Random notes

->It's almost Christmas, holy crap.

->Shorty (wife) has recently joined me here in White Rock, Canada for the holidays, and is now a Canadian permanent resident too! I know, this is excellent news.

->We won't have a white Christmas like last year, but I'm not going to complain about a sunny one when it rains 95% of the time during winters here in Canada's hotspot.

->I've lost 25 pounds in about 65 days with my off-season workouts. I'm at a good weight now, I just need to continue to drop the body fat %.

->Shorty and I are joining 10 of our friends at a cabin on Sheridan Lake in the interior of BC for 5 days over new years for snowmobiling, ice hockey (on our own man-made rink), lots of games, cheers' and good times to be had by all. Pumped.

->I've been molding youths pitching mechanics for the past couple months, enjoying it, and even getting paid for it here.

->That's about it for now... looking forward to a couple weeks of family, friends, and good times.


One month

Over a month ago, I posted my last blog. I know. Sad.

Anyways, back at it today.

In the past 43 days since I've been home I have=

Ran stairs 16 times
Long tossed 14 times
played catch / flat ground bullpen 11 times
Sprinted 10 times
New "White Rock Run" 6 times

All of that has me down 15.5 pounds, so I guess an average of about a 1/3 of a pound a day loss. That's not the most important thing though. I feel a lot more energy, and my body (mostly my legs) have gotten a lot stronger, and I can tell already. I am happy to be in this shape at this point in my winter workout. 43 days down and about 70 left until I head back down south for spring training. This will the most important month of baseball in my life. I am going to battle everyday for over a month to claim a spot on a minor league team with the Toronto Blue Jays. Last year, they started me right away in double A... This year, assuming the Jays still have plans to keep me around, I will have to earn a spot in spring training. This is what I am getting ready for.

Other things I've been keeping busy with=

Seeing many close friends of whom I don't get to see for 9 months out of the year.
Pitching lessons part time (21 hours a week)
Not blogging
Hanging out and helping the folks around the house
Watching hockey
Walking the dogs / Hanging out with the sister

Well, time for December, hope you are all ready. It's about to get cold here in Vancouver for a while. To me, this is bitter sweet, it'll be dry so working out is possible, but it'll be cold, so I better get sweating fast!

Until next time.


Interesting Question

Asonas, Good question, I will answer that when I get some time again behind the computer. Question is published in the comment section a couple posts down.


The Slider

I've been asked recently about my slider, how I throw it, how I locate it, and basically how do I make it work. I want to get one thing straight first though, the slider shouldn't be taught to any children below the age of 12-13. The did studies on it and have proved that the younger a kid tries throwing curve balls and sliders, the higher the possibility of them hurting their arm with it, or later on in their career. So, no 9 year olds are allowed to throw sliders yet... that's my own personal blog rule I just made up, so... don't break the rules!

The most important thing about sliders that I have figured just in the past 2 years is this. When you bring the ball up behind your body, you need to make sure that the arm does not cross behind your body. If it does, the arm won't be up to the power position on time and you will have a loopy Frisbee slider. The grip is also a key, you want to make sure that the last finger to touch the ball (in the sliders case it will be the index finger) is on a seam to make sure you get that last release with the proper spin. The slider is the breaking pitch that is thrown the most like a fastball. When I'm doing clinics these days, and teaching breaking pitches (sliders, curve balls) I remind the pitchers to think 'fastball' until the very end right when you are leaving the power position, then slider, which is when you are to have fastball arm speed when you release the breaking pitch. These are all mechanics that require precise timing, which is brought on by doing the action over and over and over, lots of repetitions.

All in all, the slider can be a go to pitch, a strike out pitch, a setup pitch. It all depends on how it moves, and once you figure that out, then how you move it.


Back in the Rock

Well I'm back.

I'm settled in somewhat back at home here in White Rock, BC. I arrived Saturday, to being picked up by my wonderful sister, who ended up taking me back to White Rock so that we could hang out some. So, that we did. Enjoyed meeting a new family member, lil' Chip. He's an awesome dog of whom I hope to share many pictures and videos of once I figure out how to load stuff on a MAC, or get the wireless going.

Started my workouts 3 days ago. After taking 2 complete weeks off while in New Mexico while enjoying my time with my wonderful wife, I have just started my winter training, It will last until spring training begins in March. So killing my legs the first day were inevitable; I took it easy on the legs though, just a few laps of a soccer field. Got the arm going twice already, it feels good and after 80 throws its feeling pretty good on its day off today.

The house is pretty quiet with me being the only soul within it. I'm house sitting right now for my folks until they get back from Europe where they are having the time of their lives.

Well not much to blog about recently, anyone got any Q's?


Aliens everywhere...

Shorty and I drove from Tulsa to Vancouver last year at about this time of year. Before we left we mapped out our trip, we marked down the cities, and sights we really wanted to see that were along our route. We were able to stop by every place we planned on except for one. That was Roswell, New Mexico. It was about 4 hours out of the way, not counting how long we would be there checking stuff out. For those of you who don't know, Roswell is world renowned for being the city where the most alien activity has been reported. From area 51 (a government restricted area) to all of the sightings and claimed alien abductions, Roswell is the extra terrestrial hot spot of North America.
So Shorty and I stopped on the way back from El Paso to Portales, we stayed the night in a little cheap-ass Days Inn so that we didn't have to make the 2 hour drive home that night, then back out the next morning. We awoke around 9, just in time to take advantage of the hotels little breakfast, and then head across the road to Starbucks for a little wake up juice. Around 11 we proceeded to head down to the "Alien strip", from the 1st to the 5th blocks of Main street in Roswell and checked out the situation. It was cheesy, and pretty much what we expected. A bunch of souvenir shops and little cafes, and the UFO museum. We paid our $5 each, and took the tour of the museum, they have all kinds of articles, pictures, here say, stories and movies. It was, well, interesting to say the least, not saying it swayed me to believe that they landed here, but gives you something to think about that's for sure.
We were glad after that we didn't go waaaay out of our way last year just to do this little trip, but we are glad we can check Roswell off of our list of places to visit!

2009 MLB playoffs

Well the division series are over, and the league championship series are about to begin. So far, every team that I was even remotely rooting for has fallen. Boooo... I've either watched, or listened on XM radio to all the games. They have been excellent playoffs so far, with some awesome games. Here's my take and a look back at the division series.

Yankees vs. Twins = I was rooting for the Twins because I tend to go for the underdogs, and Bert Blyleven (my pitching coach with NL) is their announcer. It was rough, the Twins squeaked in after beating Detroit in game 163, then just like had happened in every single game all season against the Yanks, they were ahead at some point in each game, and lost every game. It was so tough for them to get runs, and the yanks would come back every time so easily. Yanks look strong.

Red Sox vs. Angels = Red Sox were dead in this years playoffs, just seemed to have no energy in their dugout. Not to take anything away from the Angels pitchers, who did a hell of a job. Their always solid closer Jon Papelbon had a horrific outing in their last game also which didn't help. The Sox should definitely have had game 3 being up 6-1 at one point, but the pen blew it, just proving further that they didn't deserve it this season.

Rockies vs. Phillies = The only series to go more than the minimum 3 games, the Rockies put up a solid fight against the defending world champs, blowing the last 2 games in the 9th inning because their always reliable closer Huston Street had a very rough series. Tough time to be cold for a closer, but it happens, and unfortunately it cost the Rockies. I wrote a blog a few back about Colorado's game 3 starter.

