February 2012

Rockpile Rumblings Spring Training Day Two!

     It always seems to be the day while you are laying on a training table with electro E.K.G. wires hooked up to you, when you see a co worker that you haven’t seen since last instructional league or even since last spring. “Hey how are you?” “How’s the family?” “What have you been up to?” “You’re looking good” and the most common line for today was “how was your off season”? Yes today was physicals for the remaining minor league staff that are not involved in big league camp. Its the old ritual of blood samples, blood pressure check, orthopedic examine, a more thorough examination of the ears, eyes, throat and you get the picture. Our Athletic trainers and the doctors on board do an amazing job of running a vast number of people in and out with little confusion. Just pay attention to where they send you and poof, the physical is over. Oh and one thing to remember, no news is good news.
     After physicals we do get to eat breakfast which is much anticipated because the night before physicals you really don’t eat too late or as much. I recall one spring eating a huge steak and a couple of beers at around 9:30ish and that didn’t go over to well with the cholesterol check. Needless to say I had to retake my blood work and everything was good.
     Today we had an optional workout with some of the early arrivals. Pitchers and Catchers did their bullpen work and defensive work. The Outfielders and Infielders took fly balls and ground balls just to knock some rust off and get their feet wet. Batting practice followed each group of four hitters had five rounds of five swings. Conditioning followed and the day ended with lunch, we like to eat!!!
     If you are aware of the early arrivals. The players that come early are on their own dime. Meaning, they pay for room and food until their reporting date. It is a much different setting versus the past. I recall as a player, there were no early optional workouts for any players. If you came early, you could use the field but it was later in the day with no coach available to throw batting practice or hit fungos (fly balls/ground balls). We organize early optional work for all players and they do get a head start on the season. March 2nd is the reporting date for all Minor League Pitchers and Catchers. March 9th is the reporting date for the remainder of Position Players. First full squad workout is March 10th. First Minor League game is March 14th. So it is very important for these players to show up in shape and be ready to play. Any injury could be detrimental to making a full season team.
     Well that’s it for today. Take time to help someone today/Don’t take any day for granted!!!
May God Bless and Never Surrender!!!
-Joe Mikulik

Rockpile Rumblings Spring Training 2012 – Day One

And so it begins…28 years ago, I ventured into a world unknown to many. I entered an environment that many would love to experience. I choose this life because it is what we do. In the next 6 months, we have 14 scheduled days off with 4 of those days being travel days. A tough grueling schedule but part of the sacrifice that we sign up for. As the season of spring approaches, little kids around the country find a joy that has been a part of mankind for decades. Baseball… as James Earl Jones would say is one constant that will be around forever. Today I pack my bags once more, to go and search for that certain something that I have been trekking for, for some time. In the next month, I will post a blog of my daily routine during spring training. This is an inside opportunity for the outside to look in and gain a little knowledge of what does take place during the long days in a spring training schedule. So as you read this, vision in your mind, the smell of the grass, the feel of sun on your face, the crack of the bat, the sound of leather popping when players play catch. These are traditional sounds and feels of the greatest game of all time. And so it begins…my 28th spring training, a time when we gather together, create relationships and come together to form a strong bond with one common goal in mind, to win the World Series. Only one team will earn this reward, only one team will really accomplish their goal. I am truly looking forward to sharing this time with each and every one of you all. Take time to help someone today; don’t take any day for granted. May God Bless and Never Surrender!!!


-Joe Mikulik