Monday, November 28, 2011

FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS

Hey guys, how are you all doing?  The last week has been pretty busy for me. I've mostly been on the road, as I had a chance to travel down to Baltimore for my physical and also to meet members of the front office and coaching staff. I've received a lot of emails lately asking what types of things go on in the physical and how I spent my time in Baltimore, so let me take a few minutes to explain.  


Basically, the physical part is not as complicated as many may think. The first thing they do is check and make sure you're alive with a heartbeat and a pulse. After a few grueling hours of analyzing my charts, they gave me the thumbs up and told me I had passed. The next part of the physical, and probably the most extensive of all the tests, was the eye exam. They put you through about fifteen different test, not only to check your vision, but also to check the health of your eyes in general and make sure you won't have any problems a few years down the road. You might assume that the blood work and "cough test" would be the shitty parts of my day, but spending thirty minutes with laser beams and bright lights shining directly in your eyes definitely takes the cake.


As the day continued I took visits to a few different doctors where we talked about any past medical problems throughout my life and any surgeries I may have had over the years. They then yank on your arms and legs, check your knees and shoulders to make sure they're fully healthy, and do some basic strength and mobility tests. After passing those I gave some blood and was asked to pee in a cup for probably the 400th time in the past five years.  The process started around 9 AM and finally finished right around 3 PM. 


Once I was told I had completed everything, I made sure to spend the afternoon eating lunch at Ra Sushi, one of my favorite sushi places in the country.  The closest franchise to my home in Boston is in Baltimore, so I couldn't pass up a chance to get some Tootsie Maki.  If you haven't tried it I suggest you check it out. 


After lunch I took a ride over to the ballpark to check it out for the first time. I've heard from literally thousands of people over the years about how beautiful of a place Camden Yards is, and they weren't lying. It seems like a great place to call home during the season. I was able to spend some time speaking with our GM and Manager and also with other members of the front office and staff and then took a little time to do some interviews with the media. I can already get a sense for how excited everyone is for Spring Training and the start of the 2012 season. Now that the physical is in the rear view mirror and my contract is signed there isn't much standing between now and the beginning of baseball, except for maybe a few feet of snow. Either way, I'm sure it will be here before we know it and I'm really excited to get going! I hope everyone had a great holiday and I will talk with you later.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

IT'S BEEN A LONG WEEK

One thing's for sure. It's been a LONG week!


Over the last few days I've been pretty busy talking with teams and trying to decide which organization I believe is the best fit. Basically, I've spent a few hours speaking with each team, allowing them to explain the opportunity I have with them and how they see me fitting into the organization. It also gives me a chance to ask any questions I may have. A few days ago I narrowed my list of teams down to three and then narrowed it once again down to two.  I must say, this process was much harder than it was last year. When I think back, the Nationals clearly presented the best situation during our talks in December. This year, it is much tougher to predict exactly which team presents the best opportunity, but after thinking about it for hours on end I made the most educated guess possible. I'm very happy to announce I've decided to sign with the Baltimore Orioles and will be heading down to Baltimore tomorrow for my physical. I am extremely excited to be joining the Orioles and can't wait to get to Sarasota in February.

In non-baseball related news, I spent this weekend in New York City. I came to realize that I wouldn't last long in NYC. Don't get me wrong, the city is exciting, beautiful, and full of things to do, but I just don't think I could live there permanently. A few days is fine, but any longer and I couldn't handle it.  The place is a natural stress inducer. People drive like complete morons, and that's coming from someone that has lived his entire life in Boston. If I heard one more taxi beep obnoxiously at me or cut me off I was going to lose it. Also, the price of everything is astronomical.  On our second night there we decided to try a small Italian restaurant. It wasn't bad, but nothing to write home about. My Chicken Parmesan cost $40.00! I've eaten at about a thousand different Italian restaurants all over the country and I don't think I've ever spent much more than $20.00 for Chicken Parm. Laura ordered a simple salad that ended up costing $30.00. How do they sleep at night?!?! Speaking of sleeping at night, it cost me $7.00 for the toll to enter Manhattan! Apparently that's how they pay for their starting pitching.

