Let's start with the most important thing first, golfing. Baseball might be the national pastime, but golfing is the national pastime for pitchers. If you're going to be a pitcher in this game you better know how to golf. Golfing is a pitchers way to get our heads away from the game but still flex our competitive muscles. If there is one pitcher in the organization that loves golf as much as I do its Jarred Cosart (follow him on twitter @JarredCosart). So, this past week Cosart and I made our regular trip to Clearwater Country Club three times. The first time was a mano y mano match in which Cosie (as we call him) was a bit overmatched. Cosart's love for the game is not matched by his scorecard. His ability, however, is unquestionable. He's the type of player that will hit an unbelievably good shot followed by an unbelievably bad shot. So, if you can take some of his punches early and manage to come out the other end he will eventually beat himself. I shot a 78, and he shot who knows? The next two outings were a much more serious endeavor, the Clearwater Open. No, we didn't enter ourselves into a tournament. But, the Clearwater Open is what we dubbed our two-man scramble tournament. Jarred Cosart and Jon Pettibone (@Jon_Pettibone) facing off against the team of Jake Borup (@JakeBorup) and yours truly. Once again, the former was overmatched. But they didn't go out without putting up a good fight. The first match went down to the wire as we defeated them by only one shot. The next day wasn't so close, Borup and Pettis walked away with the trophy and Cosart and Pettibone tried to salvage their pride. As long as we play the game of baseball, golf will always be there as an escape. It's hard to complain about life when you're on the golf course and there are very few places I would rather be.
Ok, ok now on to the real most important thing. This week I was fortunate enough to participate in three more Major League Spring Training games. I say participate, but I really mean watched. I was on the roster, I was in the bullpen, but I didn't see any action. But you know what, thats ok. The experience I have gained over this Spring Training, being able to associate with the Major League players is invaluable. I have met all the stars and coaches: Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Rich Dubee, and Charlie Manuel. Not only have I met them, but they felt comfortable enough to play a prank on me. So, as we were shagging batting practice before a home game at Bright House Field I was, along with a few other players, covering the balls in right field. About five minutes went by and I wasn't really paying attention to my surroundings and I look to my right and notice that I am the only person standing on the entire left side of the outfield! As I scratched my head in bewilderment looking at the 30 some-odd players all bunched up on the other side of the field, Victorino whistled over to me and yelled "You got it covered over there!!". I replied "Ya I'm on it". Everyone laughed and spread out around the entire outfield again. Some people might have been rattled by this, but I thought it was awesome. I was part of the team, I had been pranked. That's just one of the many examples of things that happened over my now 4 games of Major League experience that have made me more comfortable. You know, the first couple games I really didn't want to pitch, I was still absorbing my surroundings. But, that last game I was itching to get in and really disappointed when I didn't. And I think that's a big part of it. Now I know when I do get that opportunity I'll be prepared, I'll be comfortable (or at least as much as I can be), and I'll be ready to perform.
This last week has been hectic, but it's also been one of the best of my life....
[Here are a few random pics that I took this week]
|Site of my last big league game against the Braves|
|Good parking job at the hotel|
|Field of Dreams (aka Carpenter Complex, Roberts field)|
|Really skinny palm trees at the golf course|
Cosart's swing (Hank Haney where are you?)
|Everyday is a good day for tanning in Clearwater|