Dodgers vs. Cardinals = Another sweep, some more great games. Down to their last strike in game 2 and down 2-1 the dropped fly ball by Cards left fielder proved very costly as the Dodgers rallied for the 3-2 walk off win, putting them up 2 game to none. That was the turning point, and the Cards couldn't come back in game 3 sending the Dodgers onto the NLCS.

Previews of the ALCS & NLCS...

Yankees vs. Angels = If the Angels pitching can continue it's dominance, it may have a chance to silence the all star lineup that the Yanks boast. Arod has quickly shaken off his reputation as a choke artist in the playoffs by hitting 2 pivotal bombs and knocking in 6 in the ALDS, if he stays hot, and Jeter and Damon get on base once in a while for him, they will be dangerous.

Dodgers vs. Phillies = The Phillies are coming into this series very hot. After some amazing games against the Rockies, and their whole lineup being fairly hot, their closer Lidge throwing well they are dangerous. I think the Dodgers need to play near perfect baseball, Manny needs to be Manny to be able to knock off the defending champions.

This past weekend...

I followed Shorty and her team down to El Paso, Texas this past weekend to take in her coaching for the first time ever. She was great. Being an assistant coach, the coach designated her as the first base coach, and she has a lot of leeway to do what she can to help out with the team, defensively, offensively and in base running. She knows a lot about softball, and I mean a lot, coaching is what she was groomed to do. She has played under some of the best coaches in the nation, including 2 years of college ball under the legendary coach Dicus when he was still a softball coach at Seminole State College.

They played a D1 school and lost 2 fairly close games on Saturday, but Sunday they crushed the local Junior College team twice. It was about 90 degrees (32 Celsius) down there, and very enjoyable to sit and watch some fairly solid softball. Obviously, for them, this is only fall ball, so they do have a lot to work on, but like Shorty keeps telling me, and I see, they have a lot of potential, and could possibly be a very big surprise team not only in their conference, but in the nation. The team has only 15 players, and are led by 7 seniors, and interestingly over the past 4 years, the program has had 4 different coaches. I have the feeling the staff they have right now will stick around at least a couple years, I know Shorty will be there for 2 years before getting her masters in sports science.

Anywho, I followed the team on the 5 hour excursion from the little city of Portales, NM down through a little mountain range, and right on into southwest Texas, where El Paso sits. The city lies right on the Rio Grande, the Mexican border. We would have made a little trip across the border just to say I had been to yet another country (Shorty's already been there) but she didn't bring her passport, so maybe next time. We drove along the highway that is literally 100 feet off the border. It was interesting to look across into Mexico, at all the little shanties and shacks they live in, they overall quality of the land and roads compared to what we were driving on and through in El Paso. It was a fun little trip, and shorty was able to drive back with me after the games, so we could check out the malls in El Paso, something I wasn't pumped for obviously (I have a strong hate for malls these days, they always seem to turn into spending time and money), but Shorty didn't get anything, actually I was the one that ended up picking up a shirt and shorts... dangit.

We have pics, and I'll add them to the computer later on tonight and post some on here when I can. Well, we headed home Sunday night, and made a little pit stop for the night which I'll write my next blog about.


Jason Hammel and our TVCC roots...

My college team mate Jason Hammel is starting for the Colorado Rockies in a big game 3 against the Phillies on Saturday. The Rockies and Phillies are all tied up at 1 game a piece in the best of 5 series, so game 3 is a big one. Rockies manager Jim Tracy had no question in his mind that he would start Hammel over 15 game winner Jason Marquis. Hammel had a good year in his first year with the Rockies. He was traded to the Colorado the day before the season started this year from the Tampa Bay Rays, who he has been in and out of the rotation with for the past 3 years after being their minor league pitcher of the year in 2006.

Hammel and I went to Junior College in the tiny city of Ontario, Oregon together at Treasure Valley Community College. Back in 2002 we were 2 of the 4 weekend starters in the SWAC (Scenic West Athletic Conference) Junior College conference for the 'Chukars'. That was an interesting year. Our offence battled injuries and a severe lack of power, batting a league (and probably national) low of .193, with 1 home run, all year. Yes, 1 home run, all year. We had a solid pitching staff of 8 guys, 3 sophomore starters all throwing in the low 90's, and me, a 6'6", 185 pound freshman throwing 82-84 MPH. The pitching stats we're interesting that year. I remember Hammel finished the season 4-7 with a 5.07 era and was drafted by the Devil Rays in the 10th round because he sat 93-95 with a filthy curve. I was 1-7 with a 3.69 era that year, relying on location and mixing up speeds.

Don't let him fool you tomorrow, even though he will obviously be in his game day mindset, he's a goofy fella. See if you can see his feet, he has size 9 shoes... which is about 3-4 sizes to small for a 6'6" guy. He was a great mentor to me while we were at TVCC. I looked up to him as a player and a person who I wanted to be like. I even imitated his mechanics to an extent the next year in college bumping my fastball up about 6 MPH. He was one of the positives in my first year out of high school, always being positive and helpful to me. It's no surprise he is where he's at as a big league starter, and in the playoffs now. I wish I had some pictures of us from that year, I would put some up here for sure, not from any of our ridiculous small baseball + softball party nights, but of us working our asses off, doing hours and hours of pitching drills, painting the fence and bleachers at the field, selling oranges as a fundraiser or hanging out in the dorms... damn that was a crazy learning experience of a year. I was lucky enough to be player to present him with a plaque at the end of the year as he was one of the graduating sophomores moving on to a D1 school (even though he signed a couple weeks later).

Here's to hoping he dominates the former world champs, doesn't hang any pitches, and keeps the ball in on Ryan Howard...

ps- I just read that Pedro Martinez will be going for the Phillies.He was my childhood idol, and a guy I was fortunate enough to chat with during the WBC. Should be a great game to watch.


Joe inquired=

I love your posts about what life was like living with your fellow pitchers this season. I'm curious now, what was life like on the road? Living in hotels, transportation to road games in places far away like Akron, if you have free time and what you do in it?Also, what is it like having basically a revolving door at the bullpen with guys going up and coming down? Do you keep in touch with guys like Zep and Bubbie or is it more of a temporary bond you all share?

I actually wasn't part of the trip to Akron, as that never ending drive happened to fit in over the 3 week period I was in Dunedin, too bad. Other road trips are all basically the same. On the road the average day goes like this= After a typical 10-11 am wake up, you head to an eatery establishment (usually the hotels are right across from malls, making the food court a tempting place to eat with many choices). After a lunch, back to the hotel, chill for a while then head off the the field to prepare for the game. Usually 11 pm is about the time we would arrive back at whatever hotel we were staying in, so about an hour or two, talk to the loved ones and off to sleep. I think I may have written a blog somewhere throughout the season about our normal day game schedule. It shouldn't be tough to find, because I slacked most of the year on the blog and only posted about 3 a month.

About the revolving door in the bullpen question, it's hard to say. I've never been a part of a pitching staff that was like this before. I take it it's like this every year, with every team, but it's just something to get used to I guess. I tried to get along with everyone as much as I could while they were there, you never know when someone is going to be moving. There were some moves we saw coming, and some moves that really caught us off guard. Yes, you make the most of the relationships you have while you have them, hang out with the guys that are around when they are around, that's all you can do. For some of the guys, the friends are temporary. I do talk to Zep still, we were roommates both in Manchester, and on the road for the first couple of months until I got moved. He's a great guy with a great arm, and I expect to see him on TV for a while to come. I have also stayed in contact with most of my roommates from the reliever house also we had some good times.

