June 29, 2002
Well, here we go again. This marks the third summer in a row that I have been fortunate enough to represent my country simply by playing baseball (as a member of the Junior National Team in 2000 and with the National Team last summer). It's certainly an honor to wear the letters U-S-A on your jersey. I can't explain in words how exciting it is when the crowd gets behind you, chanting "USA, USA". It reminds me of watching the Olympics when I was younger. This summer, I will be traveling several places across the United States and overseas, and I will be updating everyone just to give an idea of what it's like to play for Team USA.
Let's start from the beginning. Most of the guys attending the trials arrive in Tucson, Ariz., on Wednesday, June 19, and began an exhilarating workout that lasted for five days. It was a similar to two-a-days in football. We woke up early in the morning only to get as much grub as possible before we started our long days. We made it to the field and would practice from 9 a.m. to noon, only stopping for intermittent water breaks throughout. After that, the ever-so-important fuel (food) was provided in the clubhouse which everyone enjoyed and couldn't get enough of. Usually after lunch would be a short nap only to wake and come back to the field for BP, infield and scrimmage games at night that lasted from 5-10 p.m. After the five long days of workouts, 22 guys were selected to have an incredible summer of playing the game they love.
Even though there had been rigorous workouts lasting nearly the entire five days, there was no time off before the real games began. The Santa Barbara Foresters came to Tucson for a quick, two-game series before we headed to the East Coast to play Japan in a five-game series. The games against the Foresters served as a tune-up for the hitters, and they also allowed for some pitchers to get some quality work in before international play began. We came out with two victories over the Foresters and learned a little bit about our team in the process. With a group of guys thrown together in such a short amount of time, you have to get a feel for the other guys around you if going to be successful. Everyone here is team oriented and that makes it easy for us to play well together. We, at least it's been so far, so good.
Now it's time to travel - lugging bags all over airports, hotels and clubhouses, never having a place you can truly call home for over 50 days, and having delays in airports and six to seven-hour bus trips. Actually, right now, we are somewhere between Aberdeen, Md., and Bridgeport, Conn. We defeated the Japanese 6-1 last night in our opening game, and Brad Sullivan threw a gem. Many of you remember him from earlier in this year (Sullivan pitches for the University of Houston where he earned All-America honors and Conference USA Pitcher of the Year honors).
Well, I'm going to leave ya'll with that for now. I will continue to keep updates on how Team USA is doing as the summer goes on. Thanks for checking in and Roll Wave.