I'll start with some bad news. Unfortunately, I will be missing this season due to surgery to repair my labrum. It is a normal baseball surgery and not as bad as Tommy John or a rotator cuff surgery. The recovery time should have me ready and in great shape for next season. So, for those of you who really care, you can send balloons, candy and any kind of expensive electronics to OaklandClubhouse and I'm sure they will forward it to me.
Now I'll move onto some more positive and upbeat subjects. Thanks for all the emails. The answer to last journals riddle "7 ways to get on base without getting a hit" was a walk, hit by pitch, catcher's interference, swinging strike three with a passed ball/wild pitch, intentional walk, error and fielder's choice. I believe a handful of emails got it correct.
1) Is it hard to keep friendships going with players moving around so much? Do you keep in touch with guys you played with before during the season if you are on another team?
Jason E., Arizona
The only time I find it hard to keep friendships is during the off-season. Most guys like to get away from the sport and do their own thing whether it is married life, school, or just working wherever they live. You try to keep in touch via phone or email, but it is just not the same as seeing them everyday and clowning around and sharing baseball stories.
I try to keep in touch with most of my teammates during the season no matter what level they are at. Of course if they are promoted, you like to keep in touch with them and get an idea of how things might be different in AA, AAA or the bigs. You can get some inside info on how to act or what to expect when you do get there eventually.
2) Thanks for writing this journal! It's a lot of fun to read! I was wondering if you pay attention to guys who are ahead of you in the system to see where you might move up to or if you just concentrate on your own game. Thanks!
My teammates have always joked with me and made fun because I was so into other teammates, friends or opponents stats more than my own. They call it "Scotistics." I just like to be into the game and see what is going on around the nation.
It helps me with scouting opponents or seeing how our affiliates are doing. You always are pulling for your friends and other teammates in other leagues. Winning helps the organization look better and it makes it special because you are apart of it.
3) I was wondering how you guys pass the time on the long bus rides when you are on the road? Any favorite games?
Great question. All my friends at home ask me the same thing, because they hear all the horror stories of long bus trips with McDonalds food for six months non-stop. When I played for Vancouver the bus trips ranged from four to 12 hours. Having a roster of about 40 and not many guys actually having seniority made it a zoo getting seats on the bus. Guys are always fighting for their own seat, so if you are one of the lucky ones with higher experience or you get to the bus three hours before it even arrives to wait in line you can get your own seat.
Most of the trips, we watch a recently released movie, which usually has Will Smith, Adam Sandler or Will Farrell in it. Some guys play card games, such as Poker, Spades, or Pluck (a Midwest invented game to my knowledge). Last year after the release of "Pirates of the Caribbean," our teammates got hooked on the liars dice game called Perudo.
I'm the gadget guy on the team so I have the iPod, DVD player or my Treo phone with the greatest invention ever on it -- the Slingbox. The Slingbox allows me to watch my TV from home on my phone and change the channels.
4) Good riddle. I had a question for you. Who is the toughest hitter you've ever faced was or the best player you have played against?
Jessica M., Washington
Of all the hitters I have faced, I do not have one specific one I think that was the best. To me, the tough ones are the pesky guys that just play with you and foul off five or six pitches in an at-bat and just wait for you to make a mistake. Howie Kendrick and Troy Tulowitzki have had some good games off of me and they were always fun to watch. Daric Barton is also one of those guys who can watch certain pitches and then just wait for the pitchers to give in and hurt them.
Some of the best players I played against were the Cal League class of 2005. That class included Ian Stewart, Billy Butler, Edinson Volquez, Daric Barton, Howie Kendrick, Brandon Wood, Jered Weaver and Miguel Montero just to name a few.
5) Has the team told you where you'll be playing once you're healthy or is that something that will be determined after you are done with your rehab?
The team usually doesn't tell you where you will be headed prior to spring training or while I was rehabbing. You may have an idea (where you think you should be), but late signings, trades and injuries can change all of that. All you have to do is just play the game, stay healthy and do whatever you can to keep getting better. It is the time that you start leveling out with the playing field that you see guys get injured or yet worse released.
I will try to continue to write a journal entry every month or so and keep you all updated on my progress. Feel free to continue emailing me any questions or comments. I will have nothing but time on my hands and I enjoy answering them. I have enjoyed doing these journals and hope to do them again next year. Next year I'll be sure to be on the field and have more intriguing stories about baseball and the actually life on the road.