Friday, December 31, 2010

CHRISTMAS CAMP

Hey guys! The past few days I have been pretty busy with a Christmas hitting camp that we do every year for many of the local Little League and AAU players in my neck of the woods. It is always fun to teach the little ones some of the things that I've learned over the past few years of playing professional baseball. It is also fun to listen to the stuff that comes out of some of the kids mouths. We always have a question and answer segment at the end of camp where I get to answer questions from the kids. One five year old all-star asked me approximately fifteen times if I liked to eat chicken for dinner. Not only do you get quality baseball advice, but we care about helping our countries youth with their eating habits. You can see why we are one of the best camps in the country!

Anyways, on a serious note, I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year! Below is some highlights of our camp.




P.S. Anyone that is driving outside tonight, watch out for the snow. The roads around here are wicked slippery. See!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BO KNOWS

Hey guys! Today's blog post is for the kids. Listen, there are a lot of baseball people out there that give great advice for how to be a better hitter. They teach you how to take a stride. How to transfer your weight. How to drive the ball for power. And how to look pretty while doing it all. But what happens when things aren't going your way? Baseball is a game of failure you know. If you fail 70% of the time in the Major Leagues, chances are you're going to the Hall of Fame. But what do we do when we are failing 80% of the time? Some coaches will tell you to stay positive. Focus on the good things that are happening. It's all rainbows and butterflies and compromise. I think that's a Maroon 5 lyric, but you get my point. Some will say your last resort is a good ole' slump buster. Actually I take that back, I forgot, this is for the kids. Well, I say all that stuff is for the birds. Sometimes you have no choice but to resort to plan B. Here is a friend of mine demonstrating the proper action to take when you've gone 0-4, can't even sniff a fastball, and your bat has a hole in it. Good luck kids!

video

Monday, December 27, 2010

TRIVIA WINNER

Thanks to everyone that participated in the trivia contest. The correct answers were #9 for the Storm and #23 for the Missions. There were a lot of people that answered correctly, and also a lot of people that answered one but not both correctly. The first two people to answer correctly were Alexander T. and Shelley from New Mexico. Congratulations to you both! If you won please send me an email with where you would like me to send the shirt and if you would like me to sign it or not. Thanks again for playing and good luck to everyone next time we play again!

WIN A PADRES SHIRT

Here is how the game is played. The first two people to answer this question correctly will receive a Padres shirt that many of us wear under our uniforms during the season (seen below). You can send your answer to mattantonelli9@gmail.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, in the comment section below, or any other way you can think of. If you think a carrier pigeon will get it to me the fastest you can try that. Like I said before, if you would like me to sign the shirt I will, but by no means must you get it signed. Maybe you live in the San Diego area and would like one of my other buddies on the Padres to sign it for you. That would be just fine. Good luck to everyone and let's do this!



In 2007 I played for both the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League and the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League. The question is, what number did I wear as a member of the Storm, and what number did I wear as a member of the Missions? You must get both numbers right to win the shirt. Remember, it is the first two people to answer correctly, so hurry up!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

What's up guys? I hope everyone had a great holiday season and really enjoyed Christmas Day! I spent Christmas Eve eating dinner and exchanging presents at both Laura's family's house and at my relatives. Nothing like trying to get your holiday travel plans in order to make sure you can get to every one's house before the night is over. The good news was we ate chinese food at both places. Jackpot!

Santa was pretty good to me come Christmas morning. Even though I'd been trying to cut back on my video game time over the past few months, it didn't stop me from receiving Call of Duty and NBA 2k11. I figure everyone has to make a little time for video games every now and then no matter how old we get. One thing I have been really interested in lately is learning a new language, so my girlfriend bought me Rosetta Stone Italian. My generation is the only generation of my family that doesn't have a member that can speak Italian, so I figure I'll just have to start the trend and be the first. If anyone out there can speak it fluently I expect you to stay on my case and make sure I'm putting in the time to learn. Maybe we can have a pop quiz at some point in the future.

Today I am enjoying my time in the house watching the Patriots beat up on the Buffalo Bills. It is 34-3 right now so I think I can start to relax. It also just started snowing outside and we are going to get hit with a blizzard of up to two feet of snow. I'll probably be spending most of my night by a candle once we lose power playing Clue or Monopoly. Nothing like the good ole' days.

