SPRING TRAINING

9 Mar

Spring Training for the Premier League started last week.  It is time for another season, time to crank it up, again, one more time.  I have been telling myself I am done for 10 years.  I am dramatic, I know, can’t help it, I am, after all, the King of All Jewish Baseball – comes with the territory.  But, the pain is real, and I know I do not have a lot left in the tank.  Couple years at best.  If I can get to 38, I’ll be lucky, I already am.  Every year, every practice, every game, between every pitch, sometimes, I tell myself, this is it, you’re old, and stupid, you could blow a knee on the next play, and that’s it, it’s over, stay focused, stay lose, anything could happen, a bad hop, broken orbital, this guy could pop-up a ball in foul territory, over the mound in the bullpen, you could trip, crash, slip, some people can’t even walk, they’re in hospitals, better make the most of this shit while you can.  You’d never know from watching me play.  I look like I am having fun.  And I am, sometimes.  But mostly I am horrified.  It is a mix of habit, excitement, and fear.

I try to get to the field early, before everyone else.  Don’t like being only a little early, or late, it’s unsettling.  Practice starts at 7.   Change, in the dugout, or in the bleachers, and get warmed up.  Run from the right field line to the center field fence, and back.  Do your dynamics.  My heart rate is going up.  Shit.  My hip hurts.  Remember to do your hip exercises.  Stretch.  Core.  Band work.  Weighted ball.  Throw.  Get it right.  Every time.  make it feel right.  Keep your effort level down.  It’s early.  Take it easy on your arm.  Be smooth.  Breath.

Time for defense.  Short hops.  Bare hand work.  Take a bucket of ground balls.  Get there.  I’m tired.  Shit.  My legs are heavy.  Breath.

Let’s hit.  Tee work.  Mini whiffles.  Flips in the cage.  Concentrate.  Be natural, like a lefty.  Don’t worry about the ball in.  You can cover the inner half, look for the ball away.  Keep it simple.  It’s easy.  Just get your foot down and make sure you’re in a good spot to pull the trigger. Don’t over-stride.  Breath.

I feel good.  Too good.  It scares me.  I feel fast, and strong.  I don’t want to feel good now and feel like shit later, when it counts.  But there is nothing I can do about it.  Just get there and do the work.

It is insane.  The brutishness.  The trying.  I am different on the field.  Get me warmed-up, and I am an animal, playing in dirt, diving face first.  Then, when I cool off, it hurts, all of it, the knees, the shoulders, the back, mostly, and I know, I am almost done.  Don’t hit too much in the cage, save some bullets, like Thome.  And this is what I do– nay, what we do, still, the same thing we have done since we were kids.  I will bleed, it will hurt, not too bad, and I will die a little on that field, over and over again, gladly.

It is, after all, time for another baseball season.  And anything can happen…

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Let’s go.

2 Responses to “SPRING TRAINING”

  1. Hertz, Stephen March 10, 2014 at 4:20 am #

    It looks like your main problem hitting is you’re standing a little to close to the ball, “After” you hit it!

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Rick Yaverbaum March 11, 2014 at 12:37 am #

    Nate, Baseball….it permeates your entire being. What a blessing! That and Advil will get you through. Ricky

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