1/2 hours. Things were looking great this time around too, until all hell broke loose when we got just outside the city at about 5:30 or so, rush hour. It took us almost 4 hours to drive the remaining thirty minutes into the southern tip of Manhattan. We finally arrived at around 9:00 p.m.


I parked outside of one of my college buddies apartments and waited for him to come down to show me where to park. He lives in the very crowded financial district so parking is tough to come by. He is somewhat new to the city and mostly uses the subway, so he’s still learning how to get around everywhere by car. He jumped in and we decided to park in the garage adjacent to his building and leave the car overnight. As we drove around his place he thought the next right would lead us around to where we wanted to be. It ended up taking us through a tunnel and into Brooklyn, a five minute drive to somewhere we had no interest in going.


After driving for a while we finally came out of the tunnel and arrived at a toll booth. The toll was six bucks, a big waste of money for someplace we weren't even trying to go to. I asked my buddy if he could grab my wallet out of the glove box for me. He opened it up but couldn’t find it. I told him to search the floor, or check behind the seat. Nothing. I started getting nervous. I pulled up to the toll and told the guy my problem.


“Dude, I don’t know what happened, but we were trying to pull into a parking garage and we ended up in Brooklyn. I don’t have any money on me I’m sorry.” He let out a big sigh. He seemed like he had heard this one before. He stuck his head out his small window, "doesn't your buddy have six bucks on him." Casey had left his wallet up in his apartment. "No, he doesn't have anything on him either." “OK just give me your license then.” he said. I tried not laughing, “I don’t have my license on me. It’s in my bag that my girlfriend took into the apartment we dropped her off at.” He looked at me like I was an idiot, rightfully so. “OK, give me your buddies license then.” My friend leaned over to my window. “I don’t have my license either man, I left my wallet up in my apartment. I just ran out to help him get into the parking garage.” Now the guy got really pissed. “OK, first of all I should write you down for not having a license. You know you can’t drive without a license! Put the car in park!


He grabbed his radio and called someone, asking for a police officer. I figured I was at least getting some kind of ticket, maybe even getting my car taken. The cop wasn’t a very friendly guy. By this time we had been sitting there for at least five minutes and backed up a shit ton of traffic trying to get into Brooklyn on a Friday night. “The toll guy” told the cop the story. The officer took a slow glance over at us. I could see the word running through his head over and over again. Idiots, idiots, idiots. He started reading out our license plate to the other guy. “Come with me!” I put the car in drive and started forward. He started moving the center barrier to let us make a U-turn to head back to the city. He jumped in front of traffic coming from the other side, stopping everyone so we could turn around and head back to Manhattan. My buddy rolled down his window to thank him. “Thank you sir, I really appreciate it. We aren’t from the city, I’m sorry. The cop turned around, “I don’t care where your from!!!!” I got scared and gunned it towards the toll on the other side. We pulled up and stopped, waiting for the guy to let us through. “Six dollars,” he said. Holy shit not this again. Right before I started to retell my whole story a voice came over his radio telling him to let us through. Thank God. I slammed the pedal to get out of there before they changed their mind. We both broke out in laughter.


Day 2: Kentucky

Friday, February 12, 2010

CATZ

Before I hop in my car to head out for my 40 hour drive to Arizona I wanted to take a few minutes and thank everyone at CATZ Sports Performance Center in Needham, Massachusetts. I have worked on my speed and agility at CATZ for the past few years, but this year I was able to do all of my weight training as well. I can honestly say that I am faster, stronger, and more flexible than any other time in my life thanks to all the hard work my trainer Mark has put in with me. If you live in the Boston area and want to get ready for any sport I really recommend that you give CATZ a call. I have trained with all types of different people all over the country and the trainers at CATZ really are the best at what they do. Thanks again!

Below is a small sample of a workout I did yesterday before I left for Arizona.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

WHO'S THIS GUY?