Before I sign off, I want to remind everyone that tomorrow I will have a trivia question and the first two people to answer correctly will receive a signed San Diego Padres shirt. They will be the dri-fit shirts that we wear under our jerseys. Send your answers to mattantonelli9@gmail.com or in the comment section below. Good luck to everyone tomorrow and have a great remainder of the day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Hey guys! I hope everyone is having a great week and happy holidays to all. I haven't been writing as much on the blog the last few days because of everything that's going on this week. I've been trying to do some last minute shopping for a few people, which always takes up more time than you anticipate. I actually still have no idea what I am going to buy for my girlfriend. It's OK though, since she doesn't know what she is going to get me yet either. I still have another two days to figure it all out.

Over the last few weeks I have been hitting like usual, and things seem to be going well. The swing feels good and the wrist is feeling even better. I'll throw a video below of a few swings I took today.





I wanted to let everyone know that I will be having a holiday giveaway this coming Monday. Since I am no longer with the Padres I thought I could sign a few of my shirts and mail them to the winners of a trivia contest. If you don't really like me, but really like the Padres, I don't have to sign it. It is totally up to you guys. I will give everybody a heads up what time the question will be posted on Monday. The first two people to answer it correctly will win a shirt. Just to clarify, it isn't an actual jersey. It will be the shirt we wear under our jerseys with the SD logo on it. I would love to give a jersey away but I only have one of those.

Anyways, I hope everyone has a great holiday and I will speak with everyone after Santa gives me some wicked cool stuff.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS

Yesterday, I went to Barnes and Noble to buy a new book, The 4-Hour Body, by Tim Ferriss. I usually would never go shopping anywhere close to Christmas, but the book had just come out and I was looking forward to reading it. I realized pretty quickly that I had made a huge mistake. I'm not sure what people eat or drink before they decide to leave their house to do their holiday shopping, but it reminds me a little of that movie I Am Legend starring Will Smith, where when the sun goes down those scary looking things come out and try to eat your head off. People walk around and shop 10x faster during the Holidays. Even little old ladies on motorized carts turn into Ricky Bobby and want nothing more than to go fast. People are so afraid to miss something or let someone else buy something before they do. I'm not sure if they realized this, but Barnes and Noble has about 10 million books, and I'd bet they have more than one copy of their favorite literature.

I felt like a squirrel trying to cross a busy highway to get to all my buddies on the other side. Every time I took three steps I would have to stop and quickly look around before someone ran me over. At least in that case, most drivers would do whatever it takes to swerve quickly out of the way of our furry little friends. People shopping don't give a crap during the holiday season. I personally think they are looking for contact. If someone were to bump into you during a random day in July they would stop, apologize, and then walk slowly on their way. What ever happened to the Christmas spirit. People bump into you a week before Christmas, mumble to get the @&*% out of their way, lower their shoulder to get the all important Yards After Contact, and stumble their way into the end zone. Oh look, they have 48 copies of Harry Potter's volume 14 The Magic Wizard Stick, Touchdown!!!!

Outside there was an accident, about every fifteen minutes. Not only do people walk faster inside the mall, but they have no regard for any speed limit signs or any human life form in the parking lot. Yield to pedestrians on the cross walk? Yeah right. No passing over the double yellow line? Bite me. It's every man for himself out there, and if you get in some one's way you will pay the consequences. Pain! The damn parking lot is huge, but god forbid you would ever have to park and actually walk outside to your car. If holiday parking lot etiquette has anything to say about us, well, it says we're a bunch of assholes. The shitty part of this whole thing. I still haven't done my Christmas shopping yet. Shit.

This was actually one accident I saw when leaving the mall. I video taped it for you.

Friday, December 17, 2010

THE DECISION...

Hey guys! The weeks seem to be flying by the last few months. I really can't believe Christmas is only a week away. I still haven't gone shopping yet, but that isn't anything new. When it comes to holiday shopping I rank towards the top of the list of procrastinators. I figure I will let everyone else battle it out for shopping mall parking spots and I'll sneak in the night before Christmas Eve.

I know I've been MIA the last few days when it comes to my blog. I have had a lot of different things on my plate this past week. I'm working out everyday during the week, started hitting and fielding more, and been weighing my options when it comes to free agency.

