Day One – Evaluations and Drills

Today started early, we were up at 5:30 and down in the lobby waiting for the shuttles at 6, and got on the first shuttle at 6:30. It was pouring out though!

We got over to the Player Development Complex(PDC) and went in through the back player’s entrance into our locker room. Everything was laid out perfect, all in rows like you imagine a pristine locker room looking when all setup.

Took a few pictures, then started to get changed. We were in Away jersey’s today so they could tell who was who based on the names, since away jerseys have the name, but home don’t. Just like aways say Boston, and home say Red Sox.

We then got some breakfast, eggs, bacon, oatmeal, cantaloupe, honey dew, and some granola with some orange juice.

After breakfast we had our player meeting to give us the lowdown on how things go, as well as telling us how the “fines” work. Everyone will get fined at some point. All fines are $1 except for major fines. They do this cuz it is fun and the money goes to charity, but they also use it to mock the MLB system of fines. A bunch of guys had their fines announced from the early bird game, most of them for having their back pockets hanging out while out on the field or at bat.

Well then we got divided up and sent out to one of 5 stations; BullPen, Infield, Outfield, Hitting, and Base Running.

I started out with the BullPen with Bill Lee and Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, then infield with Lou “The Framingham Kid” Merloni and John Valentin, then over to outfield with Butch Hobson(Who seriously looks like he could still play) and then over to hitting with Bob Montgomery and Al Bumbry, and then into base running with Rich Gedman.

Overall it went pretty well, and I got a nice compliment along with advice while over hitting in the cages when the batting coach said “You got some hella good hand/eye co-ordination, you just need to use your back foot more so you can get more power. Pretend you have a roach under your foot, and let him out when you are halfway through your swing”

Then we had lunch, broccoli and salmon, with some salad and peanut butter & jam sandwiches. While at lunch we also had the chance to get things signed by Frank Viola, I got a couple cards signed, along with my Fantasy Camp Souvenir Bat, and the Mini Helmet I got from Joe. They also had the Hooters Girls there who were giving us 25% off coupons. I didn’t get my photo taken with anyone though, even though the option was there.

Also during lunch, I bumped into Kevin Youkilis by my locker while he was talking to John Valentin and Bill Lee, both he and Lee were trying to convince the other whether VT(Where Bill lives) or NH(where Youk has family on Lake Winnipesaukee). Youk was there to work out, gotta give him credit, they don’t report for another 2 weeks and he is in the area early and already working out. I thought he was taller, but he is about my height, but he looks in real good shape. I think he is gonna be a real force this year!

Then after lunch we went out for a group stretch, and then there was a short Q&A with Frank Viola who shared a couple interesting stories about his playing days, including the College game he pitched with Ron Darling who pitched an 11 inning no-hitter before losing the game 1-0.

Then we got to play, I ended up over on field 5 with Truel and Boyd, I sat out the first inning, and then played first base in inning 2, then for some freakish reason I ended up as the catcher for innings 3, 4, and 5 to give Urbanski some rest and he went to first. We had a pitcher(Yorkal I think) who was throwing HARD and I remembered at about the third inning to take my index finger outside the glove to make it a little easier on me. My ankles and thighs(front and back) got a total workout from that!! Then inning 6 I went to third base and Urbanski went back to catching for the last inning.

I had 2 at bats in the game, our team was pretty terrible, but it was only evaluation game. I struck out both times at the plate, the pitching was pretty poor and tough to pick up, first time was looking(which will probably be a fine tomorrow) and the second time was swinging. Live pitching really is a lot different than anything else.

I will probably get another fine because I just stood and watched as the pitched came into foul ground 10-15 feet from me to try to catch a foul ball, and I just stood there and watched. I totally should have gone after it and caught it. BAD NED, but I won’t(I hope) be playing catcher any more, it was number 10 on my list of preferred positions. I hope to end up an outfielder, with some 1B thrown in.

Then we went into the clubhouse after the games, I got some ice for my hand, and then a couple granola bars and a few cokes. They had beer there for people as well, but well, you know me and beer so that was rules out for me. I also managed to get a few autographs at the end of the day too.

Total Autographs:

Bill Lee
Lou Merloni
John Valentin
Butch Hobson
UL Washington
Kevin Youkilis
Bob Montgomery
Frank Viola

UL Washington
Frank Viola

Frank Viola
UL Washington

B&W Glossy:
Lou Merloni

UL is like 3 lockers down from me, and then Bill Lee is down the other end of my locker row. You always know when he is around, he’s a combination of King and Jester while he holds court.

Time to head downstairs for the reception, and then to find out the draft results from today, they hold the draft in private and it started about 15 minutes ago at 6:00.

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