Playoff baseball

Is there anything better? I would have to say march madness in college basketball is about as close as it comes, but still can't touch the allure and enchantment that the MLB playoffs bring to the table.

Alright, so weather wise, no, October sucks pretty much everywhere. It rains about 29 of 31 days in Vancouver, same for Holland. Here in New Mexico it went from 30 to about 13 degrees in a matter of 30 minutes today, then started pouring. But all this is made bearable because yesterday kicked off this years playoffs, 8 teams all competing for the crown of World Series Champion. There have already been 5 games, and I'm listening to #6 on my headphones in the library right now. The mystique of baseball in October is what draws me to watch the games. Every game is put under the spotlight, every player is bigger than life. Heroes are born, and a great game can either make or break a city and a region.

Today the Cardinals lost in the bottom of the 9th with 2 out on a dropped line drive by the left fielder, he is now the goat of the entire Midwest because they had the game in the bag... until the ball hit him in the sack (literally). Every pitch is important, and it's real baseball; seldom do you see a blowout at this stage of the season. I try and watch as many games as I possibly can, because until they have a 12 month season in the majors (which won't ever happen) this is the last baseball I can see for about 4 months (which is a long time when you're in love with the game the way I am). I am a visual learner, and learn a great deal just by watching some pitchers, how they throw, what they throw in what counts, locations, movement and plenty more. I have been able to watch the World Series with my dad for the past few years, which is great because we both share the same love for the game, and talk strategy the whole game. I've even made a fan out of my wife over the past few years. She enjoys watching the games and has a very healthy respect for the players and the game (especially the close ones). Oh, and she can name off almost every single Red Sox over the past 5 years... That's right, she's part of the Red Sox nation.

I have no predictions, I have a couple of favorites, but I mainly root for close games, and long series'. Enjoy the playoffs...


What to focus on

JJB asked=

Similar question to the one in a previous comment: Is your off season training tailored to what the Jays' staff said you NEED to work on or is it basically 'Get better and be ready on your own for Spring Training'?Also, are you still under contract with the Jays?Enjoyed watching you in N.H. this season and see some good potential there!

Good question. I wasn't sure how it would go at the end of the year, since this was my first go around in minor league ball, but we didn't have a coach - player meetings at the end of the season like I thought we might. The way I've begun to realize things run in the minors (or maybe just in the team I was placed in) is that the coaches work for their teams just as much as the players do. We're expendable, just as easily as they are expendable; so if we (the players) want to know about our status in the Jays, what they think of us, what we need to work on in the off season, we need to ask either the roving pitching coach, or the farm director. They are the ones that make all the decisions on who moves up and down. The coaches give their two cents worth on who's hot and cold, but are mainly expected to win ball games, put the players in the proper situations to succeed, and keep the players healthy.

I've kinda gone off on a tangent here explaining how some of the inner workings of minor league ball go, but I'll get back to the point for you JJB.

We did have a meetings with the strength and conditioning coaches though. The big league S&C coach was there as well as the organizations main S&C alongside the double-A S&C coach for our last home stand to have quick meetings with each player. They talked about the exit strength test (which I did fairly well on) and just mentioned what muscle group they think we need to focus on more or less in our off season workouts. Mine, scaps need to be tightened some. That was basically it. Since this was my first season they didn't know much about my weight, and what I should arrive at spring training with, so I told them, 205. I pitch better at lower weight, and since 205 is the goal, I am aiming for 198.

The Jays didn't tell me what mechanics to work on for the off season, but I have a pitching coach to work on that at home, and I know what I need to get back to, so that shouldn't be an issue.

So yeah, basically the Jays are saying get better, and be ready for spring training, which is fine. I'm not sure if things are done differently at the lower levels with the younger kids, but by double-A your a man; if you don't know what you need to do over the off season to be ready for spring training you don't have what it takes to be a big leaguer. That's just part of the weeding out process.

I am still under contract with the Jays. Since I am foreign and this was my first professional contract, I signed the typical 7 year deal that any Dominican or Venezuelan would sign at 16.


Off-season workout routine

Quick responses, this is what I like!

OddBod replied to my previous blog with this query=

what's your off-season training routine? ps. do you wanna have a home run derby at centennial?

I put the question out there on my last blog entry to let me know what you want to hear about; anything that I may just overlook writing about, or personally find everyday and normal. I got a comment from a long time friend who I played ball with for a good portion of my life, baseball and basketball.

This fella just finished up his masters in health science (maybe nutrition?). He has for a long time been big on health and conditioning, working out and doing cardio at the tender age of 2. Well, maybe not that early, but he was definitely my first friend to do weight conditioning. He asked what my off-season workout plans are. I have a pretty good idea, so I'll try to put down what I've been thinking.

Getting myself into peak pitching condition will take several different types of workouts. This includes throwing long toss, cardio, and weights. I will work them all into a weekly schedule around the pitching clinics I should be doing a couple days a week.

Long toss
October 20 - December 10 = Long toss includes working my way back to about 220 feet, and throwing the ball on a line. I work my way up to about 120 throws by the last week. I'll throw about every second day, sometimes every third, I like to get an average of about 3.5 throwing sessions in a week.

December 10 - January 1 = Rest arm for the 2nd three week period of this off season. I will likely still get out and throw 4-5 times though. The timing works out right since it's over the holidays when times get busy and Shorty will be in town.

January 1 - February 5 = Get back into the long tossing same as the first period from October to December. Have myself throwing either to a catcher, or the fence at 60 feet getting up to 50-65 pitches by the end.

February 5 - March 1 = Not sure where I will be going for pre-spring training training, but I very well may end up here in New Mexico working out with the University team or on my own. either way I will have about 2-3 weeks to get myself completely ready to impress when spring training starts.

Unlike throwing I won't have a chance to take time off running. This starts the day after I get back, and won't stop for a while. Obviously I won't be going every day, at least 1-2 days off running a week to rest the legs and let the muscle build will be a must.

I have several different types of running programs I put myself through in the off seasons.

Long distance - 2-3 times a week. 20-30 minutes on a flat ground track. I usually push myself to a pretty good pace because I can't stand jogging. Why run if you're not going to sweat is my motto.

Sprints - This will be the first off season I will implement the sprints. I have never done them in other off seasons because as a starter you normally just run long distances. Relief pitching is more of a sprint than starting. Starting is usually associated with longevity and stamina, which is why starters tend to run long distances more often. I will implement the sprints on the same days as the long distance running.

Stairs - 2-3 times a week. I live in a great place to be able to do stairs. I can choose between a staircase at a football stadium, to a staircase into a ravine with 108 stairs, to a staircase down to the beach with about 250 stairs. I will likely start with 10-15 sets in the ravine, and if I am able to get up to 25-30 sets by the time I leave in February, I will be in amazing shape.

The Blue Jays have given me a huge workout handbook to follow. I will surely use their outlines, not break their "workout rules" and add my own touches to my workouts too. I plan on going back to my old stomping grounds at Great West Fitness in White Rock where I've been going for about 9 years now. I will workout 3-4 times a week. I use the gym for pitching mechanics mirror work and the fantastic sauna.