Over the past week my agent has spoken with a bunch of different clubs about the possibility of me joining their team come February. It really is an interesting experience when you are a free agent and have to weigh different options and ultimately decide where you are going to play. After looking through the potential destinations last night I decided this morning that my best opportunity was to sign with the Washington Nationals. I am really excited for Spring Training to get back to playing again and being a part of their team. It has been a while since I've had the chance to be out on a baseball field and I know it will feel great when I'm able to do it again, especially this time being fully healthy. I've received a lot of emails and messages from Padres fan letting me know they will continue to follow me and cheer for me even though I'm no longer with their organization. I really appreciate that and thank you to everyone that has read my blog or shared a chat or two over the past few years.

Anyways, thanks again to everyone for the good luck wishes. I've got a date at the batting cage in a few minutes so I will talk with everyone soon. Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FANTASY FOOTBALLS FOR GIRLS ANYWAY

Hey everybody! I hope you all had a good weekend. I thought my weekend was going great, with the Patriots beating the Bears and my fantasy team up by 26 going into the Monday night game, until I woke up this morning. I found out that Andre Johnson scored 26 points exactly, meaning we tied 84-84. Our league never ruled on what the tie breaker would be, so apparently it was determined today that because I had lost to my opponent in the regular season he would advance to the playoffs. As you can see I am still pretty upset about the decision, but one day I will get over it and move on. Just not today.

Some interesting things happened over the weekend that I thought I would talk about today. I woke up today to a bunch of messages from Phillies fans letting me know that Cliff Lee signed with their team. Not really sure why people were writing to tell me this, considering I'm not really a Philadelphia fan, but I guess they just couldn't contain their excitement and had to let everyone know. I won't lie, that is one bad ass pitching rotation. I wouldn't want to see them in a playoff series that's for sure. I found it crazy that for the past few weeks it had been nothing but Yankees and Rangers talk, and then all of a sudden you wake up and hear the Phillies were the team. In today's world where Cliff probably can't even pick a booger without Buster Olney reporting on it, I'm surprised nobody really was reporting that the Phillies were in on the running. Good for them though, that's a great signing.

If anyone watched the Eagles vs. Cowboys game on Sunday night you know that after the game Tashard Choice ran over the Mike Vick and asked him to sign his gloves. I know that Tashard has since said he wanted the autographed gloves for his nephew, and I really don't care who they were for. What I don't understand is why I had to watch them talk about this for the last day and a half on SportsCenter, ESPN 2, and every other sports channel. It was a stupid autograph. Players do that stuff all the time. At the end of soccer games players take their jerseys off on the field and trade with each other. Baseball players send the clubby over to the opposing team's clubhouse before the game to grab some of their favorite player's autographs. It happens in every sport. I agree, from the time the game starts until it ends players need to forget about their friendships and do whatever it takes to win the ballgame. But after they have laid it all on the line for 60 minutes, I don't care if they all want to hug each other and sing kumbaya together.

The last thing is with regards to me being a free agent. I can't count the number of emails I have received from people asking where I will be playing next year, and if I have heard anything new about my situation. Over the last few weeks we have talked to a bunch of different teams, including the Padres, and are about to make a decision in the next few days. People have asked me to explain what will be the determining factor when it comes to deciding on a team. The main thing for me is opportunity. I want to pick a team that gives me the best opportunity to play in the Major Leagues. Everything else is pretty much secondary. Right now there are some opportunities that are better than others, so it will be my job over the next few days to decide which opportunity looks the best for me. I should know more about what's going on in the next 72 hours or so and I will keep everyone posted. Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon.

P.S. This bird has better rhythm than the majority of people I've seen out at night.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

YOOOO ADRIAN!!!!



Ever since last week when it was announced that the Padres and Red Sox had come to an agreement to trade all-star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for four minor league prospects, I've been asked countless times by fellow Bostonians for my Peter Gammons like analysis of the trade. As many of you know, I live a few miles outside Boston, and even though the weather outside is around 20 degrees and there is snow on the ground, Red Sox fever is as alive as ever. The thing I've found surprising is that even though people around here know so much about baseball, many don't know as much about Adrian as they probably should. I guess it makes sense being that Padres games don't start until after 10 PM east coast time, and many people have retired to bed by that time, preparing to beat the early morning traffic. Living on the west coast for the past five years, you forget how big a part the time difference actually plays when it comes to watching west coast sports. I figured since I've been asked a couple million times to talk about the deal I would take a day and go through it here.