Just for the record, that is not me on this card. It's Brad Coon from the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim. It has my name on it, but his picture. I feel weird every time I have to sign this thing. Plus it is absolutely exhausting. For some reason I feel like it is my obligation to tell every person I sign it for that it isn't me. I feel like everybody has this card too. Every Spring Training I must sign at least 1000 of these. The funny part about it is, I hit righty, he hits lefty. He plays centerfield, I play 2nd base. He weighs 170 pounds I weigh 210. I can see how they got us confused.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

HOOTERS II

I put a picture up yesterday of me in my Hooter's uniform. No, I didn't wear this for Halloween. (That's more embarrassing than funny) And no this isn't what I wear out on the weekends. (It's for special occasions only) I didn't wear any of this by choice. Along with about fifteen other rookies, I had to wear this sweet attire out to a local bar in Denver, Colorado two seasons ago. It actually wasn't all that bad. It was uncomfortable as all hell, but as far as embarrassment goes, it wasn't too horrible because we had so many guys dressed up like twenty year old women.

We all had to walk into a downtown bar together and grab a quick drink before we jumped on the bus to catch our plane. I don't think the people in the restaurant even had any idea why we were dressed up anyways. The worst part about the whole thing was having to fly across the country to Washington D.C. in those shorts. Remember atomic wedgies back in grade school. Of course being such a cool kid growing up I never received one of these. (I wish that was the case. I was just faster than most of the kids so I'd run away before I was tortured) That's kind of the feeling I imagine it being like.

I couldn't wait to get into our hotel room and squeeze out of the thing. The night took a turn for the worse after I checked into my room. Two minutes after I laid in bed to relax there was a knock at the door. I didn't have my luggage yet, so I couldn't change out of my Hooter's uniform unless I wanted to open the door naked. I opened it a crack and just stuck my head out leaving the rest of my body hidden behind the door. Unfortunately, it was a guy from room service with my luggage. He wanted to wheel it in for me, but I tried to tell him that I had everything under control. He didn't seem to want to take the hint and insisted he wheel it in for me. I was so uncomfortable and wanted to get out of my booty shorts so badly that I decided to let the guy in.

I don't even want to know what went through his head when I opened the door all the way and he saw me in my matching shorts and spaghetti strap tank top. I'm actually still very surprised a swat team didn't come busting through my window to arrest me shortly after he left. I'm hoping that guy will stumble upon this blog so he can stop telling his buddies on the weekends about that time he saw some weirdo from San Diego rocking a Hooter's outfit in his hotel room. Sorry for the nightmares dude.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

HOOTERS HOOTERS HOOTERS

Any Hooters looking for some weekend help? I'm looking to make a little spending money for the season. Don't even tell me you wouldn't give this kid a 20% tip...hell, make it 25%!

To be continued...

Monday, February 8, 2010

AND THE CROWD GOES WILD

Wow, what an awesome game yesterday. It took the Saints a quarter to settle in, but once they did they outplayed the Colts for almost the remaining three quarters. I love watching the underdog pull one off like that.

As far as the commercials go I thought the first few of the night were pretty good, but overall I didn't think they were that outstanding. My favorite one was, "Keep your hands of my momma, and keep your hands off my Doritos. I watched that one about 10 times and kept laughing. Doritos did a good job this year.

I've already got some questions about my TV and if it stayed on all night long. I actually didn't get to watch any of the game on it. It wouldn't stay on for more than 30 seconds at a time. They finally decided to ship us a new projector, thanks to our 12 e-mails, 28 phone calls, and numerous messages. I don't like to bother people like that or even cause too much confrontation, but when you buy something it should work for at least a little while without breaking. The new one was suppose to be here before the game but, big shocker, it wasn't. I'm thinking about buying a cardboard sign and picketing in front of his store with one of those catchy songs, something like...1,2,3,4, his TVs suck, don't buy from this @#&% bag. I'm not smart enough to make it rhyme but I think it still will work. If you have a better song let know, I will use it.

