It was rise and shine a little too early for my liking, but well worth it. After a quality breakfast we headed to the equipment room to gather our goods. Santa jumped aboard his sled in September this year let me tell ya. Wow.
We simply got spoiled rotten this morning. Every piece of baseball related equipment and clothing, long sleeve, short sleeve, different colors ("color" is spelled COLOUR in Canada, just for the record), footwear, bags, sunglasses, you name it. All top notch. A bunch of young men had that goofy look in their eyes like a 5 year old unwrapping their first baseball mitt. Priceless.
After a few games of NHL on the Xbox 360 and a power nap, it was time to get our first practice under way. We arrived at Team USA's practice facility in the town of Cary. Very sharp set up. Looked just like a spring training complex set up. Various fields and a main stadium set up. Well maintained, very impressive.
Before we got our stretch in, we were introduced to all staff and coaches. A few familiar names might catch your attention. Our manger is former big league catcher, most notably known for many years with the Toronto Blue Jays, Ernie Whitt. The other name that should definitely be familiar to you, other wise I'd be ashamed, is our hitting coach. He doesn't arrive until the 6th, but working with us on the offensive side will be hall of fame candidate Larry Walker. I'm really excited to work with him as he is one of the players I grew up watching and idolizing as a boy.
I have a little story to share during our stretch. A little crude, but I think you'll live. Pretty funny if you ask me! Well our trainer doesn't arrive for a few days, so Team USA sent a staff member to lead our stretch and plyometric routine. The staff member happened to be a woman. Now don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I have nothing against gender involving sports, but, just makes the story a little funnier.
We were doing a stretch where you rock onto your back while you tuck your knees into your chest. I guess one of my new teammates was feeling maybe a little too loose and relaxed. As he rocked back, yup, you guessed it. He ripped some serious loud gas. I immediately busted laughing out loud. I couldn't help it. He was front row right in front of her. She somehow played it off as if she didn't hear it but I know there is no possible way she couldn't have heard that bomb. Fantastic.
We had a light work out. Got the jet lag out of us. A little bit of throwing and ground balls. Pitchers did their side work, hitters took bp, and then we went over bunt defense, cut offs, relays, signs and all the fundamentals in a quick meeting.
I pulled a bone head move in batting practice. Well, before you take your swings, you bunt a few to see the ball a little before you start swinging. I did more then see it. Put it this way, I saw those laces come in better than any HD you'll ever experience. First pitch to me, up and in, shouldn't have even tried to bunt it...foul tip, straight off the eye. HAHA.
I'm alright though, it wasn't anything serious. More of a funny situation than serious. I got lucky and it hit me in the eyebrow area rather then right on the eye. So I have a puffy eyebrow like I caught a right hook from Iron Mike. It's fine by me though. Hopefully I'll get a bit of a shiner tomorrow so I can look like a true canuck. It's too bad I can't grow a mustache and a mullet overnight so I'd look Stanley Cup Playoff ready.
It was a good day today. Got the kinks out, enjoyed 80 degree weather in beautiful North Carolina, and met some good, quality people. First exhibition game is tomorrow. I think I'm gonna text Kiker and talk a little smack. Stay tuned!
*Random Candian fact of the day* - In the USA, many refer to a carbonated drink as a "soda". The exception might be in Texas where I notice EVERYTHING is a "coke". I still don't understand it. Up north we refer to it as a "pop". Example: "Eh brother, while you're at the store would you mind grabbing me a pop?" or "This pop is a little flat eh?"
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