Last night there was hazing. I'm just not going to say much about this. Yup, all the rookies....let's just move on!
It was a beautiful clear day today, but no games. The infield dirt was still too wet. So instead of having only one game tomorrow, looks like we will be playing two to make up for some lost time. We spent today getting to know our new team and doing more throwing and hitting than I think I've done in my entire life.
I was drafted to a team managed by Greg Minton (aka Mooney - don't ask) and Ed Halicki (aka Ho Ho - don't ask). Both former pitchers and great guys. Ed Halicki has the distinction of having pitched a no-hitter for the Giants on August 24th, 1975 against the New York Mets. The cool part about this (besides the no hitter), is that there were no no-hitters pitched by the Giants until Jonathan Sanchez on July 10th, 2009 and Pamela and I were there to see it! I kept saying to her, "Do you know what is going on?" and people around us would give me angry looks and just mouth "don't you dare".
Then there is Greg Minton who went three full seasons (269 innings) without throwing a pitch that was hit out of the park. That record still stands today. Being a pitcher wasn't his idea. He was a shortstop and a darn good one. But with incredible shortstops like Ozzie Smith in the league, the coaching staff decided to try him out as a pitcher. It stuck.
We did a lot of batting practice today with Ed pitching and Greg watching. Two swings into it, he stopped me and repeated everything that Dave Miller had told me during our practice a week ago. Then he gave me one small thing to do differently and everything changed. All of a sudden I started hitting pitch after pitch nice and solid. Greg in the background was doing this running commentary: "yup boys, we have ourselves a new player. Gonna have to review that batting order. See what my coaching does?". It was pretty funny. Seriously, thanks to Dave for all the tips and Kevin for reminding me to stay loose.
This afternoon he called my room to tell us when to be down for our team dinner and the conversation went something like this:
Moonie : "This is Greg Minton from the Giants Organization. Is this the prospect who was hitting in the cage today against Ho Ho?"
Me : "Yup"
Moonie: "Well, I'm just letting you know that we'll be at your hotel at 5:45 this evening to take you to dinner and talk about your future Giants career"
Me : "I hope you are willing to talk numbers"
Moonie: "Oh, we'll do a number on you alright!"
Anyway, that's just an example of how these guys can break the ice and make you feel like part of the team.
I decided that since I have no idea what position I play, I would try something unexpected. They asked for catcher volunteers and nobody spoke up, so I did. (Yup, Kevin, me!) So tomorrow, I'm the starting catcher. I figure that I've spent plenty of time watching from that vantage point as an umpire, it is time I moved 24" forward and tried catching. The good news is that there is no stealing on past balls. I also have good knees, so that puts me in the minority here. We'll see!
We have a strong team. Like all baseball teams, the key is pitching and we have a couple of college league pitchers (5-10 years removed), so we look pretty good. A nice group of guys who all went to dinner together tonight. The evening was full of story after story and plenty of laughter.
Other than a slightly sore arm, I'm doing just fine physically. Tired, but good. Tomorrow the games.
P.S. I have been without a phone until today. But thanks to Scott who shipped me down a laptop so that I could replace the expired Beta OS with the released version, I am now connected to the world again. I didn't miss the phone part, but I did miss the camera. So, starting tomorrow, there will be more pictures.