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JoeCoolMan24

Tales from Spring Training 2012

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As some of you may know, I am in a baseball class that went to Florida for Spring training. My original subject was going to be Terry Doyle, but due to complications w/ the Twins, I was not able to get access. So instead, I interviewed former Ball State star and 1st RD pick from the Red Sox, Kolbrin Vitek.

 

Anyway, we had to make a couple entries in our class blog, so here are mine.....

 

Not many things in life are worth sitting in a car for 20 hours. Spring Training baseball, for me, is one of those things.

 

We finally made it down to Sarasota on Sunday night, and got to spend our first full day on the beach. Despite burning ourselves to a crisp, it was nice to be able to relax and enjoy a little bit of vacation. Little did we know, that would be the only day where we got to sit around and soak up the weather. From there on our it was early mornings, long days, and tired nights.

 

Tuesday was the day I was doing my story on Kolbrin Vitek, the highly touted 3B prospect for the Boston Red Sox. Vitek was a former 1st RD draft pick out of Ball State in 2010, and is currently ranked the Red Sox #8 prospect according to MLB.com. After watching Red Sox starters take fielding drills from the about 50 feet away, which was awesome, I got to help Amanda Richardson do her interview with Sox prospect Jeremy Hazelbaker. Hazelbaker is also a Ball State alum, and he was very friendly in his interview with us.

 

After an extended batting practice session, Vitek came out and gave me my interview. He was a very relaxed kid who was more than willing to help out students from his Alma mater. Shortly after the Vitek interview, my classmates and I got a chance to meet ESPN and Baseball Tonight analyst, Tim Kurkjian. Kurkjian is a very small, adorable man who knows more about baseball than one would think is humanly possible. It was really cool talking to him a little bit.

 

I look forward to going to the Pirates, Mets, and Astros in the upcoming days.

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Pirates are pretty bad at a lot of things, but helping out college students is not one of those things.

 

Visiting the Pirates was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. Sure, being among a bevy of Red Sox minor leaguers was pretty cool, but there is a difference between hanging out with guys with big numbers on their backs, and hanging out with all-star caliber major league talent. Pirates gave us on-field access, but the real attraction was the Toronto Blue Jays. We saw the Pirates take practice from the opposing dugout, but once the Jays took the field, we were able to go right up the batting cage and snap some pictures. But better than getting pictures from five feet away, a couple of players even approached and talked to us.

 

“Ball State? Get out of here with that!,” exclaimed a player who, originally unbeknownst to us, turned out to be 1B/DH and 2009 Silver Slugger award winner Adam Lind. When I asked Lind what was wrong with Ball State, he told us that he was born and raised in the Muncie area. After he said that, the wheels in our head started to turn and we got the idea that the name and numberless lefty we are talking to might be Lind indeed. After talking for five minutes or so about Muncie and Indiana and Ball State, Brett Bobb asked him what his name was. When he said who he was, we all felt a little dumb for not knowing right away. Lind was nice enough to even give us an impromptu interview before he was done warming up. He was a really cool guy.

 

But Lind wasn’t the only player to come over to us. Jays speedy OF Rajai Davis also came over and talked to us for a little bit. Davis, just like Lind, wore shades to block out the sun, but that didn’t seem to effect his hitting at all. In between spraying line drives all over the yard, Davis would come over and chat for a few minutes. We told him about our class and he said he couldn’t believe he never had the chance to take a class like this when he was in school. Even though we didn’t interact with very many Pirates players, Bradenton was definitely the highlight of our trip, at least for me.

 

I wish I had more to write about seeing the Mets, but they didn’t give me much reason to want to promote them. A miscommunication at some point in the arrangement left us all with “guest” passes that got us no further than the group of elementary school kids who were there before us. We got sanctioned in to a small area in the corner of the complex, and were not given players we planned to talk to. Our guys made the most out of the situation, and we at the very least got to watch Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey throw from up-close, but the day was kind of a wash.

 

By the time we got to Kissimmee for the Astros and Blue Jays game, I think all of us were a little worn out. Not that we didn’t look forward to a chance to get on field and see some players, but most of us didn’t seem to want to stay for the game, or at least not much of it. With a long trip home in front of us, our minds were set on getting the drive over with. The Astros, just like the Mets, didn’t give us any players we were seeking out, but again, the crew made it work. We stayed for a few innings and then hit the road.

 

I would have more to write about the drive home if I was awake for most of it. I tried to sleep as much as possible to pass the time, but a mini van isn’t the most comfortable thing to sleep in, especially when it’s jam packed with luggage. We finally got home Saturday night and went over to Kevin’s place to unwind. All in all, it was a very fun trip and one I will never forget. For a class I was told I had to take, it never felt like a job, and thats got to count for something

 

 

FYI, these were just for points, not as any part of the project we are doing w/ this. So these writings don't reflect my actual "skills" or whatever, this was just off the top of my head.

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Nice work. The irony is now if you wanted to interview Doyle, I bet you could. The Sox organization is first class about allowing interviews.

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QUOTE (southsider2k5 @ Mar 27, 2012 -> 04:38 PM)
Nice work. The irony is now if you wanted to interview Doyle, I bet you could. The Sox organization is first class about allowing interviews.

 

Well, the problem w/ that is we went to Florida, and the Sox train in Arizona.

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QUOTE (knightni @ Mar 27, 2012 -> 05:10 PM)
Hey, I remember posting to you that Lind was from Muncie.

 

http://www.soxtalk.com/forums/index.php?s=...t&p=2536099

 

Did you talk with Carroll or Bogar as well?

 

No, we didn't talk to either of those two. We only went to the teams we had access to, which were the Red Sox, Twins, Pirates, Mets (kind of), and Astros (kind of).

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If anyone is interested, I have my interview with Red Sox prospect Kolbrin Vitek up. I'll am writing a main story to go along w/ this too, but here is a small cut up of my interview with him.....

 

 

If you look through our channel, you will see other interviews with Vitek and other players from around the league.

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QUOTE (JoeCoolMan24 @ Mar 27, 2012 -> 06:20 PM)
No, we didn't talk to either of those two. We only went to the teams we had access to, which were the Red Sox, Twins, Pirates, Mets (kind of), and Astros (kind of).

Carroll is on the Twins and Bogar is a coach on the Red Sox.

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QUOTE (knightni @ Apr 25, 2012 -> 01:19 AM)
Carroll is on the Twins and Bogar is a coach on the Red Sox.

 

Oh, I didn't realize Carroll was no longer w/ the Dodgers.

 

 

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