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And So It Begins....

The first week here (in Ft. Myers) has been a wild ride. From the plane ride, where I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to John Cena, WWE Wrestler, to having our first game today. The check-in day is always fun as you get to see your teammates and get to meet some of the new guys or players you haven't played with before. That day usually goes smooth and then the season starts the next day. As A.J. Pettersen pointed out in one of his posts, that day includes a lot of lines and being poked and prodded.

Attached Image: ORourke2.jpg After being given a clean bill of health we are able to hit the field and get some running tests done. Having long legs usually helps with these, and it is fun to see some guys putting up some good times. After the running day, the real practice starts the next day, and we get into groups and participate in drills.

It is funny to think that we are doing the same drills as every other player in the world. Baseball is a game rich in tradition and has a very strong foundation. The Twins pride themselves on fundamentals and playing the game the right way. There is no better way to learn both of those than repetition after repetition. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

The practices are great and for a Massachusetts kid like myself playing in the Florida sun in March is something I never imagined, especially when it snowed about 10 inches on March 1st. That is something that many of the coaches say that sometimes gets lost because we hear it so much, but it is true. I am grateful everyday to throw on the jersey and some spikes and play the game.

After a few days of throwing live batting practice to the hitters and scrimmaging against ourselves, we finally got to face a different jersey. The Red Sox came into town (even though they are also located in Ft. Myers) and my group played against them. This was the first time since September that I have played against another team. Genetically, I believe there is something ingrained in our code that brings out the competitive spirit. There is just something different about playing another team, guys you do not know personally, guys who are trying to hit the ball as hard as they can at you.

The game went well and my team played great. Everyone was pulling for one another which is another cool thing about the game of baseball. Although it is a team sport much of the game relies on individuals doing their job to help the team. Although a guy may not have had a hit (individual fail), he may have made three great plays in the field that may have saved a run or two. That is when the team aspect kicks in and it was real cool to see that today in our first game of the year.

Spring Training has just started, but it is rolling along and the real season is right around the corner. Jobs are out there and it is going to be a grind to secure a spot on any team.

For now the hotel dinner is calling....

Signing off,
Ryan O'Rourke


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