Baseclogging: Domo Arigato

In his last entry of the spring, Jeremy Barfield discusses his trips to big league camp, where he believes he is heading to start the season, the work ethic of Manny Ramirez, and more...

Seeing as how I have aspirations to play in the Big Leagues and how the A's just arrived in Japan I found this most fitting title possible. This Spring Training has been the most bizarre one yet of the four I've taken part of. The timetable for the Major League squad was very condensed and cuts were made much earlier than usual. Our complex at Papago Park in Phoenix is jam packed. So much in fact that some of the first year guys have to double up in lockers. It is complete organized chaos around here.

I was blessed with the opportunity to go with the big leaguers to a couple games to back up. I went to see them do work on the White Sox in Glendale. Our big leaguers are class acts. They all introduced themselves to me and made sure I was just ‘one of the guys'.

I got to travel again with them to Scottsdale Stadium on St. Patrick's Day. That was an amazing atmosphere. To me drunk fans are the most entertaining for a visiting player. We took pregame Infield/Outfield and I was in right field with Josh Reddick making throws and the fans in right field were heckling not only for his ridiculous hair/facial hair combo but because my arm is stronger than his. It was priceless. (That's the only thing I got on him since he is a Major Leaguer. He's also a friend of mine so no harm no foul on me stating this fact.) I got in this game as a defensive replacement so that was cool. It was on TV in the Bay Area so it was neat to get some exposure there.

I also went over to Phoenix Municipal Stadium to back up in the game against the Diamondbacks. I didn't get in but it was well worth it to have a 15 minute conversation with THE Manny Ramirez about his hitting approach. He's one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time and to hear his excitement about being able to play in Extended Spring Training to get consistent at-bats was really something. He has unbelievable passion for the game. He is up at the Minor League complex every morning at 6:30 hitting in the cage for a solid hour. People just see and hear about ‘Manny being Manny' but they don't know the work he has put in honing his craft.

Team rosters are finally starting to take some shape and I am playing with so many guys I've never played with before. It's been lots of fun so far. It's also great to be back with my manager Steve Scarsone for the fourth straight season. Although I would have preferred to do better last year to earn a promotion, at least I have this sense of familiarity going Midland again.

I've been swinging the bat well lately. I'm still searching for that power stroke but I'd rather get my knocks first and then worry about the rest later. Since I long tossed so much this offseason I feel like my arm is stronger than ever. I'm hoping I get a chance soon to show it off. (All the new guys haven't seen it and just assume I throw rainbows and have no accuracy. Can't wait to put that nonsense to rest.)

This is my last entry of Spring Training. I'm hoping you interact with me on Twitter (@Baseclogger) because those Texas League bus rides are brutal and I will definitely have lots of time to kill, so hit me up!

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