Monday, October 31, 2011

First Day of Preseason

It's preseason time - for me that means putting the trips around the country and the late nights out on hold (or at least to a minimum) and getting ready for another spring training and season. Preseason, I think, is more important than any other part of our season - it allows us 4 full months to get our bodies in shape to abuse them for the 7 month season.

Our season is a long one and strenuous one. It's true that the Big League season is about a month longer, but they also get about one off day a week and travel on planes. In a profession where your money comes from your ability to use your body - you better have that instrument finely tuned.

This is what makes our job a hard one in my mind (obviously playing baseball at a professional level is also hard from a competitive standpoint). But it's more the fact that from about September to March, minor leaguers are mostly on their own to do what they want, and it's up to us to be ready for Spring Training. It's a tough thing to do to motivate yourself to get up and go to the gym 4 times a week (for anyone who has ever wanted to get into shape - you know what I'm talking about). I don't wanna give the wrong impression though, the toughest part of my life right now is going to the gym 4 times a week - I'll be just fine.

The position players may start taking grounders and swinging the bat again by now. Some in local batting cages where they're going to become a very familiar face, and some in local parks where the little fences won't help them save money on baseballs. Pitchers are mostly focusing on working out - putting on as much muscle as they can from knees to chest - getting all the power they'll inevitably use up in the months of season. When the calendar changes to 2012, you'll start seeing more and more of us playing catch, brushing the dust and cobwebs off our arms in the preverbal migration toward Spring Training.

I just wanted to post quickly about what it means to be in preseason mode. The World Series ended this past weekend (and what a great one it was) - but with hilights still playing on ESPN about six thousand minor leaguers went back to work trying to be one of the players in next year's Series. Our job may not be year round in terms of games, and we may not have normal hours. But next time you see a 20-something kid in your local gym wearing short that look like official MLB issue - he may be working at throwing a little harder, making the first step a little bit quicker, or getting last years doubles over the fence in 2012.

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