I've got my work cut out for me. I am going to take off one day per week, maybe two depending on how my body feels and everything is progressing. The best part of running my own program is that it's very flexible, I can throw when I want, I don't need a partner, I can throw back to back days if my arm feels good, or take an extra day on anything if I feel it needs it.

Until I start it on the 20th, I am going to enjoy my last and only 2 weeks off for the whole year and just relax.


Open floor...

I don't have much going on in my life right now, other than enjoying my time in New Mexico with Shorty while she's on the job. This means I don't have much to write about, no new baseball related stories anyways.

I have never done this before, but I want to know what you want to hear!!

If anyone has any suggestions of a subject they'd like to know more about that I have experienced and haven't written about, or not in depth enough, let me know. Any questions about a subject that I can potentially answer or may know something about, let me know, and I will do my best to write a blog, or several about whatever anyone is curious about.

I have time for the next couple of weeks, so now is a good time to throw some ideas around if you've ever had any!

New Jay leadership

The Toronto Blue Jays ended their 8 year long relationship with General Manager JP Ricciardi. After the Jays first losing season since the 2005 season and unrest throughout the organization they decided to pull the plug on Ricciardi.

They immediately filled the role with Alexander Anthopoulos, who was the Vice President, Baseball Operations & Assistant General Manager. Anthopoulos is only 32 years old, but a young face up top might be what the Jays need, look at the Boston Red Sox who were led (at the time) to the 2004 World Series crown by 29 year old Theo Epstein.

Who knows what this means for all of the employees in the organization. Some coaches feared that if Ricciardi went that they might just clear out a lot of the coaches throughout the minors. We will see how that works out. Personally I am hoping Anthopoulos thoroughly looks at all the cases of coach and player before drastic measures are taken.

I know I didn't have the ideal season or stats that I or the Jays were looking for. I do know what I need to do to be part of the Jays future plans, and that starts with a very strong spring training.

I want to impress beyond belief.


Running the show

There is a very accurate and interesting phrase I heard a couple years back by a color commentator while watching a ball game on TV... “A team takes on the personality of its manager”. I’ve really been watching to see if this is true with managers I’ve had, and seen anywhere. I have realized this is about the truest and most accurate quote when it comes to coaches and understanding how some amazingly talented teams are unable to produce.

The Tampa Bay Rays had a manager last year that led a young team to the World Series. The manager had a young and easy attitude and is known as a ‘players manager’, that means he relates to the guys as people and ball players and is able to coach and run the team while still being in good terms with the players. A player’s manager is rare.

Over the past couple of years I’ve played on teams with several different kinds of coaches, I won’t name names or teams. but I have seen a lot of different breeds of managers.

-> I’ve had a coach that ruined our season because of his over coaching and obvious negative and nervous outbursts in the dugout. Lack of trust in his players led to the coach being the cancer of the team.

-> I’ve had a coach who was so mono toned and old fashioned that every team in the league knew when we were about to bunt and do any strategic move it was useless.

-> I have only talked about the couple bad apples I've encountered, but I have also had some coaches who knew how to make things work.

-> There is a coach I wish could have played for recently that is obviously a great coach, knows his baseball and seems to be quite the players manager, unfortunately I wasn’t able to play for this coach, yet.

-> The most player oriented manager I've ever had created one of the greatest and most together team environments I’ve ever played in. We did something incredible with that team, coincidence? probably not.

There are coaches who know a lot and don't know how to pass on the info, there are coaches who don't know as much but are able to make up for their shortfalls in other ways. No matter what kind of coach I have, I am the type of player who will do whatever my coach or manager asks of me, because that's what was instilled in me over my first 2 years of Junior College/boot camp. I take something from all the men I've played under and been taught or not taught by. I am trying to take all the aspects I see as positives so that I can be a complete player, and coach or manager someday. If I don't ever coach, it will be useful to teach my son or daughter someday. But first off I get to work on my leadership qualities this winter while doing pitching clinics.

Fall From Paradise

If you hadn't noticed yet, I'm a big fan of my cousins music. He is the Canadian hip hop Icon Classified. I listen to his stuff often, but one song has stood out over the past few albums that he has released.

The song is "Fall From Paradise" from his 2006 album "Hitch Hikin' Music". The lyrics are about his life in music, and how he is realistic that there is a point when you fall off and "flop"; IE. your career comes to an end. Throughout the song he remains adamant that he isn't close to being finished with music. He is level headed and sensible enough to realize that obviously at some point in the future a fall from paradise in inevitable. I relate to this track because basically everything he talks about goes exactly the same in baseball. When you're on the top it's paradise. There are so many parts of the song that I think to myself "wow, that's the same in my life and baseball". We are both at about the same level in our professions, just below the top, so I can understand it that much more.

I feel like I've been at the top, and had some struggles this year like any artist or athlete can have, but overall I haven't "flopped" and I will rise again. I had the ultimate highs this year basically peaking in the WBC and the first few months with the Blue Jays, then dropped down to rock bottom in the middle of the season having some rough outings in a row. Since, I have been working out everything and steadily getting back to where I was at, and doing everything I can to get me back to Paradise.

Watch the video to listen to the lyrics, don't worry to much about the video. Try thinking about everything he says in a baseball players context though, and you'll understand what I'm getting at. Here's a few of the lyrics that I feel explain more than some of the others how this song relates to either a musician or baseball players career...

Chorus =

"It's hard to explain, a fall from paradise is meant to be
<(Classified) I know the way the world works>
Destination in his eyes, counting down, this is the time -
It's hard to explain, a fall from paradise was meant to be
<(Classified) I ain't close to bein finished>
None of them believed in him, some just walked away"

"But I ain't worked in years, and some think I'm famous, While other people ask when the hell I'm gonna make it?"

"I went through all types of bullshit, the story go way back, and I'm proud of myself now, though its corny to say that"

"I did more than I imagined, tours I couldn't fathom, broke down doors for sure, I let 'em have it, If any opportunity came, I had to grab it, Any goals set, I rose, then ran past it, Not a superstar and never wanted that"

**Just a sidenote, so that I don't scare anyone else - no I haven't been released by the Jays - and no I haven't quit baseball**

Reigniting and Revamping the Blog...

So here's the deal... I'm trying to add some new gadgets, delete some old links and info, and make the page just a little newer. I have 2 weeks here in New Mexico spending lots of time with Shorty, but while she's working and doing homework I have solid chunks of time to work on this and make it as personable, informative, eye catching and interesting as I possibly can.

To all my loyal readers and to anyone just dropping by, don't hesitate to let me know what you guys think. All feedback is good, it will help me move along in the right direction with my blog.

Thank you,



Serious world travellers

Written about 3 weeks ago from the Boston Airport=

I would like to thank Timmy Collins my roommate over the past 2 weeks and one of the most exciting and interesting pitchers I have ever seen and/or played with for putting me up last night and taking me to the airport today.

