Sorry for the delay in posting my follow-up but when you have 200 guys trying to use one hotel internet network, access to said internet network tends to be pretty sporadic. And by sporadic I mean absolutely nonexistent. Anyway, spring training has been going on for about a week now, all the position players are in town and things are in full swing at our snazzy new facility in Goodyear, AZ. It has been a very welcome change playing at a state of the art spring training facility rather than one where four of the fields are below the level of the adjacent lake with another directly next to a sewage treatment plant. It is also awesome that for the first time ever I will get to spend at least part of my time here watching my boys from THE North Dakota State University playing in the big dance baby! (Man do I hate Dick Vitale). But I guess that is neither here nor there though.
At this point in the spring the all of the pitchers, myself included, have thrown two bullpens and starting tomorrow pitchers will throw live batting practice to hitters as an intermediate step between bullpens and the games that will follow shortly thereafter. To be honest with you the two live batting practice sessions are by far my two least favorite times on the mound all season. While it is an excellent chance to throw pitches in a non-game situation, see how hitters react to them and get back to having the feel of a batter in the box after an offseason of bullpens, I never feel better about myself as a pitcher after throwing live batting practice. I think it is probably because there is something very dejecting about working hard and putting in long hours all offseason then stepping up on the mound and having every single hitter spit on my best breaking ball and absolutely hammer the guts out of my best fastball. To be fair the hitters are told what is coming on every pitch which obviously affects both the results and the evaluation of such, but that doesn’t really change the semi- soul crushing feeling of making good pitch after good pitch and seeing hitters have either no reaction to them or a “wow the ball really does fly here in Arizona” reaction. Oh well, the good news is that after two live batting practice sessions we transition to games where the adrenaline gets pumping a little bit and I feel a bit more at home than in the bullpen or behind an L-screen.
On a more positive note spring training provides ample down time for copious amounts of reading, watching the many movies from the last year that I somehow managed not to see, and writing rambling blog entries about spring training so check back for regular updates. Also, there have already been a few questions and I encourage you to keep them coming and I’ll answer them periodically as they come in. Happy reading.