We just arrived at our hotel in warm Fresno, California, for a four-game series against the Grizzles followed by an off day and then off to Portland for four more. At this time of year the days just seem to run together and you lose sense of time as it relates to everyday lives. It almost becomes a struggle to keep up with friends and family outside of the baseball world because your day begins in the middle of their workday and there is no such thing as a weekend. Everyday is a Monday with new opportunities and challenges.
Unwelcome surprises can always creep up on you during the season. Today our extra challenge comes in the way of our hotel rooms not being ready. Seems like it shouldn't be that big of a deal but most guys like to get in and get settled, maybe even take a nap especially when the bus rides are in the AM but today we will just have to find a way to overcome.
As I look at this season, and really my whole career, I think what I am most grateful for is that baseball has taught me the skill of perseverance that flies in the face of reason. Every player has an idea about how he wants to live his life, or how things should be done and the game quickly shows you, as life does, that you rarely get to attack things exactly the way you envisioned them. The only way to have any sort of lasting success is to overcome the obstacle, outlast the hardship and, of course, pray for direction.
As I write that out knowing full well that's what supposed to be said, some days it's tough to believe. Some days, weeks and months you just want everything to go your way but the more experiences I gather the more I am certain that what makes life going your way so rewarding is that you grew through your trials.
Now for some questions:
1.) What's it like day to day for you in the minors. For example, what meals do they serve in the club house (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is what I heard for the Elsinore Storm?). What do you do in the clubhouse before games, where do you live when not on the road (with a host family or with teammates?), what type of places do you stay and eat at on the road, how do you kill time when not playing or working out, are you approached or distracted by female fans, are there any other distractions that plague or bother you, etc. One of my son's coaches, who was a catcher in the Mets organization, said the movie "Bull Durham" was very accurate about the life of a minor leaguer. Is that true?
Richard S., San Clemente, CA
Meals just depend on the clubhouse. Some are better than others and the minor leagues have definitely improved since the making of Bull Durham, especially as you move up the ladder. Before games we usually watch TV, play cards and listen to music.
2.) You mentioned you were from Florida. Did you have a favorite team growing up? How about a favorite player? Were you hoping to be drafted by a certain team or were you just happy to be picked?
Jeff T., Downers Grove, IL
I was a Cubs fan because their games were on WGN all the time. My favorite player growing up was probably Ken Griffey, Jr. I had no idea what professional baseball was going to be like so I was just hoping to be drafted by someone and get an opportunity to play.
3.) have you ever had a nickname and what was it (if so)?
Peter K., Walnut Creek, CA
A few actually, Debo and T-Rex have stuck in both pro ball and college.
Why did you attend a small, private university (I believe the official name is Leland Stanford Junior University) when you could have attended a great institution like Cal Berkeley?
Hey Bob, That's a great question. Basically because I care about my future. :-)
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