Tim is rare, and will always be climbing uphill against the grain and fighting off critics, which he has done gracefully so far. The rosters say he's 5'7", but realistically he stands around 5'5" or 5'6" and a soaking wet 150 pounds, he is the 2nd smallest player in professional baseball, and he's a pitcher. Tim is a left-handed power pitcher at that, his straight over the top fastball sits between 91-94 MPH, and his strikeout pitch is a filthy curve ball. He uses everything he can in every pitch, a lot like a left handed Tim Lincecum. The interesting part is that he just turned 20 last week. His strikeout stats are ridiculous, and he had such a good year last year in single A as an 18 year old that he was named all of minor leagues 'Single A pitcher of the year'. Not bad, keep an eye on this kid... anyways, back to what popped in my head a little earlier to write about.

Tim is second from the right, I'm in the back with most of the bullpen and some of our very loyal fans at the ballpark in Portland, Maine the last game of the season.

On the way to my last bullpen session today in a city called Worcester (pronounced Wuss-ster) Massachusetts we stopped at a little place called Lango’s subs and pizza. Huge menu, and I had their fajita wrap which was delicious, but the thing that makes me want to write this blog was what I saw on their walls.

Their owner seemed to be quite the world traveller, and had pictures of himself from all over the world in collages, and had them labeled. Timmy Collins has never been out of the states, and he thought this was the coolest thing ever. So I looked closer at some of his destinations, I realized had been to many of them, Paris, yep, Grand Canyon, yep, Barcelona, check... on and on. This spurred my blog-mind and made me want to boast/make people feel sorry for my travel schedule/let everyone know about the crazy world travels Shorty and I have encountered over the past few years.

My wife whom on my blog I call by Shorty has quite a rare feat that she accomplished over the past 7 months. She has driven our little Civic Hybrid to all 4 corner states in the USA. In February we drove from Vancouver down to California and then across to Oklahoma. When I was assigned to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Shorty made the 24 hour drive to join me up there, and at one point followed us on the road to Portland, Maine. A couple months later I had to head to south, down to Dunedin, Florida to pitch for the Dunedin Blue Jays. Shorty, the trooper she is, drove all the way down the east coast to complete her feat and have driven herself and our car to all 4 corner states of mainland USA.

Shorty and I in Negril, Jamaica for our honeymoon

Here are a handful of the cities and countries we have visited over the past 3 years...

Shorty and I=

Negril, Jamaica (Honeymoon)

Las Vegas, Nevada (drove through on cross-country road trip)

*Amsterdam + Rotterdam, Netherlands (where I played ball in 2007-08)

*Antwerp, Belgium (where I played in 2006)

*Dunedin, Florida (summer 2009)

Paris, France (summer day visit for shorty and I in 2006)

*Manchester, New Hampshire (spring-summer 2009)

Regensburg, Germany (European baseball cup, 2008)

*Vancouver, Canada (our winter destination every year)

Puerto Rico (WBC 2009)

Miami, Florida (also WBC 2009)

*Tulsa, Oklahoma (multiple times, Shorty's folks place)

*= Stayed for a month or longer


Taipei, Taiwan (2006 Intercontinental cup, 2007 World Cup)

Hong Kong + Beijing, China (2008 summer Olympics)

Barcelona, Spain (2007 European championships/ Olympic qualifier)

Seoul, Korea (Pre-Olympic training camp 2008)

Zurich, Switzerland (stop over)

I may add more destinations to this list over the next few days as I think of them... We lead crazy lives. I have been living off the same clothes out of a carry-on and my big duffel bag over the past 8 months, it's not easy living out of a bag. Going from day to day, packing up your bag, making sure enough clothes are clean, folded (wrinkles are inevitable in this lifestyle) gets very old very quick. I am looking forward to being back at home so that I can unpack and live out of the same room for at least 3 months. I live an amazing life, this is just one of the overlooked 'you gotta deal with it' parts of this lifestyle, and I'm fine with that as long as I can keep playing baseball and getting better and better at my craft.


And that's a season...

I've suited up for about 180 games in the past 7 months, and pitched in about 65 of them, and finally this season has come to an end. Ironically the only game I started all year was the very last game. I wasn't able to be stretched much more than 60 pitches since I have been pitching out of the bullpen all year, so I could only get 4 innings in, but god it felt good to start.

After the first year of my life as strictly a relief pitcher I realize how much more I am cut out to be a starter rather than a reliever. I'm not saying I won't embrace a relief role as a pitcher, I will do my best with whatever any team I play with would like to use me as, there's no question there. Although for myself, growing up as a starter and going through high school, college and the past 3 years in Europe as a starter, it's just what I was molded to be.

I had a very sub par World Championships to my standards. I carried over my messed up mechanics and a slight lack of confidence from my minor league season into my first couple of outings resulting some shaky, don't know where the ball is going, innings. Finally, with the aid of my personal pitching coach ( my dad ) and some video comparisons of me pitching in the WBC and me pitching a couple weeks ago I realized the changes I needed to make, and that led to 2 runs and 9 k's over my last 7 innings at the WC. Bringing my arm slot back up to where I was before this year, and understanding and accepting that where I was at, and the bad habits I had got into on the mound throughout this season were getting me no where. I haven't thrown for 2 days now, and I already miss it, I miss throwing the ball, and being the go to guy out of the pen or in the rotation...which is why...

I'm really looking forward to getting back to a hardcore training program I will push myself through in the next 5 months, starting upon my return to Vancouver in a couple weeks. I plan on losing 20 pounds, and get as physically, mentally strong as I can be by the time spring training rolls around in late February.

Until that though, I am going to relax for a couple of weeks and enjoy my time here in Portales, New Mexico with Shorty. Forget about baseball (except for the playoffs on TV) but for the most part rest the body and have it ready for action once I get back home.


World Cup

We are 6-0 so far in the Baseball World Cup and taking on the powerhouse Cubans tonight. Tomorrow morning we fly to Italy for the final round where the top 8 countries in the tournament are going to battle for the crown of the world champion.

Follow the tournament standings, schedule and stats here=



World Cup Anticipation

I am pretty excited to head to Europe on Tuesday. Not for the obvious reasons, such as, going to Europe, eating delicious and mostly healthy foods, because that is old news to me, I’ve lived there from 2006-2008; between playing in Belgium and Holland I’ve seen most of and parts of 6 different European countries. I am very excited to play ball at an international level again, and play again with all of my former teammates with the Dutch National team that I have been part of for all the major international tournaments since 2006.

It will be great to see my friends again, and I hope to help out my team in any way possible when I get there. I am prepared for whatever role they have for me. I’ve been used predominantly in a starter role with the national team, but was brought in as a closer in the World Baseball Classic, which I would need to be ready for again. I don’t expect the closing job though since we are getting 7’1” twins farm hand Loek Van Mil. Loek has recently touched 99 MPH, which is ridiculously fast and easy for someone with that kind of wingspan I guess. I am excited to get back into action with the Nederland, and see if we can’t turn a few heads in international baseball again.

First things first, 3 more games in Portland, Maine, then once I arrive in Holland a game in Holland against Italy that night. 2 games to follow in Italy (I think), then back to Holland to host ½ of the second round of the tournament. That puts 8 teams at our place, top 4 moves on to the final round in Italy. Keep up with me on here; I will do my best to keep everyone in the loop for the World Championships, all the happenings, ups, downs and in betweens.


Breaking the mold..

A long season is coming to a close. Many of the guys have been counting down the games, innings and even outs needed until the season is up, but personally I have a very different outlook on this subject.

