The Offseason, The Holiday Season and The New Year

Good Evening!!

It has been a while since I posted on here but I wanted to write for all of you and let you know what has been going on lately.  It has been a crazy month for me!  Unlike what a lot of people think (myself included when I was younger) minor league ball players normally have to have some sort of secondary job in the offseason.  In a world of small salaries, and paychecks that are only being earned through half the year we need to find a way to have a life when we’re at home.  Offseason jobs come in all sorts of different forms, teammates of mine from the Padres organization are doing everything from teaching at schools, and running baseball clinics to working in warehouses and offices.  I am doing the last of those things, and let me just throw it out there for any of the younger guys DESK JOBS SUCK when you have a regular job that includes taking ground balls and batting practice 6 days a week.

I am working at a marketing company here in Toronto called Splash, we import home decor and gift ware items from China and sell them all across the country. How does a minor league player get a job at a company like that? Connections definitely help!  A former teammate of mine’s dad owns the company, and in the past I have done various school projects about the business so when I got home I felt like it was natural to call him and see if I could pick up some warehouse work, it’s unglamorous, but its physical labor which I figured couldn’t be bad in addition to our workout program.  We agreed on a schedule and the next thing I knew I was back on the phone with him being told that I would be bored working in the warehouse and so I ended up in a “flex” position, one that has gotten me some work experience in everything from Accounts Receivable to being a secretary.

Lately, I have been firmly rooted in the Purchasing department, I even have my own company email address!  My job has been to prepare spreadsheets for my boss that show all of the different items any one of the factories produces along with all of the buying information.  He then chooses the items we would like samples of, and that’s when the fun begins.  I’ve been emailing back and forth with more than 50 different factories in China arranging for delivery of all of these items.  Every day I receive around 20 emails from different factories about the sample orders and I’ve had to keep track of all of them through FedEx’s website as well as on Excel Spreadsheets.  It has been a pretty cool experience to see the whole process unfold, as the emails slowly turn into a sample room filled with over 500 items!

You’re all probably thinking “this is a baseball blog where’s the baseball?” That is where the friendly boss comes into play.  He has allowed me to take Tuesday and Thursday as a half days which allows me to drive across the city to The Baseball Zone to hit, throw and work out!  Monday, Wednesday and Friday I work 8:45 am – 5 pm, but those precious Tuesdays and Thursdays have been critical in allowing me to continue to my training on a regular basis.  In addition, I am at The Baseball Zone Monday nights, and Saturday afternoons.  I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of friends who are back from Junior College who I’ve been able to hit and workout with which has made it far more enjoyable than doing it all alone.

In this video, my buddy Robert Grilli and I are going through a “functional” workout.  Its not necessarily your traditional dumbell/barbell workout, but its a series of exercises that really is tough to get through.  Our workout included:

  • Sled pulls
  • Battle Ropes (In video)
  • Tire Flips (In video)
  • Sled Pushes
  • Sledgehammer smashes
  • Russian Twists
  • Curl/Presses (In video)
  • Ab hang

Each day I am at The Zone I go through my tee work routine, starting with my one hand swing drills and moving on to normal tee work.  After a little while I move into front or side toss and work on keeping my bat path, my hand path and swing plane all correct.  I find that these “slower” drills allow me to better understand my swing and how it’s supposed to feel, so that when I’m in the heat of July facing a reliever throwing 98 I know exactly what I need to do to have success.  I finish off my day with some light throwing, and some defensive work.  I work with all my gloves so that whether I’m told to do drills at Spring Training as a 2nd baseman, 3rd baseman or 1st baseman I’ll be ready.  A scout once told me, the more gloves you have in your bag, the more valuable you are, so I continue to try and learn my non primary positions.

I’m working as hard as I ever have both at my job at Splash and on my body, my swing and my other baseball abilities and it’s a great feeling knowing that in a few short months I will get a chance to put all of my physical work on display at Spring Training.  I hate to be that guy, since last time I wrote I mentioned Halloween candy, but during the Christmas season we can do a lot of harm to our biggest asset, our bodies.  Lets all think twice before that extra piece of cake, those extra cookies or that extra dessert that grandma made. Its awesome, we all know how tempting it is, but the reward for not having it will far outweigh the delicious food.  Be smart during this holiday season, and let the other guy be the player that shows up next baseball season a step too slow, and a step behind the game.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year filled with lots of hits, RBI’s and a few majestic home runs!  Enjoy your time off from school, or work and spend it with family and friends, but remember there are only 100 days until Opening Day.  Pitchers and catchers will be reporting soon, and our REAL lives will start up again.

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