Behind the Dish With Brian Bormaster

Brian Bormaster, the Blue Jays 26th Round Draft Choice in the 2004 Amateur Draft from Tulane University has agreed to write a Journal during the 2005 season in an effort to bring fans closer to the minor league game. In his first journal Brian recaps Spring Training and share with the fans his experiences. Premium Subscribers can now get an inside look at Spring Training through a players eyes.

Sitting at home in Houston, Texas the anticipation of my first spring training with the Toronto Bluejays was building up. Pitchers and catchers were set to report on March 5, to get an early start and get comfortable with the Blue Jays system, while all the other players would be arriving four days later. I had no idea of what to expect, but I did know that I was out there to compete for a position, so I had to leave it all on the field. The first day, there were about fifty pitchers and ten catchers itching to play some ball and really prove themselves as ball players. All the catchers did early was catch some bullpens and get familiar with the pitchers giant arsenals. After all the pitchers were done the catchers did get to hit some batting practice with all the coaches. I felt that being there early really helped me learn a great deal of what spring training was about and what I had to do to succeed in the organization.

As a minor league ball player the dream is to make the major leagues. So whatever chance that I got to hang around the major leaguers, I jumped on. The big league spring training had started about two weeks earlier, which was taking place at Knology Park about ten minutes away from the minor league complex. Every once in a while some of the big league players would come over and practice with us or play a few innings in our games to rehab or just get a few more at-bats. All of us (minor leaguers) would really eat up the time we had with the big leaguers. We would watch how they went about their business and tried to pick up on any little thing that they may do that would help us become better. Gregg Zaun would come over occasionally to catch some of the pitchers that were rehabbing. Watching him call a game and take care of his pitchers was something I really admired about him, along with his sweet swing.

So the early period was over and all the players were set to show up to get started with the one month long 2005 minor league spring training. We had the same routine for a month, and that consisted of getting to the park at eight every morning, eating breakfast, have a baseball meeting at eight thirty and practice at nine. We would practice from nine to twelve and then get an hour lunch break. After our break we would have a game at one o'clock everyday. The other teams that we played were the Phillies, Yankees, and the Devil Rays. It was definitely a grind. Everyday from eight in the morning till five in the evening got tough at times, especially keeping out bodies fresh and healthy. We would also have some cardio exercises everyday and workout three times a week, so we were working out tails off. The thing that I kept telling myself is that if one day I make it to the major leagues all the practice and hard work I have put into the sport, it will be worth it.

With 130 players at spring training the competition was fierce. Everybody can play, so it all came down to who would perform under the pressure. There were four full season teams and then if you didn't make one of those teams you would have to stay at extended spring training for two months. Making one of the four teams was my goal for the spring. As the games started and we were into the spring games, I had found myself struggling at the plate. I was having a tough time with my timing and grooving my swing like I know I could. I knew that I was solid behind the plate so it was all going to come down to how I hit. The competition was tough within the catching core. There were a bunch of solid catchers that were all hoping they were hot with the bat for spring training. There was a good group that was swinging it well, but I just couldn't find it. However, I knew if I just kept working hard it would eventually come to me. The pressures are so intense at spring training because everybody wants to do so well.

I played every other day because of all the catchers at camp, so how I approached each game was very important for me. I hit early every morning trying to get my swing and approach back while still trying to maintain a strong mindset. I have to say that the pressure and competition is the toughest thing about the minor league camp. It can really ware on a player. After about ten games I had found myself with only three hits and time was running out. I had to realize the there was nothing that I could do but just keep working hard and trying to improve my game.

Two days before camp broke the teams were posted. I was on the extended roster, which was kind of a disappointment, but the only person I could blame was myself. I didn't perform well enough to make a team. Off to extended to work on my skills and then take it to a short season to compete and try to get called up to a full season team. Spring training was gruesome and very mind draining. I have to stay positive and keep challenging myself to become a better ball player. The major leagues is where we all want to be, so until next years spring training, I have to live with it and move on to my next obstacle.

-Brian Bormaster

Brian will be more than happy to answer any questions from the fans. Contact the site with any questions and Brian will answer them in his upcoming journal.

Future Jays Top Stories