I have reported to Tempe, AZ for Spring Training. A long and productive offseason culminated this morning with an early flight through Indianapolis to Phoenix. The first day in town tends to be quite a process as there are many things that need to get accomplished.
Setting up the locker is the first task. This process is started by putting out cleats, turfs, running shoes, and shower sandals, followed by undershirts, sliders, and other apparel. After arranging these items, placing the batting gloves and other miscellaneous items in the locker happens next. Checking out the new catchers gear soon follows, and then the arduous task of adjusting the many straps on the shin guards, chest protector, and mask is completed. It is imperative that everything is adjusted and ready to go 9am Monday morning. The last task was to tape up some new bats (ironic that I happened to do this last, as hitting is the skill valued least by Angels catchers).
Having arranged the locker, it was time to check in with the training staff. This check in involves filling out the injury and general health questionnaire and the emergency contact card. A baseline arm range of motion measurement was then taken; this appears to be new for this year (at least among position players). After all of this was taken care of, I was given my physical time tomorrow morning of 8:30. There is nothing like getting up early to be poked and prodded by orthopedists.
While these things were going on, I kept running into past teammates, either from Rancho Cucamonga, Cedar Rapids, or the Tempe Angels (from when I was on rehab assignment). Seeing the guys that finished the season in Cedar Rapids brought back feelings of déjà vu, as it seems like not so long ago we were cleaning out our lockers after losing in the playoffs to Burlington six months prior.
After finishing up at the complex, it was off to the hotel. We stay in a Homestead Suites, which is designed for extended stays. I am rooming with Efren Navarro, and even though he is a position player (most of whom report March 13), he was invited early to get some extra work in. We have been good friends since the time we spent in Orem, and it is better to have your rooming situation planned to avoid getting a random roommate.
Now I am off to track down some dinner. Until I can get a ride to the supermarket from one of the guys who have a car here, that is probably going to be at the Sheraton’s restaurant which is a short walk from here. My frequency eating there last spring training led to me developing good ties with the servers, yielding valuable discounts to make our $15 spring training per diem go a little farther.