1) Steve, Fresno, CA: Thanks for writing the journal! I was curious about the Winter Meetings. Did you think it was as crazy as they portray it on ESPN? Could you actually hear deals going down in the lobby? Did you see the A's front office while you were there?
The Winter Meetings weren't as crazy as ESPN portrayed it to be. Most of the teams have suites in the hotel and do their deals in private. Although you do see agents and front office brass chatting in public in the lobby, the big deals probably happen upstairs or over the phone.
I did run into the A's staff there briefly, but they were busy taking care of their off-season transactions. During the day, both MLB and minor league officials have league meetings (team schedules, All-Star games, new rules). The evenings were mostly for anyone in the baseball world to catch up with one another, share some stories and show off their rings.
In the lobby, anywhere I went I could always hear Ozzie Guillen's voice telling stories in Spanglish (half Spanish, half English). He had everyone smiling and laughing whoever was around him. Side Note: The Marlins World Series ring from 2003 was probably noticeable from space. It was HUGE!
2) Perry, Stockton, CA: Hey Scot! I have seen you play for the Ports for the past two years. This journal is great! My question is about pitching in the California League. What is the hardest park to pitch in? How does the Ports park rate?
The California League is notoriously known as a hitter's league. As a pitcher you hear "keep the ball down" from your managers, teammates, and I've heard it from my fair share of fans. But it was also a learning experience that you need to hit spots and that you won't get away with leaving the ball up.
High Desert and Lancaster were some of the more difficult parks to pitch in due to the 30mph + winds. And, yes, that wind was always blowing out. Pitching in Stockton was great, other than the 250 foot Jackson-Rancheria right field porch. Playing in a new stadium on the water with great fan support made it very enjoyable. Banner Island is one of, if not the, nicest ballpark in the league. I liked how it allowed fans to walk freely around the 360 degree designed stadium.
3) Jeff, Illinois: What are you doing to rehab your arm? Do you think you'll miss a lot of the season?
As for the rehab process, I have been going to a sport rehab facility called Accelerated in Fort Lauderdale. I have to give a shout-out to the staff and the crazy soccer moms that rehab with me. They always make enjoyable for what it is. The rehab has been going on for about five weeks now and I have been doing exercises to strengthen my rotator cuff and the muscles around it. One of the physical therapists opened a baseball clinic on the side and I have been training there, as well.
Sports Baseball Clinic has about 25 baseball specific workout machines. These machines are all new and very innovative to the sport of baseball. They are static workouts that consist of one minute on each machine, then 30 seconds off to build quick fast twitch muscles.
Most of the machines are air-compressed, so if you start getting tired during the minute you can hit a button to decrease the resistance without removing actual weights. I get to start my throwing program in the next week and hope to build off that and be at extended spring training in April.
Throughout this time being home, while all my teammates are in Arizona, I have realized even more you can not take this game or your career for granted. Everyday I find myself going to high school practices or games to just be around the baseball field.
Today I arrived at a high school practice early and started doing dry drills pretending I was pitching a game on the mound. School security came by and thought I was trespassing. I just told him I struck out the last five batters and he better not mess up my no-hitter. I didn't think he understood the joke by the clueless look on his face as he looked and saw no one else on the field.
By the next entry I hope to be in Arizona for the start of extended spring training. Last week's riddle was fairly easy for the baseball enthusiast. It was the "catcher and umpire." This week I hope to stump you with:
A woman shoots her husband.
Then she holds him under water for over 5 minutes.
Finally, she hangs him.
But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together.
How can this be?
I appreciate all the emails; keep them coming. Send me some of your own riddles and try to stump me.
If you want to contact Scot with a question or a riddle, please email firstname.lastname@example.org