The biggest question I've been asked by Red Sox fans since the trade is, "Do you think Gonzalez is worth the $150 million." My reply has always been, "if any hitter in the league is worth that much dinero, he definitely is." I don't know if I can think of anything Adrian doesn't bring to the table with regards to both his baseball ability and intangibles. He is a gold glove defender, maybe the best defensive first baseman in the league. He hits, hits for power, hits for average, drives in runs, hits doubles, hits home runs, gets on base, walks a ton, and does it all while playing in one of the toughest ballparks for a hitter in the league. He is a great clubhouse guy. He is a team player, wants to win, is humble, a leader, and great in the community. I don't know if there is a single thing the guy doesn't do. I guess he doesn't steal bases, but if you need that just go out and grab a guy like Carl Crawford...oo wait, never mind.

Although I have only been able to play with him for three Spring Trainings and a small sample of Major League games, I have still been able to learn a lot from him. Without acting like that Kevin Bacon super fan on the Google TV commercial, I've tried to listen and learn from him as much as I could. Two things stick out in my mind when I think about what I've learned over the past few years.

The first thing is his approach to practice and his pursuit to be one of the games best players. Being infielders, we would spend a lot of time in the batting cages at the same time during Spring Training. Everyone knows that Gonzo is one of the best in the game at using the entire field. He has an unbelievable ability to take an outside pitch, and even a pitch that is off the plate, and drive it to left field for a double or home run. Many people may think this just comes naturally, but I know from watching him that he works tirelessly on this skill. From the first swing in the batting cage he puts a ball on a tee low and outside and hits ball after ball to left field. The crazy part is he rarely doesn't hit the ball exactly where he wants. It is pretty impressive to watch.

He takes this approach from tee work, to soft toss, to batting practice. If he wanted to he could come to the plate during BP and hit home run after home run 450 feet into the right field bleachers. I know if I had his power and ability I would. I'd also stare at the ball until it hit the stands, take a small walk around the batting cage to make sure everyone knew it was me that hit it, maybe take a slight bow or two, and then return to repeat the process. But that's besides the point. Instead, he works on hitting line drives to left field, over and over and over again. He isn't worried about what he looks like doing it. He doesn't need to show everyone the light tower power that he possesses. He is doing what he thinks is going to make him a great ballplayer, and what is ultimately going to help him be successful once game time rolls around. Pretty impressive.

The second thing I've learned is why he makes the hard plays look so easy. The biggest thing I've realized is he is not afraid to make a mistake, or mess up in practice, or even look stupid while doing it. We were on the practice field one day working on taking ground balls and short pop flies. During the pop fly drills he would start on the infield grass and chase pop flies down the right field line. These plays were hard, and he made them even harder by starting way in on the grass and having to run as hard as he could down the line while attempting to make an over the shoulder catch up against the practice fence. When it was my turn to go I stood in my normal position towards the outfield grass. As the pop up shot up in the air I was in good position to take a few steps backwards and make the easy catch as the ball practically landed exactly where I started.

After I made the catch he looked over and told me to move in on the grass so the drill wasn't so easy. Anybody could catch an easy pop up right at them, but the great players can make the tough over the head play into short right field. Where as I was just trying to make sure I made the easy catch, he was challenging himself to make the drill as tough as possible, not afraid if he didn't make the catch, or dropped a tough play. He wasn't afraid to mess up, and I was working on something so easy that I wouldn't screw it up. Although it's a little different when one is a seven year veteran who's job is already locked up, and the other is a minor league scrub just trying to make as little mistakes as possible in chance of making the team, but his statement really made a ton of sense and I'm glad he brought it up. It really made me adjustment the way I was practicing. Just a small example of how he makes his teammates better.

Anyways, there are a lot of other things I could talk about, but the blog post would go on forever and most people would flip over to Facebook to see some one's status update yelling at a former boyfriend that they don't need them anymore and their life is wonderful now that they are gone, all while crying into their pillow. I hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll talk to you later.


P.S. This is for all my Jets fans. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

GREAT STORY, COMPELLING, AND RICH

Hey guys! A few weeks ago I did an interview that covered a bunch of topics around social media, baseball, and life in general. I thought I would through it up here for everyone to see. I hope you enjoy.

What attracted you to twitter?

I really liked the idea of Twitter for a few reasons. Number one, I think it is really cool how fast information is passed and also how many people you can reach in only one quick click of a button. I am able to follow a bunch of really interesting people and hear what they have to say and what they are doing. That is pretty cool. For me personally, it allows me to talk with people all over the world and fans of baseball so easily, it is awesome.

If you had the talent to do ANYTHING except baseball what would you do?

