There’s a lot to catch up on. It was great, of course, to win the last two games in San Diego. I’ve been pretty awful at the plate, so I was really happy to make the play in the ninth on Saturday to keep the winning run from scoring. Belt ought to thank me for giving him a chance to hit the two-run homer in the 10th. Nice to have him back, by the way. Looking forward to getting Pagan back soon, too, and hopefully Scutaro, too.
Do I think the team meeting we had on Friday made a difference over the weekend? I do. As we told the media, we talked about having fun and being excited for each other. We were doing more of that earlier in the season. I’m not sure if we started taking things for granted. Of course, it’s kind of a chicken and egg thing. Are we a little flat because we’ve lost a little of our enthusiasm? Or are we not showing as much enthusiasm because there is less to be enthusiastic about?
Now to answer some of your questions and comments.
It was really cool. Braylyn loved all the dogs. I had the opportunity to walk with one of the guide dogs while wearing a blindfold. I have to tell you, it requires a lot of faith. The dogs know exactly what they’re doing — they can tell you when you’re at a curb, or if there’s something in your way, even if a tree branch is hanging low. But I didn’t know the dog’s signals so I wasn’t a very good partner. It’s crazy how fast you think you’re walking when you have a blindfold on. And I kept walking toward the left because it felt like the dog was pulling me that way even though he wasn’t. A really interesting experience.
What did I do July 4th in San Diego?
I watched fireworks with Jalynne and the girls from our hotel window.
How do I keep my composure during a no-hitter or perfect game?
It’s a lot easier during a no-hitter. You’re rooting for your pitcher just like the fans are, so you’re kind of nervous for him. If there’s a ground ball you want to make the play for him. You’d rather the scorekeeper give you an error than have it mess up a no-hitter. It’s way more nerve-wracking in perfect game. If you make an error, you’ve messed it up. In Cain’s perfect game, that’s probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in a game — more than the World Series, anything. I went in cold off the bench in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement. Arias started at shortstop that game, then moved to third when Pablo came out. Sometimes a ball can take a bad hop and hit you in the chest and suddenly you’re the guy who messed up the perfect game. I fielded one grounder and made the play.
Do players talk of a perfect game or a no-hitter in the dugout?
Sometimes it sneaks up on you. I didn’t realize Timmy had a no-hitter til the fifth or sixth inning. I remember seeing a hard hit and thinking, “They haven’t had a baserunner for a while.’’ I looked up at the scoreboard. “OK, that’s probably why. They have no hits.’’ As for not talking about in the dugout, I didn’t use the word no-hitter but I think I might have said, “Timmy has more hits than the Padres.’’
Did my dad ever coach me in Little League?
Was it beneficial?
Yes, but it didn’t always feel that way at the time. He was always hardest on me, but that probably made me better. I’d play harder because I wanted him to get off my back!
And people can say you’re a starter or you made the All-Star team because your dad’s the coach. That made me work harder to prove that wasn’t the case. My dad is not my coach any more but he still tells me stuff. Once a coach, always a coach.
Is there any sort of hierarchy for calling fly balls?
Good question. There is a hierarchy. The center fielder has priority over everybody — outfielders and infielders. Outfielders have priority over infielders. If there’s a popup between the OF and the IF, it’s an easier play for the OF. The shortstop has priority over all infielders. If the ball’s near second base and the shortstop is calling for it, he has priority. If it’s in shallow left field behind third base, and I’m calling for it, Pablo backs off. Infielders have priority over the catcher. And everybody has priority over the pitcher. A pitcher would catch a fly ball only if it’s a low pop-up that only he can reach. You don’t see it very often.
How do the players get to the ballpark?
And leaving after the game? Do you have drivers or do you drive yourself? We drive ourselves. There’s a parking lot for the players.
Thanks for reading and for leaving all the comments and questions. Looking forward to our four games against the A’s!
July 7, 2014