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One week to go: Minor league thoughts - Tony Davis

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Well, I have exactly a week left before spring training and, Iím sure just like many of my teammates, there are plenty of things on my mind.

The Emotions

At one end of the spectrum, spring training brings about feelings of excitement and readiness that I cant really put into words. Weíve all quietly prepared ourselves. We know what we need to do. We canít get moved up levels while were at home in the off-season. This is what its all about. Itís go time.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, we are once again leaving our loved ones and the entire routine weíve spent the last 5-6 months living. Itís part of being a ball player, but that doesnít mean itís an easy transition. My fiancť and family are my biggest support system and doing things without them around takes some getting used to every year.

The ďBehind the ScenesĒ

Iím sure every player in the system has people behind the scenes who help them prepare for the season year. That person for me this off-season was Walker Searcy. He played four years of INF at Piedmont College in Northern GA from 2002-2006. He was basically a one-man wrecking crew for me, and he pushed me in many areas. Weíd rotate lifting, and swimming, and would throw and run just about everyday. Then on my bullpen days, Walker would strap the gear on and catch me. He showed up everyday with a passion for the game much like my own. Itís the people like this in our lives who are behind the scenes but really help us get ready for spring training and the season.

The Down Time

Spring training consists of NO days off. I believe this year will be about 25 days or so of straight spring training. Going from your own workout schedule, to spending way more time around way more people at the field is draining. Naps are a must. But itís always funny to see guys stroll down to dinner in the hotel who look like theyíve been asleep for days. I know a lot of us play cards (poker) in the evening. Itís something thatís relaxing, yet competitive, and passes the time. A lot of guys also utilize the hot tub down by the pool. About 9 out of 10 times I go down their I am provided with a free show of Kennys Vargas (and some of his buddies) dancing to their Latino musica. That guy is hilarious. To my Latino amigos, Iím not Tony Davis, but rather Tomy Dabie.

Towards the end of the month, guys start getting released (or in real world terms, fired). Itís a part of the game, but it always sucks. Many of those guys are buddies, and it makes you feel sick to your stomach. What do you say to a guy thatís just been let go? Some guys are able to catch on with other teams, but for some others this day marks the end of their baseball careers. Days like that make you thankful you still have a jersey on, but also make you realize your job is never really safe.

The odds

Iím not sure the exact odds of a player in the minor leagues making it to the big leagues, but I acknowledge they are small. Trying to pursue this dream comes with a completely blank sheet of paper of what our lives will look like 5-10 years from now. Will we be big leaguers? Will we be minor league journeymen still chasing this crazy dream? Or will we have hung it up and are now playing beer league softball and working a 9 to 5? Who knows. And honestly, who cares. I donít think any of us would trade it for the world.

Spring training is filled with a bunch of talented, unique ball players who are hard nosed, stubborn at times, and some of the most determined individuals youíll ever meet. Are all of us in minor league camp gonna make it to the big leagues? Of course not. Do we all individually think that WE are going to make it? Absolutely. Most of these guys would rather sleep on air mattresses, take 10 hour bus rides, and eat cheap food then take no for an answer. As the great Tony LaRussa said, ďId rather ride the buses in triple A than be a lawyer.Ē

The Women behind it All

Thatís all I have for now, but I am going to leave you with some humor. I want to share a list that my fiancť, Brittany, gave me before I went to spring training last year. She is beautiful, brilliant, and knows this game very well. She is my rock, and with her permission, I share some of her words of wisdom from last year:

2011 How To Guide: to shoving it up their A**es, while not being a prospect..

1. First pitch strikes
2. Throw curveball for strikes
3. Change upÖfor strikes
4. Slow the game down (your in charge!)
5. Bring the heat
6. Put people away
8. Prove Ďem wrong and shove it up their A**es!!!!
Smart girl, I know! Öthanks for reading. Donít forgot to follow me on twitter as well at @_TonyDavis_
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Updated 02-28-2012 at 08:11 AM by Seth Stohs

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