You will probably laugh, but I would want to play in the NFL or NBA. You can probably tell already that I have a weird fascination with sports, but I think it would be awesome to be able to play any professional sport. If I had to pick something other than sports, it would have something to do with business. I would like to run my own company, or work on Wall Street. Not one of the little guys, I'm talking Warren Buffett style lol.

Please choose only one of the following. Neither is not an option.

A) Win the World Series once, entire team free of injuries and trades. However before and after that you're on a team at the bottom of the division.
Or.

B) You win the League Championship Series every year but end up losing the World Series in game 7.

I'm going with A. The main reason for playing is to win the World Series. I'd rather win it one time than never win it at all.

What is your favorite baseball moment?

I have a lot of favorite moments in my baseball career so far, and hopefully a lot more to come. Being drafted and given the opportunity to play professional baseball would have to be one of them. Making my Major League debut would definitely be another, along with my first hit and home run of my career.

Since you can name your twitter followers. What will you call them.

Haha, I've never thought of this one before. I'll tweet that out today and see what people think I should do and then I'll get back to you lol.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

EXCUSES ARE LIKE POEMS

Hey guys. What a great Tuesday it is. Last night my New England Patriots laid the smack down on the New York Jets to take control of the AFC East and get the inside track to a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Then my fantasy team, which at one time qualified for the "shittiest fantasy football team imaginable" award, snuck in the back door to the fantasy playoffs. I will probably be bounced in the first round, but my motto has always been "just get to the dance and anything can happen." I am pretty excited for next Sunday to see what happens.

I have received a lot of emails over the weekend asking if I have had heard anything from teams or if I had a better idea about where I might be playing come next season. As of right now I am not really sure what is going to happen. I know my agent has talked with teams and he is down at the winter meetings in Orland, Florida as we speak. I should know a lot more once that is over and we have some time to sit down and talk. I will be sure to let everyone know what is going on once I have a better idea.

A lot of people are always asking me for baseball tips. One of my favorite things to do is teach baseball to younger players and offer any advice and wisdom that I have been lucky enough to acquire over the years of playing baseball. Below are some great baseball tips from one of my favorite coaches of all time. Check it out. I know it will make you a better ballplayer, and even if your not, you will get something valuable out of it. Enjoy!


Friday, December 3, 2010

FREE AGENCY

Hello everybody! Hope you are all doing well today. I know a lot of people have already seen this online and have wished me luck on Twitter and through emails today, but I thought I would take a few minutes to let everyone know exactly what happened yesterday. Turns out I was non-tendered by the Padres, which basically means I am now a free agent and can choose to play for any team in the league. A lot of people have asked me to explain what "non-tendered" means, but I really don't know exactly how it works. I just know that if you are non-tendered, it basically means your contract was not picked up by the team and you are no longer with them. Over the next few days I will be talking to teams around the league and will have to decide where I want to spend next year playing. This is the first time in my career that I haven't belonged to a team, so it does feel kind of weird, but I know I will catch on with someone and do well this coming year. I am really looking forward to it. Thanks again to everyone that has wished me well and cheered for me over the past few years, I really appreciate that.

On my last blog post I said that I was given a drug test a few days ago, and I would make a video explaining exactly how it works since I was asked by so many people. Here you go! I hope I did an OK job of answering every one's questions. Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WE TALKIN' BOUT PRACTICE!

Hello everybody. How is everyone doing today? I can't believe it is already December. I feel like it was summer about three weeks ago. I know I will probably jinx myself with this one, but I am surprised I still haven't seen a single snow flake since returning home about a month ago. Hopefully we can keep it that way for at least a few more weeks.

Yesterday morning I had to wake up at 830AM for a MLB drug test. It was the first time I've had a drug test during the off-season, which is a little surprising after five years. The good news is, that although I haven't been seen in a real game in so long they still know that I am alive. Always a positive thing. I got a lot of questions on Twitter asking how the test works and all, so I made a video about it that I'll throw on here in a few days. If I had to give a one word description of the event, I'd probably go with...uncomfortable. At least now I should be good for the rest of the winter.

Anyways, I'm always receiving questions, especially from young ballplayers around the country, asking what type of stuff I do during the off-season to get ready for baseball in the spring. It is tough to go through absolutely everything, but I figured I would tape some of my workout that I got in last night. I still have about three months until Spring Training, so most of my stuff is very controlled in a batting cage. Once we start to get closer to the season I will start taking more ground balls out on the turf field and also start hitting more live pitching. Hope this helps you guys out that were asking.

I hope everyone has a great Wednesday.