Rising Stars

Hey guys, I’m back from my little hiatus. I’m sorry I left you guys hanging but between playing games and and trying to equally divide my spare time between my girlfriend, family, and agents, things got a little hectic and my blogging kind of took a back seat to all those people. Unfortunately, they have all left me alone and although I will miss them dearly until I get to go home, I’m back to blogging. 

So anyways, the past couple weeks for the Mesa Solar Sox have been, for lack of a better phrase, hit or miss. We either absolutely crush a team, or we get absolutely crushed. I can’t remember the last time I played in a close game or in a game that scored less then 10 total runs. Not only does this inconsistent play keep us guessing which team is going to show up, its also the unfortunate recipe for lonnnng, boring baseball. Having a team lead by 10-12 runs in the 5th inning not only makes for a 3-4 hour game, but also sucks the life out of the atmosphere and just isn’t the ideal baseball game scenario. So hopefully every team starts figuring out how to keeps game close and exciting. 
On a lighter note, I was selected to participate in the AFL Rising Stars game, which is really exciting because not only is it an honor to play in this game, it is going to be televised on MLB network. The only thing I want to do is go deep in a nationally televised game with all my friends and family watching back home. That would be unreal. Haha, so hopefully I’ll see a bunch of you guys out there and complete my task. 
Until next time…

Sorry about the length, lots to share.

Hey guys, sorry about the delay in between posts but since the guys and I moved into our house in Scottsdale, the internet has been anything but reliable. We would have like a 30 minute window of solid connection to check our Facebooks and as many of you know, 30 minutes isn’t enough time to check your newsfeed let alone write a blog entry. 

But were back on and I’ve got a bunch of things from our first few games to share with you all. 
First off, If you didn’t get out to the ballpark for todays matinee you missed a long one, but well worth the 3 1/2 hours of Arizona sun that you would have marinated in. I had the game off so my big butt was pretty sore from sitting on the bench all day. Anyway, we were playing Surprise and went up by 2 runs early in the game, we ended up giving up a 5 spot in the following inning and the score pretty much stayed that way until the bottom of the 8th. With the help of some timely hitting and an error on a groundball we put up 3 runs and tied the game. The score remained tied until the 11th when Surprised took advantage of a miscue in our infield and took the lead 7-5. What seemed like the end of the game turned out to be far from it, as we loaded the bases with 2 outs and got the AFL’s most dangerous hitter up to the plate, Brandon Wood. It didn’t take long for all of us to go from sitting on the bench to the top step of the dugout to watch Woody hit like we were 5 year olds. I know I was excited and I had a feeling like there is no way this guy doesn’t get this done for us. Low and behold Woody is down to his last strike and Surprise’ pitcher makes a big mistake, throwing Brandon a fastball that got too much of the plate and Woody made him pay. Driving the ball hard over the center fielders head and scoring all three runs to give us the win. We all jumped the dugout fence to mob Woody at second base and celebrate our walkoff win. 
Unfortunately, I had nothing to do with that win, but I did have a solid start to my AFL season in my first games behind the plate. I opened up the season catching against Phoenix and surprising I didn’t make a fool out of myself at the plate. Catching is usually the easy part so I wasn’t too worried about that aspect of my game. I was worried though, that my timing off these flame throwing pitchers would be completely off. Much to my surprise, it only took me 2 at bats to get my first hit, a line drive to center in an 0-2 count. I for sure thought it was going to take me at least 15 ab’s to get myself a batting average, let alone get a hit in an 0-2 count. Later on in the game I definitely felt the wrath of a 4 month layoff as I struck out twice swinging at fastball that was blown by me and a hanging slider that I usually crush, but I’ll just chalk those ab’s up to not seeing this type of pitching in quite a while, ( that excuse helps me sleep at night). 
In my second game, I was catching at Surprise and actually got 3 hits in my first 3 at bats, although one of those hits was a pretty generous decision by the score keeper, but I’ll take as many of those infield hits as I can get! I used my speed and put it in 6th gear down the first base line to beat out a close play. 
In what was another miserably hot day in Arizona, we decided to play ourselves a 4 hour game, but this was mainly our fault as we put up a 9 spot in the 5th inning. Our hitters just wouldn’t miss anything then threw at us, it got to the point where we were like, okay we think we have enough runs to hold onto the win someone hit the ball at somebody, but nobody wanted to get out. 
Hopefully we can use that hitting in bunches one day if were down late in a game, but until then, lets at least save the 9 run innings for night games. We obviously ended up winning the game and are currently sitting with a 3-1 record. The team is really meshing like we’ve been playing together for a while. We’re pulling for one another and even giving each other a hard time like true teammates, its a fun clubhouse. 
But I’ll stop rambling now, I’m sure you all have had enough. Tomorrow I’m back behind the dish in my first game at home, and also my first night game, so pumped. 
I’ll let you know how it goes…

Big Bats, Big Arms.

Tony Sanchez here for my first attempt at a blog. Obviously, I have zero blogging experience but I’m excited to have the chance to share my Arizona Fall League experiences with the hand full of readers I may get. I will be playing for the Mesa Solar Sox along with my teammates from the Pirates Justin Wilson, Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, Brian Leach, Aaron Pribanic and Andrew Lambo. All of us are really pumped to be here and showcase our skills against some of the best players in the minors. 

Its been almost four months since I’ve played in a game with any meaning and let me tell you, four months feels like four years. Taking a 95 mph heater to the jaw is not very pleasing and having to spoon feed myself blended Chef Boyardee isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy. Funny story though, the pitcher from the Mets who is guilty for throwing that fastball happens to be on my AFL team, so I thought that was quite the coincidence. Needless to say, he feels awful and was very apologetic once he realized I was the guy whose face he destroyed. But everything happens for a reason and if he doesn’t hit me with that pitch, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. So that’s one way to look at it. 
My first looks at our team were this week as we practiced for the few days we’ve been here before games start. We definitely have a bunch of talent on our team and I’m sure every other team does as well. Our staff is full of guys with power fastballs and wipe out sliders, not any arms on this team throwing anything less then low 90’s, which is always impressive. What’s going to make my job easier behind the plate is that all these pitchers have a lot of confidence in their stuff and they’re not going to be afraid to throw any pitch in any situation, with conviction. 
The hitters have been just as impressive. Taking batting practice with these guys reminds me of my time at big league camp earlier this year. A lot of guys driving the ball into the gaps and sending pearls over the fence with ease. We have a lot of big bats with some big time juice and some quick hands. Its going to be fun watching some of these guys hit throughout the fall league. 
Our first game is tomorrow and I’m really excited to get back there and step back into the box with a chance to drive some runs in. If anyone happens to be at the game, I’ll be the hitter with the sweet jaw protector attached to my helmet, looking like I’m in little league. Don’t be afraid to wish me luck, cause I’m going to need it. Hopefully the next time I post I’ll have a couple home-runs in the stats column to talk about. 
Until next time…
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