Well, the first half is done, and now we’re getting to the part where the men separate themselves from the boys. I had a great time at the All-Star Game and I’m happy everyone saw a great game with good pitching and timely hitting. We got to see the best closer ever, Mariano Rivera. He has broken my bat before and probably hundreds of others during his career. It was so amazing to see him go out like that in person. I actually shed a couple of tears.
One of the things I love about this game is that even though we all know Rivera is the best ever, he’s still been beaten and walked off on. That’s why this game is so special; you never know what’s going to happen. I’m glad that something positive came out of the game and the couple of days.
Congrats to Yoenis Cespedes on the Home Run Derby win. And Bryce Harper, wow, that young man has some talent. I wish all the news was positive, but the Ryan Braun news came out, and I fear there will be more. Cheating now with the rules that are in place is just goofy. I think Bud has his hands full, but he will do what’s best for the game. I have no doubt about that.
Looking forward to the second half, I see it as a wide open race. Both Detroit and Texas look good, and the addition of Matt Garza will help the Rangers. In the National League, the Cardinals look like the class of the league, but the playoffs are a different world. Pitching and defense win, every time.
Finally! The Marlins have come back to Miami! Just like The Rock says (haha). It has been busy, busy, busy — so I haven’t been able to blog as much as I like, but we are ready to get this party started. The stadium looks nicer and nicer every time we get in there because they are still adding the finishing touches. It seems as though it’s going to be a loud place to play, and that’s awesome. Hopefully it provides a home field advantage for us.
We played the Yankees yesterday and again today. All I have to say is: Wow, we scored two runs off of Mariano Rivera, and that never happens. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come. Some of our key guys got hits like Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison (LoMo). If those guys stay healthy like we need them to, we should be alright.
The champion St. Louis Cardinals come into town on Wednesday for the opener, and then we hit the road right away for Cincinnati and Philadelphia. It would be nice if we are able to set the tone early. I love the energy from our guys so far. Maybe the energy comes from us being a young team, but they have been fun to watch so far.
We are so close to what we have all been working towards: OPENING DAY! No other sport does Opening Day like baseball does, and it shows. It’s always a special day for me; I’m very happy that this is going to be my 27th Opening Day. I consider myself very blessed to have been around for that long and to be given this opportunity with the Marlins. Now let’s kick some ass!
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What’s up, everyone! I’m back in Chicago and, wow, it’s cold here. This weekend, I am in town for the Easter Seals Holiday Gala. If you don’t know too much about Easter Seals, please look them up. They are a great organization, and I love working with them. The things they do for kids with disabilities are truly great.
I have seen some great questions coming in over the past week on here, Facebook and Twitter, and I’m trying to get around to answering as many as I can. One specific question that did catch my eye — someone wanted to know if I could pick all players, what my “All-Ozzie” team would be. Here you go …
* Ivan Rodriguez, C
* Rafael Palmeiro, 1B
* Roberto Alomar, 2B
* Mike Schmidt, 3B
* Ozzie Smith, SS
* Barry Bonds, LF
* Ken Griffey Jr., CF
* Roberto Clemente, RF
* Edgar Martinez, DH
* John Smoltz, SP
* Scott Radinsky, LHR
* Dennis Eckersley, RHR
* Mariano Rivera, CL
On to the questions …
Q: What is the hardest thing to adjust to as a Latin player coming to play affiliated baseball in the States?
A: The language is the hardest thing to adjust to, no question. It’s also very hard to adjust to the life and culture here in America. Also, the rules can be difficult because some things that are legal in other countries aren’t legal here.
Q: Who provides the best pre- and post-game food outside of Chicago?
A: Hands down, the best food is when we’re at Yankee Stadium. I also like Tampa and Cleveland, too.
Q: Do you see MLB expanding to Mexico or Puerto Rico in the next 5-10 years?
A: I don’t see that happening. There are too many things to worry about — security, travel, fan support. I mean, I hope it happens, but too many things would need to go right for that to be possible.
Q: Who is the funniest player you have ever coached or met?
A: The funniest players, for me, were Jose Contreras, Kevin Millar and Robin Ventura. Those guys are funny without a doubt.
Q: What’s your favorite hobby outside of baseball? Do you play a musical instrument?
A: Outside of baseball, I like golf, boating and bullfighting. I wish I could play percussions for Latin Music!
Please keep all the great questions coming. I enjoy reading and responding to them!
Until next time …