On Monday I headed over to the complex for my first workout as a Rockie. I arrived early, probably too early for my own good. I walked to my locker and found shorts, a hoodie and some tshirts hung up waiting for me and for whatever reason that immediately calmed some of the first day nerves I’d felt walking in.
I changed into my black Rockies shorts, a New Balance 3/4 sleeve undershirt and my Majestic hoodie. I wandered down the hallway to the cafeteria to eat breakfast and assumed I was in the wrong place when I found a hot breakfast buffet. One of the staff members noticed my obvious bewilderment and explained that both the big league club and minor league guys eat in the same place and that yes, I was in the right spot. It was a stark change from my last three spring trainings when breakfast was either powdered eggs and weird bacon or a cold/bacon/egg/cheese sandwich every single morning. I had scrambled eggs with peppers and onions, some sautéed vegetables and a few slices of real, crispy bacon. There was yogurt, granola, fruit, cereal and a bunch of different types of bread, but I stuck to the hot stuff.
When I finished my breakfast I wandered over to the training center (we don’t call it a weight room) to discuss the lifts with the strength coaches. I went through a few tests to determine some baselines that the Rockies test for, and got set up on their app that delivers our workouts to our phones. After talking through their program and learning some basics I headed back to my locker to kill time. While I was sitting at my locker Ryan Carpenter, a former teammate with the Orleans Firebirds, walked in and said hi, as did Elvin Soto, the catcher from Rockland last year. It was awesome to see a couple of familiar faces and not feel quite as lonely, it’s really awkward being the new guy over and over again.
We headed outside at 10:30 and stretched, did a bit of running, and then headed in to the cages which are absolutely HUGE, and hit to warm up for our on field batting practice. I went right to the front toss cage since I’m not a big fan of warming up off the tee. I prefer to use the tee for certain drills, and front toss for warmup style drills. My swing was alright, slightly off because of the time passed since my last batting practice session at All Stars Academy in Albany (which I MASHED in, just ask the Hit Trax machine!). I played with my stride, trying to find that fine line between getting myself separated to generate power, and flying open, my Achilles heel. My batting practice on the field was better, and it was so nice to just hear those fresh sounds of spring, multiple cracks of the bat from all the different fields, and to watch the ball fly in real life, rather than on the Hit Trax screen.
After practice I went in and got my first lift in, which took way longer than it probably will next time, because I had to walk through every single thing with the coaches to make sure I was doing things the right way. Imagine being the new kid, who has to not only figure out how to read the app, but also needs help to learn the new, different movements, and focuses that are important to a new set of coaches…while lifting weights. It was a lot, but as I got into it I started to figure some things out. I finished up and made myself some Muscle Armor to help with recovery, and then went to shower and change, leaving the complex around 2:30.
Yesterday and today were much smoother. I didn’t have any lifts, so it was just roll out, hit in the cage, stretch, throw, receiving work off the machine and then bp on the field, with a delicious lunch at the field added in today.
As for life off the field, Sammy and I continued to explore. We went into Phoenix and wandered around a little arts district, and had dinner at Westgate, before hitting up Dave and Buster’s for a little arcade gaming. As usual Sammy hit jackpots on two of her first three games, continuing her never ending streak. Yesterday, we spent the afternoon running around like crazy people even though it was Valentines Day.We went to Old Town Scottsdale to walk around, and ate lunch at an Italian restaurant right on the main strip. When we walked back to the car we found this cool little dessert cafe called Ruze, and had to stop in. Sammy had a “pink” velvet cupcake and I had a slice of Funfetti birthday cake that was OUT OF THIS WORLD! We tend to do lots of dessert snacking when we’re out exploring new places, so this was just another opportunity to try something delicious. Feeling fat and happy, we headed home, changed and went on another hike, this time walking the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. We got about half way up as the sun was setting and hung out sitting on a big rock looking out at the mountains. It was really peaceful, and a relaxing way to end her time in Arizona with me, as she left this morning before I had to go to the field.
We’re back it it for two more workouts this week, including another bullpen day and then off for the weekend. Saturday looks to be a great day, as Mark is going to be in town and is planning a Bandits in Arizona lunch for all of the guys who live or train out here, which will be awesome!! Hopefully I’ll get some more pictures and stuff to show you as camp progresses, but for now I keep my phone away since I’m still the weird new guy.