Hi guys its been awhile since my last entry and I apologize to all of you. Currently the Tigres are two games out of first place. This league is very tough and everyone beats up on each other. At one point this season we won nine games in a row and didn’t seem to gain any ground in the standings. Then we follow that streak up with a six game losing streak and somehow stay within the top four teams. The key for us in December is to stay positive and get as many wins we can so that we can lock up a spot for the playoffs. The playoffs are a round robin style format with five of the eight teams in the league qualifying. They also have a four round draft for the qualifying teams to choose players from the non qualifying teams. If last nights close game against Magallanes is anything like a playoff atmosphere I’m really excited for the playoffs. I can not explain how passionate the fans and players are for this game. We ended up losing 3-2. It was a great game and came down to the bottom of the 9th, but we just ran out of outs.
I have been wanting to post new videos and pictures, but my phones camera has stopped working. Also the internet at the hotel has been sketchy. I’ll try to get the videos and photos up when I head back to the US this weekend for a friends wedding. I’ll be back in Venezuela on Tuesday.
A bunch of our teammates recently got signed. Wifredo Ledezma signed with the Dodgers, Luis Hernandez and Yangervis Solarte both signed with the Rangers, Darin Downs with the Tigers, Vinnie Rottino the Mets, and Victor Moreno with a team in Mexico. And finally Lastings Milledge has signed with the Japanese Professional baseball league with the Tokyo Swallows.
This past week in Aragua was a huge music festival. Everyday during the week there was a concert that went on all day and night. Some of the artists that were in attendance were Wisin y Yandel, Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Enrique Iglesias. The concert took place at the soccer stadium directly next to our field. The traffic to and from the field was no bueno.
Game tonight in Caracas against the Leones. Ariba Los Tigres!
Last night prior to my start in Tainan against the Lions (sorry had the Elephants before made the correction now), I’m about to warm up on the field and noticed something is wrong with one of my cleats. I look down and see that my metal spikes are about to come off. For those of you who don’t know many Asian type cleats are interchangeable and have screws and metal plates with the cleats on them. My cleat was missing two screws and the metal frame was dangling. I guess I didn’t realize after each start you should tighten up the screws because they can come loose. This all happened 20 minutes before the game. I scrambled around the locker room looking for someone who one had the special tool to unscrew them or some extra screws. Luckily, our equipment manager Ashton found the tool. Unfortunately, that was all that he found. I had to now remove the middle cleat plate from both shoes to be worn evenly. This was extremely awkward at first when I started to jog and get loose, but I guess it could have been worse.
The game wasn’t one of my better games. We lost 4-3 and I threw 5.1 innings. I left the game tied at 2. The most amazing part of the game was the rain delay. As typhoon type rain came down in the top of the 8th inning, the field crew runs on the field and covers the mound and home plate. I then noticed them putting 10 x 10 foot tarps over each base individually. I turn to Steve Hammond and ask where is the big tarp to cover everything. He replies you are looking at them. I only wish I was able to get video or pictures of the amount of rain that came down and was sitting on the field. I honestly would have bet $100 that there was no chance we could play especially after an hour of non stop rain and with the baselines, second base, short stop, and third base completely exposed. After the rain stopped about 30 kids ran onto the field with sponges and soaked up the field. I laughed a bit seeing these guys with small sponges trying to work, because there was so much water. I have to give it to them though, they worked very hard and somehow we got the rest of the game in.
Notes from the week
– Reminder you can not hit a batter who has hit a homerun in that game. If you do you are ejected. That happen to one of our guys last week. Worst part was it was on a bad slider in which he lost control of it. But rules are rules I guess.
– If you hit a batter in the head you are ejected. This happened last night with our pitcher. I believe the hitter is doing fine and sustained no serious injuries.
– With all of these pitcher ejections, I don’t think you have to leave the dugout or get fined.
– The All-Star game is this weekend in Kaohsiung. The entire team is based on fan votes. There is some starter going with a 5.50 ERA and a losing record. But must be a fan favorite.
– A lot of friends have asked me about some of the equipment out here. The best place to get custom gloves, arm guards, and leg guards is http://www.taiwanbaseball.com.tw/ Ask for my friend Derick. They are extremely professional and the workmanship of the gloves is the best. You can pretty much customize any part of the glove. They ship worldwide.
Thanks for reading and sharing my blog. Thank you to my USA followers and new Taiwanese followers. I hope that I am still keeping you entertained and ask that you please leave comments, questions, or suggestions. I love reading your feedback.
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Almost 2 weeks in Mexico and I have already have eaten more tacos than I could ever imagine, but better than that is that I have thrown 9 times as many innings as I did in the Dominican Republic. Also within my time in Mexico the Tigers and I have come to agreements for next season. Detroit thank you for another opportunity.
I have started two games down here to help the Augilas make a playoff push. Both outings started extremely well going for the first 3-4 innings. In both games I seemed to hit a wall in my last inning giving up a couple runs. I think it could be a mix of rustiness and stamina. No excuses though. I need to finish each inning strong as it could always be my last.
This was my first road trip with the team. We had the option of taking a bus 13 hours to Navojoa, Sonora Mexico or flying. To the norm you would think to take the flight, but the flight left at 1am and had two layovers. The guys who flew ended up arriving at the hotel at the same time as the bus. The hotel was a best western type outside motel. Nothing too glamorous, but it did its job for the handful of hours we are in the room. Rule #14 in the hotel handbook was not to drink the water. I figured a hotel with Wi-Fi would have safe drinking water from the faucet. Guessed wrong.
Unlike the US, over here we head over to the field fairly late. The bus rolls out of the hotel around 5:15 for a 7:30 “juego”. We get dressed in our hotel room and head over to the field in uniform like a high school team. The field in Navojoa had an overall good to fair stadium feel. The field was maintained well as were the grandstands. There were only about a couple hundred fans at each game. It was in the 50’s at night while we were there to give them a little slack. The stadium can hold about 6000-9000. The food in the stadium consists of tacos and nachos, of course. There was no “real” locker room. Although the bathroom looked very upgraded by having tile. Not sure who was the genius to put tile in a baseball locker room. Knock, knock baseball players where metal cleats. That’s a liability suit waiting to happen. Everyone kept their bags in the dugout, which made for a tricky way to make it to the field. There was a land-mine of bags everywhere. We took two out of three in the series against them. They are currently in last place and it would have been nice to have swept them.
There has been a wealth of knowledge around the ballpark. Fernando Valenzuela is a character. Picking his brain in my small time here has been priceless. Although I haven’t been taught the screwball yet. Our other pitching coach is Ruben Niebla. He was in the big leagues coaching with the Cleveland Indians last year. His knowledge and energy for the game is amazing. I have been trying to get any competitive advantage I can get by learning from these minds of the game.
We are currently on the bus headed to Hermosillo. They are in first place and this is a very important series for us going forward. We have a day off today (Xmas eve) and play a three game series with a double-header on Sunday. Happy Holidays to all! Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable Christmas.
Special thank you to Jason Beck for writing a great article. You can see it here http://tinyurl.com/28udjye
Shoe of the Day: Adidas Jeremy Scott 3 Lo tongue
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