Anyways, enough about how much I felt ripped off. The real reason we traveled down to the city was that I surprised Laura with an engagement ring and asked her to marry me. I know, I know, very romantic right? I'm not exactly the romantic type, but I think I did a pretty damn good job with this one. Laura thought so too. More importantly, she said yes, which was a good thing!  I should also take a minute to apologize to Mila Kunis, now that I'm off the market.

Before I head out I wanted to thank everyone that has congratulated me and wished me luck. I really appreciate it! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

OFFSEASON UPDATE

Hey guys! How are we doing? I can't believe I am already two months into the off-season. Before you know it we will be headed out to either Florida or Arizona for the start of Spring Training. I've received a lot of emails lately asking me what my status is for next year and if I've made any decision on where I will be playing. I wanted to take a few minutes and answer a bunch of the questions that I've received.

The free agency period technically only started a few days ago. I guess the rule is that no teams can discuss free agency with a player until five days after the World Series ends. Since that day has passed I have spoken with a dozen or so teams so far, but these are just preliminary talks and we will get more into detail over the next few weeks. I know after I put this blog up I'm going to get a thousand more emails asking what teams I have spoken with and who has the most interest, so I wanted to let everyone know ahead of time that I'm not going to go into too much detail about the teams until we get a little further in the process. A lot can change from day to day so I figure it's best to wait before I get into too much.

At this point I am not really sure when I will make my final decision. Last year I didn't sign with the Nationals until around the middle of December, but that situation was a little different from this year. I wasn't actually a free agent last year until around the beginning of December, so things got pushed back a little longer than usual.

If you have any questions let me know by writing in the comment section below. If you have emailed me lately and I haven't gotten around to answering you back I'm sorry, and will try to do so as quick as I can. My email has really gotten backed up over the last few months. I hope everyone has a great week and I will talk with you all later!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

WIPE YOURSELF OFF, YOU'RE BLEEDING

What the hell is going on with the weather lately? I was left totally unprepared last week when I noticed the first snowflake fall from the sky. Usually when it comes to the weather I am never unprepared. Guys started to call me "the weather man" during this season for my obsession with weather.com. If there was rain in the forecast, I was the guy to come to for the precipitation details of that night's game. I don't know what it is, but I have a strange obsession with looking at maps and trying to figure out what's going to happen. I guess it's the geek in me.

Anyways, for some reason I hadn't checked the weather in a few days and had no idea that on October 29 there was a foot of snow in the forecast. Since we just moved into a new house I have no snow blower, no shovels, or anything capable of picking up snow. Hell, we don't even have furniture, so I guess it's no surprise we aren't prepared for a massive snowstorm. On our way home from furniture shopping (see, we are trying!) we drove as fast as we could to some local hardware stores to only find they had closed early because of the weather. I was screwed.

As I arrived home and sat in my living room watching the snow fall, I decided we weren't going to be the new kids in the neighborhood that let our driveway go to shit. I was going to find a way to stay ahead of the storm and clear that damn driveway. I looked around the house for ideas. After a few minutes of pondering, I came up with what I thought was a genius plan. I took a broom stick, a dust pan, and Laura's hair elastic (what do you know, we have no tape in this house either) and constructed what I thought was the worlds best shovel.  I would find out in about five minutes that it was a total piece of shit, but that didn't stop me from rushing outside to show off my newly constructed product.

I felt great after scooping my first few bits of snow. I knew it was going to take me a few hours to get the job done, but my new invention made me feel so smart I really didn't care about time. About five or six scoops into the process my dust pan had enough and decided to inform me that it was made to pick up @#$%ING DUST and not wet, heavy snow. It had snapped into two extremely jagged edged pieces, one of which made its way straight into my hand. As I let out a loud scream, I swear I heard the thing say, "that'll teach this dumb bastard." It sent me running into the house and up the stairs yelling at Laura to grab me some band-aids and a first aid kit. Serves me right I guess. No more inventions for me.