March 2010

Stocking Up

Spring training is a time not just to get yourself ready for the season but also to get your arsenal ready. That means choosing and stocking the equipment you’ll need for the season.
During our weeks here, manufacturers of gloves and bats set up tables and show us their latest models and take our orders. It’s fun to see what might be new and different, but usually we stick with what has worked for us in the past. 
Let’s talk about bats. How does a player choose a bat?
Part of the answer is the same as it was in Little League: How it feels in your hands. If you have big hands, you want a thicker handle. If you have smaller hands, like I do, you want a narrower handle. Then it’s about weight and length.
I have a bat from Pablo in my locker right now. It has a nice narrow handle, which feels good in my hands. But it’s too long for me – 35 inches. I have a long, sweeping swing, so I need a shorter bat to get around quickly enough on the pitch. Pablo has a short, compact swing, so he can get away with a longer bat. 
(The reason I have Pablo’s bat in my locker is that I’m keeping it as memorabilia. That kid is going to be a superstar. So I want him to sign it and I’ll keep it at home. See? We’re not much different from you when it comes to collecting . . .)
Over the years, I have narrowed my arsenal of bats to three models: Two are from Louisville Slugger – the I13 and the T141, and one is from Sam Bat, the AS12. These are the three that are always in my locker. The I13 is my favorite. It feels the most balanced and streamlined to me.
My bats are 33.5 inches long and 34 ounces, though I also order some 32-ounce bats, too.  Sometimes if I wake up and I’m kind of tight or tired, or if the pitcher is throwing 100 mph, I might want a lighter bat.
All of my bats are maple, which is a bit harder than ash. The ball goes farther, or at least it feels that way. It doesn’t mean the maple gets you a better hit, but when you hit it, you really feel like you hit it. 
I know some people think the maple bats are more dangerous because there’s a perception that they break more often. But I think the ash breaks more. That’s been my own experience anyway 
More soon.

Spring. Finally.

I know I’m two weeks late in posting my first spring entry. I’m trying something new. I’ll still write, but I’ll also be posting video with the blog. The reason this is late is that I’m still figuring out, with my collaborator, Joan Ryan, how to transfer the video from a digital Panasonic to the IBook computer, convert the video to the right format, edit it on I Movie and send it to the Giants’ website folks. 
So when you watch this video, keep in mind it was shot last Tuesday, on the day position players reported. At that time, I hadn’t really met some of the new guys, like Aubrey Huff or Mark DeRosa. 
It’s been great seeing my teammates from last year, especially the young guys like Pablo Sandoval. They bring so much energy to the clubhouse and they make you remember what it was like in the early days, when everything – from the custom uniforms to a real-life cook in the dining room making eggs for you first thing in the morning – seemed like you had died and gone to heaven. I still feel that way most days, but it’s good to be reminded. 
Jamie, Jayda and I are in the same house in Scottsdale that we have rented for the last few years. It’s where Jamie and I had our wedding last February 14. We had just a few people at the outdoor ceremony  – no one from Puerto Rico was able to come – but it was a perfect day. Now, a year later, that house is filled with the babbling and laughter of Jayda, who is truly the happiest baby on earth. Jamie had surgery on her wrist, which then became infected, so we have my cousin, Jennifer, from Brooklyn staying with us until Jamie can lift the baby again. It’s killing Jamie to have to be so careful with her arm, but she’s already had too many setbacks with it to take any more risks with the healing process.
Hope you like the video. Don’t expect too much. We’re still experimenting. But please let me know what you think. And give me your ideas on what you’d like me to talk about on the video. Maybe we can pull some teammates into the next one . . . 
Thanks for reading!