Happy April FoolsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Day! After a month in Florida, it is great to be back in the state of Ohio as a member of the 2008 Dayton Dragons.
Like most of my previous experiences in minor league baseball, spring training was filled with the highest of highs as well as the lowest of lows. I touched on some of the highs in my previous post, but will list them again:
– New manager Dusty Baker coming out to minor league camp and addressing the players or Ã¢â‚¬Å“dudes,Ã¢â‚¬Â for more than 30 minutes.
– Cordero, Cueto, and Volquez coming over to the minor league side of the clubhouse on a daily basis to joke around with some of the Dominican players.
– Meeting former Reds that include Eric Davis, Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey, Sr., and Jack Billingham.
– Breaking camp as a member of the rotation for a team that is close to home and has been ranked as one of the most exciting places to play in all of minor league baseball.
As an organization rule, players attending their first spring training are required to live in the team hotel. Although having a nightly curfew and a per diem of two dollars (meals and transportation are provided) were definite downers, the overshadowing low of spring training is the simple fact that there are not enough roster spots for the number of players in camp and cuts have to be made.
Today was our media day, which included taking headshots, filming our scoreboard video clips, giving interviews and meeting the local press and beat writers, and meeting the management team from Mandalay Sports Entertainment. Because many of the guys on the team were together last summer in Billings, the day almost seemed scripted. As expected, Todd Frazier was introduced to the media as the kid from Toms River, New Jersey who won the Little League World Series and Scott Carroll, our opening day starter, delivered perfectly timed jokes to keep the mood light and comical.
It should be another great season for the Dragons. All the guys are looking forward to opening up on Thursday, but are even more excited for our home opener on April 7. Without any inclement weather, I will pitch the third game of the season on April 5 and will try to make another post shortly after.