For the last few years I have been listening to my girlfriend tell me how she is a better skater than me. She figure skated when she was 12 and I played hockey until I went to college. We went public skating up at our local rink so I could put the debate to rest once and for all. She was actually pretty good, but I reminded myself of a young Gretzky out there. I even made her this highlight video so she would never forget. Only three kids were injured during the filming. (Just kidding) That's what happens when you step on the tracks when the trains coming through. I was in THE ZONE.



P.S. We might have been the only people over six years old on the ice. And no, I didn't have a helmet on.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

SUPERBOWL

I can't decide who to go with in tomorrow's Superbowl. Everybody and their grandmother is picking the Colts to win, and win by a lot. I agree that the Colts have the slight edge, but I don't think it's going to be a blowout. Manning might be able to do whatever he wants against the Saints defense, but I think Brees will be able to do just about as much against the Colts. Freeney being out only makes his job that much easier. I guess I'm going to go with the Colts 35-28. I don't feel really confident with this pick at all though.

If you have been reading my blog for the last few weeks you know I have been having trouble with my TV upstairs that I watch all my sports on. I actually haven't watched anything up there since the National Championship Game because of how frustrated the thing makes me. I swear on all things holy, if the TV turns off even once during the game there will be hell to pay.

Friday, February 5, 2010

THAT SPECIAL SOMETHING

What is it about Spring Training that makes it unlike anything else in sports. Maybe I'm way off here and non baseball fans are going to yell at me, and maybe it's just because I love baseball and play it for a living, but I feel like the start of baseball season is different from every other sport. At least once every single day, but usually much, much more than that, I will hear someone say, "I can't wait for Spring Training to get here!" It doesn't matter what month it is. It could be February 15, a few days before Spring Training starts, or it could be November 6, one week after the World Series ended. And it doesn't matter where I am. I could be in New England, San Diego, Arizona, Florida, it doesn't matter. You usually don't hear a ton of people say, "I just can't wait for football training camp to start", or, "when does the NBA pre-season tip off?" Spring Training is just unique from every other sport. I know I live in Boston where I haven't seen green grass in three months, so when you watch that first game in Florida or Arizona and see the warm weather and green grass it kind of pumps you up, even if it's still only 30 degrees and snowy outside. Whatever it is, I like it. Spring Training starts in a few weeks. Get PUMPED!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

MAIL BAG

Jason from San Diego asks:
Hi Matt! Good luck this season. I hope you have a great year! I had a quick question if you wouldn't mind answering. I know most of your games start at around 7:00 p.m. What do you do when you are not at the field? What time do you usually get up, go to bed, that type of stuff?

Thanks for writing Jason. I get this question a lot. The first time I was talking to someone and told them at 1:30 p.m. that I had to go because I was walking into the stadium they thought I was making up an excuse to get them off the phone. Most people figure I walk into the stadium at 6:00 for a 7:00 p.m. game. I'll give you a quick rundown of what my day usually consists of during a home game since away games are a lot different.

The game has just ended. It's about 10:00 p.m. We come into the locker room, listen to a quick victory song, and start to change out of our uniforms. For the sake of this example I'm playing in triple-A since I have played more than 200 games there and that place is freshest in my memory. Dinner is served buffet style, usually chicken cordon bleu or a cheesy pasta from Applebees. I'm the world's pickiest eater and think tonight's food tastes quite similar to my dog Rico's "Scubby Treats" so I pass on dinner and head for the showers.

Once every three games or so I'll get a quick weight lifting session and a stretch in before I shower just to make sure the body is feeling alright and stays healthy for 162 games. Plus my life motto is "Big Arms Big Paychecks" (Stolen from the show Hogan Knows Best, before Brooke sabotaged the program) I'll get dressed and head out to pick up some dinner. I love this pizza place right outside our stadium, even though its like $20 for a large cheese. Sometimes I'm in the mood for PF Chang's. I'm a real simple guy. If I like something I can eat it every night over and over again and never get sick of it. After dinner I'll head back to my apartment. It is usually around 11:30 or 12:00 a.m.

