Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Conan Taught Us

[Ed. Note: This was supposed to appear in yesterday's post...timing issues, sorry.]

Whether or not you followed the recent drama that unfolded over the late night airwaves over the past few weeks, whether you are a fan of Conan or Leno, there is still something we can learn from the events that occurred. Despite the fact that Conan got a raw deal from NBC, he still went on to say that the seven months that he had his "dream job" were the best of his career. He tried to make the best of a bad situation, which he did (I think most of his fans can agree that he was on fire during his final weeks).

We can all learn something from the way he handled himself during an extremely tumultuous time in his career. Despite the occasional zinger at NBC's expense, Conan never felt sorry for himself, blamed anyone for what happened, he just continued to work and do the best show possible.

So what can we learn from this? Because sports can be so humbling (coaching or playing), there are always going to be situations out of our control, or situations where it may be easy to blame the umpire for calling a borderline pitch a ball or strike, or to blame a poor performance on the coach for not getting you enough reps, or to blame a player for not executing in a situation where we know they will be over matched. The point is that the only way to overcome these situations, is to look in the mirror to ask "What can I do to get better?" and to continue to work hard.

O'Brien went on to talk about how cynicism is his least favorite quality and how "nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

I think this came at the perfect time, and we can all keep this in mind as we prep for the upcoming five-week spring training when we may feel that we were slighted for gym times or we have to share a locker room, or we didn't get this or we had to do that. In the end, none of that stuff really matters and it's all about what you, what we do next...6 days!

Monday, January 25, 2010

7 More Days

One week remaining until the first practice...this is the first time I've ever looked forward to the Pro Bowl...7 days!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two Weeks Left

If we were a major league club, today would mark the start of pitchers and catchers. But since we aren't, we still have two weeks until we officially start spring training. And since February 1st is the start of spring training, last Friday's winter camp could serve as our own Cardinals Convention. While that may be a stretch, it did start to get the baseball juices flowing and will help deal with our own cabin fever...14 days!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saving the Best for Last

We'll jump in the time machine for the third and final photo gallery of the Dallas trip. We go back to our day off on Thursday for a look at The Ballpark at Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers. According to Phil, our tour guide, this park combines features from some of the historic major league parks (Tiger Stadium, Yankee Stadium) with the new trend (circa 1994) of ballparks. This was different from the tour of the Cowboys stadiums for two obvious reasons. One, this park is about 16 years old and two, we were outside for most of the tour and the temperature was in the low teens. Nevertheless, we were able to get some quality shots.

Full View of Photos

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Major League Dreams

Saturday night we made a trip to Allen, TX to have dinner with my uncle and on the way to his house we stopped in Frisco, TX to take a quick peak at the home of Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas Rangers Double-A affiliate. Dr. Pepper Ballpark offers a unique feel and has the look of an outlet mall, a Thoroughbred track and a baseball field all rolled into one. The park opened in 2003 and has seen multiple upgrades since that time and was recently voted one of the five best minor league ballparks in the country.

Full View of Photos

Friday, January 15, 2010

How 'bout them Cowboys

Here is the first of three photo galleries from our day off in Dallas. The first gallery is of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Coming up next: Dr. Pepper Ballpark, Frisco, TX

Full View of Photos

Monday, January 11, 2010

Return from the Convention

The coaching staff returned from the annual ABCA Convention Sunday night with a lot of new ideas for practice. This year's convention, which was held in the arctic region of Dallas, Texas, featured 2009 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year Paul Maniri (LSU), John Cohen (Mississippi State), Scott Striklin (Kent State) and some pitcher named Nolan (whoever that is). These three men, along with many, many others gave presentations over the four-day event.

The winter weather was our fourth passenger on the 15 hour ride from Naperville to Dallas and decided to spend the weekend with us. The high temperature for the entire weekend was in the 20's. But it was a constant 72 degrees inside the Hilton Anatole banquet room where some of the game's best coaches gave speeches and demonstrations on everything from hitting and pitching to the mental game of baseball.

My personal favorite was Mississippi State Head Coach John Cohen's presentation on "Wall Ball". This dealt with incorporating a wall or a pitch-back (there is always a plug for a new product) into your team's infield routine to get more repetitions but more importantly the ability for players to work by themselves when the coaches aren't allowed to work with the players. Some of the drills and concepts will be implemented into our daily routine in the new Res/Rec Center which opened officially this morning (tons of pics to come).

There was some time for some fun and we took advantage of it. Stay tuned for some pics from our tour of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and The Ballpark at Arlington. Speaking of practice it is now three weeks until the start of day 1...21 days and counting!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Real Countdown Begins

Now that 2010 is on the calendar and we are past the countdown of the ball in Times Square, we can begin looking ahead to a countdown of another sort...the countdown to the start of spring training. It is now officially four weeks to the first day of practice on February 1st...28 days and counting! More to come...