Yea, 142 games in 6 months can take a toll on the body and mind, but like I was telling some of my bullpen mates the other day, I would gladly play an 11 month season with a 1 month break if I could. I know, I know… sounds kind of crazy (‘loco’ like my Latino team mates would say), but this is the game I love. It would be a lot to ask of a players body to be able and available for nearly 280 games in a season, but if the body can remain strong enough, why not?

Ask my wife, I could be at the field at 1 for my game, play at 7, get home at 11 and if ESPN happens to air it, I would watch another game if it's on TV, until I fall to sleep around 1-2 am. I love this game, I can’t get enough. At a young age, I was given options on what sports to play by my folks, and my dad and I fell in love with baseball around the same time when I was 9-10. We watched almost every Seattle Mariners game that was televised, as well as Toronto Blue Jays games on CBC and Sports net in Canada. This didn’t stop, and never has, even when I visit home for holidays and visits these days my dad and I never pass up a game on TV, that now goes for Canucks hockey too.

Anyways, back to the point, if my arm could handle it, which I think it could since it feels pretty strong these days, I think a long season would definitely be bearable. I’m sure my wife would frown upon this post, but if she were to be able to travel and or be with me season round, I’m sure she would be fine with this idea.

I just don’t see how some guys are so ready to be done with the season, what do we do in the off season? Most of our guys (in double A) make 1600 a month, so do not make enough money during the season to cover them throughout the whole off season, in turn meaning they need off season jobs. My demeaning off season job last year was working as a clerk at a local supermarket. I have a bachelors, I am way to qualified to have to put up with a 20 hours a week, 10 dollars an hour job that consists of corralling carts in from the parking lot and doing price checks.

Either way, the 11 months season will never happen, so this is why many guys are hooking themselves up with teams in Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico right now making decent money from October to January. Baseball can be year round, you just need to find the right places to play.

I have no closing point to this, but saying I am ready to finish strong... and watch out.


Up All Night - Classified

The newest music video of my cousin and canadian rap icon 'Classified' .

Check it out here.

The janitor who sings the chorus is Classified's (Luke Boyd) father, and is looking more and more like my dad and his brother.


Movin' On Up

Friking Zep.

That was about my favorite line during the first 2 months of the season while talking about my roommate, Marc Rzepczynski. A genuine good guy with all good intentions. As we call him "Zep" since his threw very well over the first 3 ½ months of the year, so well he was leading the Eastern League in strikeouts, and was a candidate for the starting bit at the EL all-star game. He was moved up 2 weeks before the game to triple A Las Vegas. Zep made 2 starts there giving up only 1 earned run over those starts, the next weeks big league starter, and Vancouver native Scott Richmond gets hurt, opening up a spot in the bigs. Zep gets the call. I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to find out about Zeps good news, and called while he was packing for a trip to meet the team in Tampa Bay, to get ready to start 3 days later against the American league champions the Rays. So far over 6 starts he has held his own, and his record doesn’t give him credit for how well he’s dealt in the show so far. He’s got more K’s than innings pitched, and less hits than IP, with a record of 1-3 and an era around 3.30 (not sure exactly right now since I’m writing this on my lap top on the bus, with so wireless).

Zep is blessed with a strong left arm sporting a 90 MPH fastball that runs like Prefontaine, and a ‘plus’ major league slider which he struck out Arod on a couple days ago.
I wish him all the best, but I know he doesn’t need it because he’ll do great in baseball, remember his name, even though it’s ridiculously confusing.

Marc Rzepczynski ,#34.

House Of Relievers

Last week something interesting happened. We had a house packed with pitchers, 5 of us to be exact, 4 relievers and a injured started. Well, the injury ended up bringing the starter back down to Dunedin, FL to the Blue Jays complex. This left us with 4 of the 7 relief pitchers all in one house. Over the past 2 weeks we have signed 2 free agent pitchers, Matt Hensley and Bryan Dumesnil (I will blog soon about Dumesnil, we go way back). Okay back to the story… Finally yesterday we “came to terms” and invited both Hensley and Dumesnil to move in with with the 4 of us. Unfortunately we have only 4 rooms, and they we’re occupied by Myself, Nate Starner, Zach Dials, and Daniel Farquhar. This left the air mattress in the kitchen, and our rented double seater couch available.

We now have 6 of the 12 pitchers all bunking up in one house, and 6 of the 7 relievers. We all get along well. Everyone has a very different upbringing and personality. I’ll run through the 6 of us in a baseball and personal bio with it.

Nate Starner – 25 year old left hander, who throws in the upper 80’s with some dirty off speed stuff, has struggled with mechanics all year causing him to falter some. He’s a very religious kid from Pennsylvania, and was a senior sign pitcher out of Shippensburg University (division 2). He loves the Disney channel and has never tasted alcohol. Great guy.

Zach Dials – 23 year old prospect who played all last year here in AA ball as the closer, but has arm troubles this season sending him down to single A ball for a period. He throws hard, 90-94 with sink, and has a solid sinker. He’s a book you can read by the cover, once you talk to him once, you will know exactly what kind of guy he is, he doesn’t hide a thing which is his strong point I’d say… also, great guy.

Daniel Farquhar – 23 year old drafted in last years 10th round, is one of our teams most intriguing players. As our closer, he is about 5’10” 175 and has hit 98 mph this year. He has an electric arm, with electric stuff. He sits 91-93 throwing sidearm, and around 95 mph throwing over the top. The Blue Jays are moving him through the system quickly. He’ s the kind of guy who is always good to have around.

Matt Hensley – 30 year old, has pitched in the big leagues. Great guy, quiet, laid back and chill all come to mind when thinking about him. We signed him out of the Atlantic league, he was a closer there, but is filling in well as a middle relief pitcher for us. He’s got great insight and some solid big league stories for us in the pen.

Bryan Dumesnil – 25 year old Canadian. Played on team Canada in the WBC this year, but unfortunately didn’t get any action since the Canadian team went 2 and out. I grew up playing against “Dumy” when he played for the Nanaimo Pirates from Vancouver Island. We’ve kept reasonable contact over the past couple years. Great guy.

Me – 25 year old middle relief pitcher, throwing predominantly sidearm again (finally back to what works for me). I’m in the upper 80’s flirting with 90 these days, trying to limit the walks and maximize the ground balls. Of course, Great guy…

It’s nice to have a house as cozy as ours sometimes. We have great times, and play the crap out of this card game called PSOY. We tally the points of this game and the loser out of every game of four has to do certain punishments. Here are come of the punishments the 4 of us have had to perform for losing at this card game on certain nights.

- Paint toe nails whatever the color the winner decides he wants to you wear for a week (in our case a purple with shiny sparkles).
- Sit in the cold tub at 40 Degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes without getting the chance to sit in the hot tub before hand.
- Wear a team hat for 7 days straight, 24/7, even in the club house at the field the only time it’s void is on the field.
- Run to Seven Eleven, and buy the other 3 guys ice cream treats.
- Eat a very very hot pepper.
- Chug a Monster energy drink in 30 seconds in 30 seconds, at 2:30 am.
- Eat 6 Dunkin Donuts donuts in 2 minutes,
- Clean our nasty bathroom with only sanitary wipes.

Pretty good hey? We come up with some very good stuff, we all have good imaginations. The thing is, the 6 of us spend about 16 hours a day together, we have good times together, stressful times, bitchy times, but mostly we click like a gang that has all different weapons, because that’s how we see ourselves and relievers, none of us bring the same arsenal to the mound.

