Day 2 in Jays Camp Even Better than Day 1
The first guy I met when I arrived at the Blue Jays' complex this morning was a dude named Jude, who was there to take photos on a press credential. It turns out Jude was Michael (Pinball) Clemons high school quarterback in Dunedin and couldn't stop talking about what a great guy Pinball was as a kid. Well d-uhh!
I told him I was curious to know if, after every TD that he scored, whether Michael would wrap his arms around Jude and say "Show me some love" like he does now with every reporter who wants to interview him for a column. Jude said no.
Four years ago I met another guy down here who asked me to say hello to Pinball. This guy was in the church choir with Mike but unfortunately when I spoke to him he was totally drunk and hitting on women in an after hours place. My guess is he was no longer in the choir.
I trailed a group of pitchers out to the far diamond to watch them throw from the bullpen mounds, six of them side-by-side. It's amazing how ready to throw these guys are when they get here. Popping the gloves at the same time were Roy Halladay, B.J. Ryan (who looks about 10 lbs. lighter and 10 times happier than last year), Jesse Litsch and Brian Tallet (not popping quite as loud).
It was pretty noisy because up in a light tower overlooking the pen was a huge nest with a family of young birds squawking about having their peace and tranquility disturbed by a bunch of invasive Jays. I asked the waiter here at JJ Conch's Island Grill (yeah I'm back for the second day in a row) what kind of birds they might have been. He looked stunned at the question. I'll cut him some slack because this is a seafood place. I'm guessing egrets or some kind of hawk. Tomorrow I'll see if JJ Audobon's has wireless.
Aaron Hill was hanging around from the earliest to the latest, trying to make up for lost time that he missed from the end of May to the end of the season. As he came out of the batting cages I asked him if he's still swinging at the middle pitch of the three that he sees. He laughed. He really does seem ready to rumble.
He said that the only suggestion was that he wear one of those new mouth guards that fit over the lower teeth and absorb much of the impact that can cause concussions. I've heard them advertised or there was a feature about them being the future of hockey and baseball concussion prevention. If anyone can remember the name (one of them costs two grand) then just drop it into comments.
I asked him if he was going to ask Marco Scutaro and Johnny Mac to wear those inflatable elbow water wings that kids use in the pool. Recall it was David Eckstein's errant elbow that ended his season. Aaron laughed again and said he's already called the Padres to warn them about the danger of playing with Eck.
Jason Frasor was wandering around the clubhouse for the second day in a row looking like a horsehide Quasimodo. He suffered a neck strain during sleep between Monday and Tuesday and has been putting on a huge icepack under a tee-shirt after workouts. He doesn't play the organ and hates Notre Dame.
Cute note on the Jays' numerical roster posted in the clubhouse. Between Dawayne Murphy (41) and Cito Gaston (43) is listed 42-(retired) Jackie Robinson.
Time to order lunch and apply more sunscreen. The Conch Gumbo is delightful and so is the weather.