Last year I became addicted to online poker..."what a loser". I wasted a good amount of nights playing that stuff. I wasn't too bad, winning money from my pretend friends I met online. I actually won like $4 playing at some 5 cent 10 cent tables. Real good use of my time, I know. I love watching movies, so I would usually catch a flick around midnight or 1:00 a.m. to put myself to sleep around 2:00 a.m. My bedroom didn't have a TV so I ended up turning my living room into a studio apartment by dragging my mattress out there.

I'm a bad sleeper, so if I make it to 10:00 a.m. I consider it a victory. Once I get up I make myself breakfast, two cinnamon-raisin bagels with cream cheese. Every single day I have this for breakfast. Well, at least 300 days a year. I'll eat my breakfast while I catch up with some people on the phone, watch Sportscenter, or play a quick game of Madden, Fifa, or NBA 2k9. My XBOX serves a lot of purpose in my life, which is why I'm so pissed it broke on me a few weeks ago. Now it's about 12:00 and getting close to the time I need to head to the field. I'll take a quick shower and get dressed. Since I don't have a car I'll either take the Max, which is kind of like a train/bus I guess, or I'll walk to get food. I'll either get lunch at Chipotle, a bar called the Kingston, a sushi place I can't seem to remember the name of for some reason even though I had lunch their over 50 times last year, or Panda Express. Not exactly the lunch of champions, but I don't have a real lot of options. I usually grab my lunch and head over to the field to eat it around 1 or 1:30.

As you can see, I really don't get anything worth while accomplished during my days. They go by so fast it is unbelievable. After I finish my lunch I watch a little more TV before getting dressed and hitting in our batting cage. Batting practice starts not too long after that and goes for about an hour. When batting practice ends we come in, take a shower, grab a little snack, and usually have an hour to relax before we have to get ready for the game. At 6:30 I head back out to the field to throw, stretch, and get everything ready for a 7:05 first pitch.

That's it. That's my day. Hope you're still awake and that helps.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

PRIZES

I'm thinking about doing another trivia question this coming week since I've received a lot of e-mails asking for another one. I'll let you guys decide what you want the prize to be. Send me an e-mail or leave a comment letting me know what prize you guys would like the winner to receive. My house and car are off limits, but anything else goes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

HATS FOR BATS...KEEP BATS WARM

I got a chance to travel down to Fall River, Massachusetts to check out how a wooden bat is made at a local bat company. It was a long drive of almost an hour, but I'm glad I went and was able to see how the whole process works. It really is unbelievable how quickly a piece of wood can be transformed into any type of bat you desire.

I brought a bat that I swung during my time at fall ball in Arizona a few months ago and asked if they could replicate it. They took my bat and took a few quick measurements of the handle and the barrel. They put the numbers into a computer program and before I knew it a piece of wood was automatically placed into a large machine where the cutting began. It only took two minutes for the wood to be carved within a millimeter of what I had asked for. I wish I was able to take a video of it because it really was impressive. After the bat came out of the machine it was sanded, boned, cupped, and dipped in paint. They finish by slapping their logo on and engraving your name on the barrel. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes.

I am really looking forward to swinging their bats this year. The best part about the whole process is that now if my bats don't show up on time they can't tell me that it takes a long time to make the bats, or they were backed up on orders. I know the process and I know you're lying! I'm just playing, I know you get a ton of orders. I'll wait for my bats like everybody else.

Monday, February 1, 2010

CAPE ALL-STAR GAME

This is a video taken after my freshman year at Wake Forest playing in the Cape Cod League. The first part was taken during batting practice before my first All-Star Game in Orleans. As you can see from my swing, I wasn't too concerned with hitting singles on the ground. The game footage was my first at-bat during the game.