Thursday, December 29, 2011

WANNA BE LIKE MIKE

If you've followed my blog over the past few years you know that I get called Mark more than I get called Matt. I still haven't been able to figure out why that is, but it happens. Matt doesn't seem like that tough of a name to remember. I don't call Peters, Paul. I don't call Bobs, Barry. But for some reason I get called Mark at least a few times a week. When I play in away stadiums I will get announced as Mark Antonelli as I walk to the plate. A good portion of my fan mail is addressed to Mark Antonelli. I've been introduced to people as Mark as well. Now that 2011 has almost concluded and the new year is upon us, I guess it's time to change things up a little. I just received some equipment in the mail for this upcoming season, and guess who it was addressed to.


Hopefully 2012 will be a better year for my name.

Monday, December 12, 2011

GAME DAY

Hey what's up guys? I've received a lot of tweets and emails lately asking why I've been M.I.A on my blog over the past few weeks. I admit, I have been slacking a little when it comes to writing, but I'd rather not say anything at all than bore you. As exciting as it is, I don't think you guys want to spend ten minutes a day reading about how much fun I had vacuuming my living room, or about my latest adventure in the backyard raking leaves. I might add that it is pretty amazing that the temperature around here is still in the high 40's and there are actually leaves, and not snow, on the ground.

Anyways, I've done a few interviews with various blogs and radio sites over the past few weeks and I get asked this question in almost every interview I do. What time do I get to the field, and what do I do while I'm there? I know most people I speak with are very surprised at the times we usually arrive at the park, and most assumed we showed up an hour before the game, changed into our uniforms, and ran onto the field for our 7:05 start. I figured I could take a few minutes today, since I really don't feel like dusting right now, and break down a normal day at the ballpark.

Home games typically start at 7:05 PM, so I will arrive at the field around 2 in the afternoon. I would say this is average for players. There is always a group of guys on each team that are avid card players, and those guys seem to arrive an hour or so earlier than that. I typically bring my lunch to the field. This past season I would eat a Chiptole burrito around four to five times a week. I know it sounds very strange, but I am one of the pickiest eaters you will ever meet, so when I find something I like I eat it, a lot. I'm still waiting for my agent to hook me up with a Chiptole sponsorship. I have a feeling I'll be waiting a while.

I usually finish eating and digesting around 2:45 and will get changed into a pair of shorts and a tee shirt and go through a quick stretching routine in the indoor batting cage. Once I am ready to go I will go through my routine of tee work and soft toss. Baseball is a game of repetition and every guy has a routine that they will go through everyday to make sure they are prepared for that nights game. My routine is the exact same every single day, kind of like my lunch menu.

I finish up in the cage around 3:30 and head back to the clubhouse to change into my batting practice attire, usually a pair of practice pants and a BP top. Position players will stretch together around 4 o'clock for around ten minutes and then throw for another five to ten. 4:15 is time for batting practice. We are usually split up into three groups. One group with hit, one group will field ground balls or fly balls depending on your position, and the last group will shag. Each group usually lasts around fifteen minutes. Batting practice usually ends around 5 PM and players will retreat back to the clubhouse.

I spend the next 30 to 45 minutes relaxing, going on my computer, checking emails, playing video games, and eating a pre-game snack, usually a protein shake and some fruit. A group of guys is usually playing a game of cards, while others might be playing each other on their IPad. There were some pretty epic battles in Stick Man Golf this past season in Syracuse. If you haven't played I suggest you do. It's addicting.

Once 5:45 hits I like to jump in the hot tub. It's a good place to start mentally getting ready for the game and get my body loose. I'll take ten minutes in the tub thinking about that days starting pitcher and how I feel he might attack me during the game. In Triple-A it's sometimes difficult because the scouting reports are no where close to what they are in the big leagues. In an MLB game, you can spend all day in front of the computer watching every single pitch the guy threw in a 2-2 count during his 12 year old Little League season. In the minors you will get a single page print out with a brief description of his pitches and mechanics.

Now it's 6 PM and game time is about an hour away. Now that my body is warmed up I like to go through a quick stretching routine and if anything is really bothering me I may have our trainer either stretch me out or stem an area that hurts. I'm not smart enough to explain what stem is or what the hell it does, but it usually helps loosen up any area that may be bothering you.

At 6:15 I jump in the shower. I know, I know. Who the hell jumps in the shower before they go dive around on dirt for three hours? You may be surprised, but I'd say a very high percentage of players shower before game time.

It's now usually around 6:25 when I will throw on my uniform and grab anything I may be using that night. I will get out to the dugout around 6:40 and head to left field to go through another stretching routine and do some sprints. I again take a few minutes to throw and loosen up my arm and then take it back to the dugout. It's now around 6:55. I like to sit down, take a cup of Gatorade, and relax for a few minutes. Then its a few pre-game handshakes and good luck wishes and off to the field at 7:00 PM for the National Anthem. It's 7:05 and the first pitch is made.

A typical game lasts around three hours. When the game ends, and hopefully we've won, I like to sit and relax for a few minutes after the game. Post game routine changes somewhat depending on what day it is and what's served for dinner. I like to get a post game lift in around 2 to 3 times a week, so if its a lift day I will spend around 30 to 45 minutes in the weight room. I will then get a quick stretch in and if I have any bumps or bruises I will spend twenty minutes icing down or just jump into an ice bath. Ice baths are pretty good for your body, but they are complete torture. I will always try to go the ice bag route, unless my whole body is a complete mess and I need a full body ice down.

If the food is something I like, which is usually isn't, I will sit down and have a meal. Sometimes I'm not in a good mood or just feel like getting back to the house, so I will take some food to go and eat it back at the apartment. If it is something I hate, like Chicken Cordon Bleu, I will usually go out to eat. Typically I'm done with dinner and back at my apartment around midnight. I like to sit and relax for a while, watch some TV, and check out some stuff on my computer. I will talk on the phone with Laura for a little bit, and then usually jump in bed around 1 or 2 AM.

Tomorrow will be the same thing all over again.