Well, another Sunday, another entry. Not really too much to report on here in Mesaville, Az, but here’s the rundown….
The last week in baseball out here was pretty mundane. The Mesa Solar Sox posted a very run of the mill 2-3 record. We dropped three straight games to start the week, which wasn’t too smooth. Now, the Fall League certainly isn’t all about our W-L record, but winning is way more fun that losing. Anyway, we finished the week with back-to-back wins… way better. I only pitched in one of the games, at home on Wednesday, against Scottsdale. I came out the the bullpen to throw one inning, as I was slated to go to Surprise on Saturday to participate in the "AFL Rising Stars Showcase". The inning started a little shaky, but I escaped only giving up one hit and one hit batsmen… no serious damage. As for the "Rising Stars" game, I was a fantastic spectator.. I ended up not throwing, but still collected my part of the $500-a-head winners purse ( not too shabby).
In non-AFL news this week, the San Louie Cardinals cleaned house to win the World Series. I wasn’t really pulling for either team, but I was happy to see a buddy of mine, Skip Schumaker, on the Cardinals bench during the whole Series.
Off the field news this week includes the Steelers dropping another game, this time in Oakland….bad news all around. Also, a handful of guys (including myself) went to the theater to see "The Prestige"… one of the best movies Ive seen in a long time, I highly recommend it. That’s all for now… be back in a few.
And we’re back. Sorry its been so long since the last post, the internet connection here at our place has been less than tremendous. In any case, there are plenty of notes on the past week to fill everyone in on. Lets start with baseball.
Since we last posted, the Mesa Solar Sox have been en fuego, winning 4 of 5 to bring our record to a hugely respectable 6-5. As you can see, we can no longer claim a ‘tie’ on our record, as we resumed and completed that game yesterday ( with an 8-7 victory in a record 17 innings…don’t mind if we do). So, with all of our games completed we are just one game behind Phoenix ( at 7-4). Granted 11 games is hardly a substantial sample size, but the whole team seems to be playing much better, and more comfortably if that makes any sense. Maybe we just needed a little time to get started.
Personally Ive had two outings since my last post. My first outing, against the Peoria Javelinas, was a little shaky . I came out of the pen in relief of Errol Simonitsch with 2 outs and runners on first and second. I worked out of it with no real problem, but the next inning was a bit more exacting. I couldn’t seem to locate anything but a fastball, and the hitters were all over it. Three hits later I snuck out of the inning on a line-drive double play, giving up only one run, but hitting a lot of barrels. The next couple days during pre-game I tried to work on breaking ball command off to the side while BP was going on, and I think its helped get things back into working order. My second outing came yesterday in the 12,13,and 14th innings of our 17 inning game in Surprise. Oddly enough, the 12th through 14th innings afforded me a chance to start the game, instead of come out of the pen. Having already completed 11 innings, I warmed up for the 12th as though it were the 1st, so when we resumed play I felt like a starter again. Anyway, I threw three good innings, only giving up one hit and walking one guy. ( I hate walks, but these hitters are too good to just throw stuff right down the middle to). After I came out, we brought in Mark McLemore, who held Surprise scoreless for three more innings until our offense broke through to finally win the game.
In non-baseball news, the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers just scored again in Atlanta to take a 17-7 lead midway through the 2nd quarter. Big Ben looked much improved last week in the Kansas City massacre, and is looking on point today. My fellow Steeler fans Jonathan Mayo and Larry ‘the shark’ Bennese never had any doubts. Larry, by the way, has been dominating the training room at Hohokam Park, keeping all of us game-ready. Anyway, everything else here in Mesa/Scottsdale is pretty regular, great weather and lots of baseball with the occasional mall trip or movie run mixed in. Thats all for now, feel free to post some questions or comments and Ill respond to them whenever I get the chance. Back to the Steelers game…..
Ok, its an off day… The first one since we have been here, which is actually pretty similar to our regular season schedule (12 games 1 off day, more or less). Anyway, after last night’s game Dave and I snuck a quick work out in before heading back to the condo. We both caught up on some sleep this morning before setting out to find clippers for some in-clubhouse haircuts. After an afternoon lounge out by the pool we are both just hanging out here watching the Cards-Mets game.
As for this weeks games, they didnt go quite as well as we wanted as a team, with our record just 1-3-1 at the moment. Yes we have ties in this league, and no I didnt know that until the end of the 11th in Suprise when our whole dugout started packing up to head out. It turns out we actually don’t tie, but instead the game was ‘suspended’ until we play Suprise again, the rule is really just in place to protect a team that might run out of pitchers at the end of the game. Our lone win on the week came against Suprise at home, but all of our games have been pretty close. Also, unlike most of the other games in the league, all of our games have been relatively low-scoring. No real clue as to why its been that way, but it has.
