Long Days (Number 2)

This post is a few days late as the shift from 6:30pm to 7pm night games, some long games, and an early lift day has limited my writing time.  This post is another time line (like my May 2 post when we traveled to Fort Wayne, IN at 5am, and played a game that night at 6:30am).  This period covers Saturday and Sunday, May 31-June 1, when we played a double header in Peoria, IL on Saturday and a day game at home against Kane County (Oakland Athletics affiliate) on Sunday.

Saturday, May 31

10:00am – Wake up.  Our bus departure time is 10:45am, and I need to pack up so we can check out of the hotel and get on our way to a local mall to kill some time before we have to go to the stadium

10:45am – Depart for mall.  Sometimes, on getaway days, the team will go to a local mall to kill a few hours so that we are not sitting at the stadium any longer than we have to be.  Fortunately, we are able to do this in Peoria as there is a mall two miles from the hotel.

12:15pm – Depart to stadium.  One of the drawbacks of going to these malls is that there is always the temptation to buy things, things that I already have enough of but will of course buy if there is a good deal on them.  So, two polo shirts (the dress staple of a minor league baseball player, and two pairs of shorts later (the weather is finally warming up here now that it is June), as well as a quick lunch, I get back on the bus to go to the stadium.

12:30 – Arrive at stadium.  Pitchers and catchers do not stretch for an hour so I have a little more time to kill than usual.  I use the time to pack up some of my locker since we will be leaving after the game, as well as to polish my spikes.

1:30 – Pitchers and catchers on the field.  It is a warm and humid day in Peoria with a high that will eventually reach 88.  I stretch, throw, and catch some bullpens, then go inside to get some early hitting work in the cage.

3:00pm – Batting practice.  We hit for 45 minutes on the field and then go inside to make finally preparations for tonight’s games.

5:00pm – Game 1 begins.  I am catching the first game tonight as I was slated to catch Friday’s game that was rained out.  Doubleheaders in minor league baseball are played as two seven-inning games.

6:50pm – Game 1 ends.  We lose 7-3 due to some defensive miscues and a stagnant offensive.  However, we have no time to dwell on this loss as game two will start in a half hour.

7:20pm – Game 2 begins.  I am not playing this game so I end up keeping personal notes on the other team.  In addition, I end up coaching first base for the game as our hitting coach (and usual first base coach), is the acting manager for the doubleheader as our manager, KJ, is out of town for personal reasons. 

9:15pm – Game 2 ends.  We suffer another loss, 3-1.  After the game, we have a post-game meeting, shower, and get packed up to leave Peoria.  We need to load all of our bags onto the bus, as well as all of team gear, which includes extra bats, extra uniforms and clothing (in case of roster moves on a road trip), training room equipment (which consists of four large trunks), and laundry bags.

11:15pm – Bus departs for Cedar Rapids.  We had a spread of spaghetti, meatballs, and salad in the clubhouse for dinner, so we will be driving straight home without any stops.  I make sure to pack a few water bottles, knowing that I need to stay hydrated since I am catching the early game tomorrow.  I warm up and stretch for the second time today with the position players, as we all get ready for the game starting shortly.  I am not starting tonight so my pregame routine is rather basic, but I will detail my pregame routine in a later entry.

Sunday, June 1

2:00am – Arrive in Cedar Rapids.  We arrive to the stadium and need to unpack the bus.  After we do this, I head home.

2:30am – Arrive at home.  After unpacking my bags from the road trip, I head to bed as fast as possible so I can be ready for the game tomorrow.

10:30am – Wake up.  All players need to be to the field by noon.  Today we are doing a “show and go”, which means we will be not be taking any on-field batting practice or going through a typical day of early work.

11:15am – Arrive at the stadium.  I get some swings in the cage before pitchers and catchers go on the field to stretch.  Kane County will have the cage around 12:30pm, so any swings I am going to get before today’s game will have to be as soon as possible.

12:00pm – Pitchers and catchers on the field.  There is only one bullpen today and so today’s workload is light.  Another catcher catches this because I am playing in today’s game.

2:00pm – Game.  I feel surprisingly well after catching the night before and enduring the long bus ride.  Other than a few hip flexor cramps late in the game, I feel good throughout the game.

4:55pm – Game ends.  We lose a heartbreaker 4-3 after scoring two in the ninth to put us within reach of a win.  I am exhausted, not to mention frustrated, after the game is over as this outcome has unfortunately become a little too common lately.

6:30pm – Leave the stadium.  After the post-game meeting and a short workout for some daily maintenance, I shower and leave the stadium.

We have played three games in a 24-hour period and need to recharge for Monday and the remainder of the home stand.  We will not have another day off until the All-Star break, beginning June 16.  While there is no rest for the weary, you learn to be efficient in your daily activities and to expend the lowest amount of energy possible while keeping true to form and getting the maximum benefit out the work. 

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