The only reliever I left our of this is Edgar Estanga, a 23 year old Venezuelan who lives with a few other Latino players by the field. A great guy whose head I shaved earlier, and has about the filthiest off speed stuff in the pen, specially since he throws 75% junk.

Time to go on the road, heading to Bowie, Maryland for 3 games, then Altoona for 3.


2010 Class

I stumbled upon a brand new article posted on MLB.com stating next years top prospects to be enshrined in the baseball hall of fame. My coach and good friend Bert Blyleven is in that group, and understandably so. He's 5th all time in strike outs, 287 career wins... come on, He should have been in 13 years ago when he was first put on the ballot.

We'll have to wait a bit to finally find out if he is voted in for next year. But I truly believe its about that time. Check out the article here.


The Doc effect

If you've watched any sports network (except in Europe) over the past 3 weeks you have undoubtedly heard about the trade rumors regarding Roy "Doc" Halladay, the Toronto Blue Jays ace. It's normal for a big player or two to be traded at the trade dead line every year (July 31st, 4 pm), so this is nothing new to me, but this time, since we are in the same organization, my team would be directly influenced by what happens.

See, the Blue Jays are looking to trade Doc for a bevy of prospects from some clubs. They just turned down a trade offer from the Phillies which would have seen us getting 3 prospects and a big league starter. The 3 prospects are all at a double A level, so that means if Doc is traded, we get 3 new team mates.

We have been struggling in parts of our game, so a trade bringing us a few new bats and arms couldn't hurt.

I've come to learn more and more helping me realize how influential injuries, promotions, struggling players, guys getting released, and trades affect every single level in organizations. for instance, BJ Ryan got released a couple weeks ago, so a reliever moves up from every team in the organization to fill the void.

We have about 40 games left in our 142 game schedule, I am aiming to finish as strong as I started the season. Throwing strikes from my new submarine arm angle is the key, keeping everything in the zone and getting outs are my key.

Okay, I know I've said it a bunch, but I'm going to try and put up a blog at least every 4 days or so... stay tuned!


back in Dubs

I was called back up 4 days ago and arrived back here 3 days ago. My first appearance did not go as planned, but that's in the past.

I'm about to turn a new leaf with a little recent psychological shuffling I trust that everything is going to fit into place, and that my pitching will head in the "unhittable" direction (which is always desired, but now always shown.

Heading on the road for 3 games, I'll write more tomorrow.

Off to Reading, PA (Phillies AA)


Positive demotion

So I'm back in Dunedin. And it's for the better.

I was called into the head coaches office in New Hampshire on the 26th, and was promptly told that management had made the move to send me to High A, a level below where I had logged 12.2 innings and 5 saves over a nearly 2 month period. I was informed that there was a pitching "log jam" in the upper minor leagues, and that I was heading south to regain my "swagger" after a couple rough outings. It didn't help that at the day before 2 big league pitchers came off the DL and that normally shuffles down the minor league system.

Eight hours after I was informed of the move, I was in the airplane heading south; 2 bags with all my stuff and a changed mindset. I've been working harder, focusing all my energy and time towards improving my game, my mindset, my body and anything that can make me a better pitcher. In New Hampshire I'd arrive around 2 at the field, here I get there between 12:30 and 1 for a 7 pm game. I have extra time to work out, stretch, do tubing, relax before the game, anything that will make me a have a better outing that day.

Shorty and I had a couple days to find a place to stay here and are now posted up with a teammate from New Hampshire's girlfriend who lives down here, just north of Dunedin. It's a good spot for us, a furnished spare room and bathroom are ours for about 1/2 the price we were paying in NH and it's set in a cozy suburban town home neighborhood. Shorty followed me down the coast taking a couple days to make it here in our Civic Hybrid, she's a trooper, I know, I tell her this daily. On a side note, our car has been to all 4 corner states of the USA in the past 4 months.

Through 4 appearances and 6 innings here in Dunedin I've given up 2 runs, 8 K's, 2 BB (including 1 int. bb) and am a work in progress on regaining the "Swag".

Time to head to the park.


Dutch Hoofdklasse vs. Double-A Eastern League

When I was first was being recruited to play in Holland while playing my first year of European baseball in Belgium I was given a vague comparison of the level of the Dutch semi-pro league. I was told it was somewhere between single A to double A level of American minor league baseball. Throughout my 2 seasons in Holland I had no way to actually compare the two, other than basing Team USA's double A level players skill level to how we did against them in the World Championship and Olympics. Realistically though, all those players are now major leaguers' and they don't give an accurate read on all of double A. After 36 games here playing for New Hampshire in the Eastern League I have a more rounded idea of the caliber.

To be able to compare this league with the Dutch hoofdklasse (headclass or top division baseball in Holland) isn't fair. The level is overall very even at this level, at least with the 3 teams we've played over and over. Pitchers are all 87-92 with movement, the guys throwing 95 throw straight. Hitters are all fairly polished, they spit on sliders in the dirt, take 0-2 fastballs at the letters and hit mistakes well. Every team has first rounders and possess players who are close or ready for the show.

The Hoofdklasse is a league full of solid players, a league led by defence. The top offensive teams tends to make the finals, and Neptunus, my club club team for the past couple of years, gave up less than 200 runs in 84 games over 2 years, and we didn't even make the finals. Currently through 16 games for each team and 6 starts for starters there are 4 starters with era's below 1.00. The caliber in the top teams could rival a single A or double A club whereas the the 4-6 place teams have potential, and if they were able to play daily they would not be far behind the caliber I have seen so far in the Eastern League.

Time to play the Portland Sea Dogs for the first time this year. They are the double A affiliate to the Boston Red Sox, so we're facing the next wave of Papelbon's, Papi's and Pedrioa's. Wish us luck.


Home sweet home?

I throw pretty much all submarine these days, they like it and it seems to be effective. (Todd Bliss photo)

We are 2 games into our home stand back here in Manchester, New Hampshire, and have split those games so far. This is not a abnormal trend for us thus far this year. We have a 17-12 record, but have done much better on the road than at home, surprisingly.

Last nights game provided viewers or listeners of the game with about the best offensive game for a single player I've ever witnessed. Our first baseman Brian Dopirak went 5 for 6 with 2 home runs, 2 doubles and a triple, and 8 RBI's. He needed a single for the cycle in the last at bat, but chose to stretch his rocket down the left field line into a double saying after "I wanted to play it right". Very commendable.

Anyways, we won 18-6, and since there I hadn't had any save chances or good opportunities to get into games over the past 4 games I got a mop up inning in the 9th. After starting the first batter off 3-0, I came back to get 2 fly outs and a ground out.

Today we didn't have quite the same offensive outburst as yesterday, and lost 4-2. My room mate Marc Rzepczynski lost his second game of the year, putting him at a highly respectable 5-2 this year, but is still leading double A in strikeouts (and walks, but we don't talk about that stat, actually yes we do, I give him crap about it regularly).

Over the next couple of of weeks we will be having several major league pitchers coming through Manchester on rehabilitation assignments. Ricky Romero, Casey Janssen and Blue Jays closer BJ Ryan will be taking some of our innings over the upcoming games, which is expected, and absolutely fine.

