It is 9:27 pm on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Now, that may not mean anything to you, which is fine. But to me it means there is only 1 week, 2 days, 15 hours and 33 minutes left until I board a plane bound for Port Charlotte, Florida, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays' Spring Training Facility (the plane actually flies into Tampa, where I'll catch a bus to PC, but you get the idea).
With that said, you're probably wondering what I've been doing to prepare myself for the grueling test that is Spring Training (and if you're not, just click off the page, because that’s all we're talking about in this post…I'll try to post something more to your liking next time). Well, to tell you the truth, I have been doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I mean, come on, have you seen me lately?! There should be a picture of me next to the definition of "pure athlete." As Domingo Ayala put it, "Es God-given." Long story short, I plan to just walk on the field March 5th and make a team without picking up a baseball or weight all off-season. Duh. (if you believed any part of the previous rant, please click off the page and send me a e-mail…I've got some talking rocks you may be interested in purchasing).
Ok, so now that we've gotten rid of all the uninterested and/or gullible readers, let's get serious (or at least try to). Since my off-season started in September, my workouts have consisted of only running and weight training; no throwing at all until mid January. I have to say, I was pretty worried about not throwing for a four month period, but decided to trust the Rays' and their off-season program (Even though the lay-off from throwing seemed too long, I figured they knew what they're talking about). Needless to say, my day-to-day was a little off without going to the field everyday to throw, but I managed to make it to mid January without touching a baseball (a HUGE accomplishment in my eyes).
Now, if I said that the first day back throwing felt great, wonderful, and all those other happy adjectives, I'd be lying. I figured it would be like riding a bike, just hop back on and everything will just magically come back; but I was dead wrong. Simply put, everything felt awkward (I'm sure I looked something like a five year old learning to throw in the back yard). But after a couple days, it all started to feel natural again and I began to resemble a professional baseball player (notice I said "resemble" and not "look like," I still had a lot of work to do). The middle of February brought my first full bullpen session, which went a lot better than I had hoped. For whatever reason, everything just fell back into place: I had good movement on my fastball, my slider was sharp, I could actually throw my change-up, and did a pretty good job of locating all three. As you may have guessed I was pretty pleased. All I had to do was keep it up and keep improving every day.
So that brings us to today, I am currently spending some time with my girlfriend in Canada (she's training in Victoria, British Columbia, for the 2012 Olympics......and yes, that was me bragging). But don't think for one second that this is a vacation, I've been in the gym every day putting the final touches on my off-season training (big thanks to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence and the Victoria Eagles Baseball Club for letting use their facilities during my stay).
That's all for now guys, not sure whether or not you'll hear from me again before Spring Training, but I'll be sure to post weekly updates while I'm in Port Charlotte. But until then, "Y'all be good."