Detroit Tigers Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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Growing up in Michigan and being a lifelong Tigers fan, I had an idea of what spring training was all about. You get to beautiful Lakeland, Florida, kick back, throw some bullpens, play some golf, hang with the big leaguers, and then when it’s all said and done you go pretty much where you think you will be. Well, after surviving my first spring training as a player, I had a wake up call… everyday at 6:45 am on the dot. I had gone through a season of rehab last year and thought that it would be a similar situation with the daily schedule, including Sundays off. Luckily, my spring roommate Jeff Kunkel, who I played with for three years at Michigan and trained with in the off season, gave me some good heads up on what to expect.
It was a month straight, everyday, and looking back I understand why. So many decisions have to made in such a short period of time about where to send guys, who to keep and who to let go. And more often than not, these are decisions that take until the day before camp breaks to be made. Yes, that does come with some amount of stress, especially for a person in my shoes (a little older, not proven yet, mid round draft pick). Although when I stepped back and realized that I was playing professional baseball for the Detroit Tigers, some of that stress was relieved, and I just worked hard and had fun.
Now, I know that pitchers sometimes get criticized for our lack of work and laid back lifestyle, mostly by our bat swinging colleagues. The hours in the outfield spent shagging balls, the day off from an away game (if you aren’t throwing) followed up by either eight consecutive hours on XBox or the golf course are nothing to frown at. Okay, yes, we do have it pretty good, but that doesn’t mean we don’t work hard because at the end of the day you are still trying to keep or win a job.
So the season is right around the corner and everyone can’t wait to step across that line. I’m looking forward to playing in West Michigan and going for a 3rd straight title. Hopefully my friends in the rest of the organization will get one, too. For me the smell of hot dogs, the sounds of a wood bat and the drunk guy in the third row mean only one thing, summer is here.
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