I was interviewed this week by the National Post, one of Canada's most widespread newspapers. Writer John Lott called me in my hotel room on our previous road trip while we were in Binghamton, he asked questions and interviewed me for about 25 minutes and ended up writing this article in today's national post.
The pictures posted on this blog have all been taken by people who have posted them on my facebook page, they are from all aspects of the game from anthems, to autographs to action...
Doing what I can to protect the bullpens from possible foul balls (on the left)...
Signing some autographs for the kids, there are a lot of autograph seekers at our games, looking for my John Hancock on anything from bats, to hats, to gloves, to paper, to arms...
One of my odd smirks, must have just seen one of the bullpen pitchers do something really dumb, or funny...
Our 'Battlestance' it's a bullpen thing. Not sure how we started it, but we do this during every anthem, we also sing our freaking hearts out.
The average bullpen scene.
Me apparently feeling quite nonshalont about doing the bullpen chart for the day...


Back at it

Hi again people.

Back on the road again, in New Britain for the second time already this year. We´ve played 24 games so far and have compiled at 15-9 record, have solid starting pitching a fairly good pen, and the offence and defence have been doing quite well so far. We have a team with a couple big name prospects, but overall have a mix of just solid players. So far everyone has been playing their parts on the team, RBI guys are knocking people in, starters are going their 5-7 innings, relievers are doing their jobs to keep us in ballgames. We just need to keep on keeping on.

We just left Binghamton, New York where we took two or three from the Mets double-A affiliate. Binghamton is a team featuring 4 Canadians, which is probably the most on any one team in the minor leagues. So far every team we´ve played have had a Canadian on them. Interestingly enough, every team we´ve played have a Canadian who played int he same prep league I came up through in BC, the Premier league. Today we face off against the twins featuring 3 hole hitter Rene Tosoni from Coquitlam BC. Our last games against the Mets featured their 5 hole power threat Shawn Bowman, also of Coquitlam, BC. We´ve played the Connecticut Defenders a couple of times, and their ace is Brooks McNevin of Kelowna, BC. We´re everywhere, watch out.

I´m going to try and blog more often... yep, I say that a lot, I know, but I need to keep you people more informed, and I realize this. I´ll try to get shorty to pop a few pictures here and there at games, and whatnot around Manchester when I get back from this road trip so that you can have an idea of how we´re seeing life right now.

Til next blog.


Day games...

Today morning we have our 3rd home afternoon game. An afternoon game means we arrive at the field around 8:45 am for a 1pm game, sounds crazy, but it does make sense.I'll give you a little run through on how today is going to go.

8:30 - leave the house for Merchantsauto.com stadium a few minutes down the road.
8:45 - Arrive at the field, check the 'board' for todays batting practice jobs and any other daily news we need to know. Get to our lockers, get out of our manditory collared shirts and take our clean wash off the loops we put into the laundry after yesterdays game.
9:45 - Pitchers stretch first always, we do this so that we can get our throwing and running programs out of the way by the time batting practice starts.
10:15 - Batting practice, today I had fungo's (which I am a pro at by the way). 45 minutes later we head off the field, through the dugout into the clubhouse. As a relief pitcher, I don't need to be back on the field until 12:45, so I have almost 2 hours to workout, have something to eat, shower, watch some sports center, play cards, bullshit with team mates, get a coffee in me, and finally get my uniform on.
12:45 - I could walk under the bleachers, the back way to the bullpen, but I normally go through the dugout instead. I walk through the dugout to enable me to walk down the line, where all the kids and autograph seekers know to sit to get our guys to sign stuff.
1:00 - Anthem time, our bullpen enjoys getting after the national anthem, sometimes in harmony, sometimes it's brutal.
1:05 - Gametime. I wait for the call later on in the game and try to help my team win a ballgame.

The night game preparations are pretty much the same, just later on.

We're 11-5 right now, and will be trying to pick up another win here in a bit.


The big #200

Wow, I didn't even realize it, but my last post was #200 since I started my blog in February 2007 and over about 400 days I've thrown up 200 posts. Since I put up a post for my 100th entry, I figured to give this one some love too.

Let's see, since I started writing about the happenenings in the life of my wife and I put up posts about such things as...

-> Our amazing wedding in Oklahoma in march
-> A beautiful Jamaican honeymoon
-> My seconds year playing in the Dutch Headclass
-> A no-hitter against the Amsterdam Pirates
-> The 2008 pre-olympics and Olympic games in Beijing
-> The honor of being the best man at two of my best friends wedding back in BC
-> Adventures and happenings of living in Holland for 8 months with my wife
-> Living back at home for 3 months in Vancouver
-> Pre-WBC training in Florida
-> The WBC in Puerto rico and Miami
-> Signing and playing with the Blue Jays in their minor league system
-> Many many other blogs about random occurrences, daily happenings, good things, bad things, and anything that I've experienced over the incredible past 14 months. Most of them are accompanied by pictures.

Anyways, I'm going to try and keep up the blogging while I'm here playing for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and wherever else life may take me and my wife Shorty.


Getting settled in on the road

Well hey there! It's been a while, I know. Sometimes literary lazyness can take over. It helps that I just figured out how to make posts on my cellphone, this will make roadtrips into blogtrips (as long as I can keep car sickness at a distance).

I got my visa figured out finally on thursday, and did make the game by the 5th inn, in time to get my first appearance in the 9th, and lock down a 2-0 win, earning the save. The next night basically the same situation unfolded, and I earned another save in a 2-0 victory.

I'd better get going, we're at the Conecticut Defenders field now.

Time to win some ball games...


It's about that time

I've waited about 8 years to make my professional debut, so whats another day?

Tomorrow I'm flying to Toronto with (knock on wood (yeah I'm fairly superstitious)) all the paperwork I need to be approved and get my visa to be able to officially play minor league ball, finally. The Blue Jays management booked my flight so that I would be able to perhaps be available for relief once I fly home for our 6:35 start.

I'm flying Manchester to Toronto at 11:10 am, getting off that plane, walking straight out and to the Air Canada counter to pick up my return ticket. At that point I proceed directly to US immigration, where I'll need to go to an office or something to get the paperwork out of the way, and wait 4 hours to board my return flight. Upon arrival back in Manchester at 7:05 pm, I will promptly find a cab, and get to the field asap. I'm thinking (barring any delays) I can make it to the bullpen by about the 6th-7th inning, in time to maybe make my debut. I do not know if I will pitch, but I am going to go about it like I expect to, so that I will be ready no matter what.

On another note I've realized we are a hot cold team, as most teams are, streaky. We won our first three and have proceeded to lose our next three, with the latest defeat a 2-0 heartbreaker tonight.

I saw the most dominating start I think I've ever witnessed tonight, and I've seen a lot of baseball in my life. Our starter Rei Gonzalaez from Key West, Florida threw as efficienly as any starter I've ever seen. He gave up 5 hits, okay, struck out 4, okay, walked none, good. But the amazing numbers in the game were not all the zero's he put up over 8 and 2/3 innings of work, no, it's the fact that he only used 71 pitches. He never threw more than 4 pitches to any batter unless he struck them out. That's rediculous! Unfortunately he was pulled for a lefty - lefty matchup with 2 outs in the 9th that didn't pay off despite his low pitch count, so he wasn't able to get a chance for a win, or a complete game. Still, I won't forget this outing. I've been part of 2 no-hitters, and many complete games and they were nowhere near as maserful as what Rei Gonzalez did today for the Fisher Cats.

Time to get some sleep, tomorrow is potentially a very big day.