April 2009

Aaah…The Minor Leagues

In the middle of our first road trip, I’m realizing that triple-A – although it’s just one step away from the big leagues – is still very much the minor leagues. Let’s just say this trip to Tacoma brought back lots of memories from last season while I was still playing in the California leagues. The bus broke down on the way to the field yesterday! As if it wasn’t going to be an experience in the first place – after all, we had two players standing in the aisle and another up front by the driver – our twenty passenger bus became covered in a cloud of smoke on the I-5 forcing us to pull over. We sat in the shoulder for about thirty minutes before help arrived in the form of our strength coach’s rented Toyota mini-van which began shuttling players to the field from the site. It was quite an experience. Hopefully today the trip to the field will go a little bit better.

I apologize I haven’t posted in a little over a week. Another thing we have to deal with as minor leaguers is getting our living arrangements taken care of. We’re all moved in to our apartment, but we don’t have a whole lot moved in – if you catch my drift. No cable or internet yet. And very little furniture. Slowly but surely it’s coming together and will feel somewhat like home in the near future. In the meantime we’ll be wrapping up this four game series tonight in Tacoma, and the next time you’ll hear from me will be in the middle of a four game set in Portland!

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble…

And so it begins!  After a quasi-opening day last night when we travelled 45 minutes south to play an exhibition game against our California League affiliate, the Stockton Ports, it’s finally time for the season to begin.  For me Opening Day is like Christmas – it’s the only other day of the year I’ll lose sleep the night before due to excitement.  Last night was no different.  So after being in Arizona since the middle of February, we finally get to lace ’em up and take the field in one that actually counts.

For me, Opening Day’s have been particularly cruel – even dating back to my days in college prior to pro ball.  I think I get a little too excited, a little too amped up.  Typically, I’ll scuffle in the opener and then settle right back into my groove the following night.  I’m hoping that I got some of the jitters out last night in Stockton – just playing under the lights, in front of fans, in a River Cats uniform was enough to get the adrenaline going.  I’m looking forward to the game tonight, playing in front of the fans here in Sacramento.  I’ve heard nothing but good things – so I guess it’s no surprise that they’ve lead the minor leagues in attendence every year they’ve been in existance.  
On a heavier note – I’m sure you’ve all heard about the passing of Angels’ RHP Nick Adenhart.  I grew up playing on showcase teams in the Northern Virginia-Southern Maryland area when we were both in high school.  People in that area talked about him as if he were a legend.  He made a lot of people – especially in that area – very proud.  He was so good that coming out of high school, needed Tommy John on his elbow, the Angels’ still drafted him despite his commitment to UNC-Chapel Hill.  Maybe it’s because that he’s my age – we were the same high school year – that it’s that much more of a reminder.  Baseball’s only temporary, and as much as we lose sight of it at times, there are things that are more important.  He will be missed by the entire baseball community.  

Judgement Day

And so on this day, the 5th of April, it has been decided that I will return to California for my second full season of professional baseball. This year however, in stead of returning to Stockton, Ill make my home a little further north on I-99 in Sacramento as a River Cat. Im really looking forward to playing in the Pacific Coast League at the Triple-A level. Ive heard a lot of pretty good things about the fans and the community so Im excited that I was able to break camp with the Sacramento squad. Now if I could only decide on a walk-out song…

The Dog Days of Spring…?

Salutations sports fans! We’re coming down the home stretch of spring training out here in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona…and it can’t end soon enough. The desert sun, early mornings, and long days have taken their toll. The days have started to blend together. And everyone is itching to get the season under way and start playing games that actually count!

Where my season will begin, however, I’m not yet sure. I have been working out with the triple-A Sacramento squad, but there is still a chance I’ll return to Midland, Texas, and begin the season in double-A. I should find out tomorrow, as we break camp on Monday. So don’t worry – when I know, you’ll know…because I know you’ve really been wondering!
Over the duration of this season I’ll try to give you a glimpse of what life is really like in the minor leauges. So after you read all the articles on MiLB.com for all of the “important” stuff, come on over and we’ll get you caught up on some of the goings on behind the scenes. And of course, if you really have something you really want to know about, hit me up – post a comment and I’ll try to drop some knowlegde with my next post. I’ll keep it as light as I can and try to have some fun over the course of a long season, so stay tuned!