Personally, I threw twice during the past week, both outings coming out of the pen. To tell you the truth, Im still kinda getting used to relief pitching. The whole ‘ getting warm in-game’ is still odd for me, so Ive just been leaving myself as much time as possible. Anyway, both outings went pretty well. I threw a scoreless ninth to pick up the save in our win over Suprise ,and then came in for 2.2 in my second outing ( 3 hits, 1 run). Neither outing was great, but everything seems to be coming along, so we shall see I guess.
Thats all for now, time to get back to the game….. David Wright just went deep to put the Mets on top 2-1 in St Louis. Hes pretty good at baseball….
Be back in a couple days.
Well, the day started off just like any other day this week. Woke up about 7:00 and headed straight to the kitchen obviously to head for a granola bar or two. I don’t like to eat too much for breakfest unless it is on a day off. Slowey and I headed to Hohokam Park and our brand new sleek Dodge Caliber rental. It may be the slowest car in the history of automobiles. I think about 4 cylinders tops, but its great on gas. We arrived at the field slowly but surely, headed to straight to my locker to get ready for some early hitting. After some early hitting with out hitting coach JT and some guys on the team I head back in to relax and grab a Gatorade nutritional shake. We are really taken care off in the clubhouse as far as anything we need or want. I couldnt ask for anymore. At 10 we headed off to the field on a charter bus as always two to a seat me and Matt Moses two Va. boys together. Matt was getting the start that day at third. So I sat around just taking everything in for the first 5 innings. I came in at third for Matt in the 6th. A little nerves were flowing the field was a litle faster than normal and we all know defense is not the strongest part of my game. I got an at bat in the 9th not exactly your ideal one 3 pitches, I took the change-up for a strike, and two check swing sliders for strikes. I was def. hoping to see a fastball at least one since I havent seen pitching in 3 weeks. Oh well though rough at bat it wont be the last. Thats why its a great sport because we have another game today. After the game we headed out to Zipps Sports Bar and Grill to play a little shuffle board and pool. We were there to watch the Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock UFC fight it ended up being about a 2:23 minute fight with Ortiz dominating the fight. I def. wanted the vet. Shamrock to win. I headed home after that to relax and talk a little baseball with Slowey trying to figure out how pitchers think. Def. a huge advantage to rooming with a pitcher. Then off to bed for about a 9 hour sleep since we gladly had a night game the next day. Until the next time…..
Alrighty, we’re back. The last couple of days here in Arizona have been packed schedule wise. Monday morning was our last ‘workout’ at the field and the atmosphere was pretty laid-back. Winny (Winfree) and I left our place at around 7:30 to get us to the field at 8 for a 9:00 practice. After signing some baseballs and cards for fans on the way in (talk about die-hard, anyone who is up at 7:45am just asking for an autograph is a serious fan, and guys always take the time to sign their stuff)..sorry for the aside.. in any case, after making it into the clubhouse I wandered into the kitchen for some breakfast, mostly just cereal, toast and stuff. The clubhouse attendants here really do a great job of making sure all kinds of food is always available.
Practice itself was pretty light, stretch throw and shag really about sums it up. I long tossed and got a good short pen in towards the end of BP, still a little rusty from the 3 weeks off, but pretty good all around. After practice a handful of players (the Twins contingent included) stuck around to lift in the clubhouse gym… way easier than having to go to a local Fitness Club.
I spent the rest of my day hanging out with my Dad who was in on business, which was great. The company he works for has offices all over the country which affords him the chance to "call on some offices" in just about any city I might be in for baseball. Anyway, hes the man and its great whenever we get a chance to hang out…
That’s all for Monday.. I’m going to get Dave to write about Tuesday, our first game, and everything he has been up to here in Arizona.
Or something like that…. Well I left Durham this morning on a7:30 flight non-stop to Phoenix. ( Just a note: Southwest Airlines is
the stupidest, and their check-in/boarding group procedures are
straight out of the How to be an Idiot Handbook ) Anyway,
after a pretty easy flight in, I took the shuttle to beautiful HoHoKam
Park for our 9-10:30 workout. We pulled into the park just in time to
sneak in some light long toss and running before calling it a day. I
didn’t really get a chance to introduce myself to any of the other guys
on the team, but we have another ‘ workout ‘ tomorrow so Im sure Ill
get to know a few of them.
After the practice fake-out, I showered up and headed out to one
of the many Arizona malls with Matt Tolbert, David Winfree, and Matt
Moses.. all Twins, and future blog authors. The mall trip wasn’t really
anything to speak of and we finished up the day with the other
prerequisite move-in chores : unpacking/grocery
shopping/cleaning/laundry.. you name it.
That’s all for now, ill try to get some pictures up of the place
if I can figure out the html password, digi-code, or whatever its