Season one is now officially in the books. I’m back in Grand Rapids, and I’m ready for the offseason. It was an incredible first season. I learned a lot, met a lot of awesome people, and went to some cool places I’d never been before, but it’s good to be home.
I spent the past four weeks at the spring training facility in Peoria, AZ, for our instructional league. There were around 70 minor leaguers whom player development deemed “guys that are a big piece of the organization’s future” getting a lot of extra reps and one-on-one work with the minor league staff and instructors. Pretty much everyone there had a few things they were working on to improve. My areas of improvement were gloveside fastball command (in on righties, away from lefties), changeup command, and delivery tweaks like the overall tempo of my delivery, timing of my hands breaking, and consistent foot plant. I threw several bullpens and got several live appearances, capped off with a one-inning outing at Petco Park in San Diego.
We spent the last three days of instructs in San Diego. It was awesome. San Diego is the most beautiful city I’ve been to so far. It’s like a bigger Grand Rapids placed on the ocean. The Gaslamp Quarter, the entertainment area downtown where Petco Park is located, is really fun and lively even during the week. I wish I would’ve had more time to explore the city. Maybe when I get the majors.
We spent the first day primarily at the field. We had two games against the Rangers in the morning/early afternoon. I pitched in the second game that day. That evening we had a team dinner on the rooftop of the Western Metal Supply Co. building, the brick building in left field of Petco Park.
The next morning we split into different groups for a couple hours of volunteering/community involvement. Some guys went to spend time with kids at the local children’s hospital and an elementary school while the group I was in went to Naval Base Coronado on Coronado Island, where the Navy SEALs and SWCC train. We took a tour of the base, led by one of the former SEAL Team 3 commanders. It was a fun experience.
That evening we had the Padres Futures Game, a chance for fans to see top prospects play together for the first time. We opened up Petco Park to the public and played the Rangers in front of around 10,000 fans. The atmosphere was very fun and exciting, and we won 5-1.
Later that night I met up with a fellow Sparta High School alum, Caleb Singleton, who is one of the VIP Hosts at Parq Restaurant and Nightclub, the top nightclub in San Diego. It was fun catching up with another small-town kid all the way across the country, and I got a little taste of the San Diego night life.
Fast forward to today, Friday, October 21. I’ve been home for ten days now. All I’ve really done so far is golf — 108 holes to be exact — and hang out around the house and at Cornerstone. I resume working out on Monday and will begin throwing again in two more weeks. It’s been really nice relaxing and doing pretty much nothing for the last few days, but I look forward to getting after it in preparation for spring training.