For the last four years of my professional baseball career, I have had the pleasure to train in Vero Beach, Florida at Dodgertown. The Dodgers have traveled there for spring traing the last sixty years, but last year was their final trip to Dodgertown. We now make our home at the beautiful complex of Camelback Ranch, in Glendale, Arizona.
Spring training at Dodgertown was a one of a kind experience. We slept four to a room, woke up and walked fifty steps on Jackie Robinson drive to the clubhouse, and ate three meals a day in the dinning hall for the next month and a half, with our new temporary extended family. Anyone who has walked the halls through the countless pictures of Dodger legends could never deny the history that surrounds Dodgertown. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe. Hall of Famers like Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Tommy Lasorda played on the same fields that I got the opportunity to train on everyday. For that I will always be grateful, and will always think fondly of my time spent in good old Dodgertown.
For the last two weeks I have been in Glendale breaking in the brand new Camelback Ranch. The facilities the Dodgers now call home are truly first class. No expense has been spared. Every minor league field is perfect, the clubhouse is big-league quality, and all the equipment is shiny and brand new. We no longer have to share a small pink-walled, one bathroom motel room with four messy teamates. I feel sorry for all the Dodger minor leaguers who have ever had to listen to my loud snoring for over a month and a half. It was not uncommon for me to wake up to find my bed coverd with magazines, spare change and pillows from unhappy teamates praying for 20 minutes of sleep. We now stay in a modern first class hotel, with one roomate and a flatscreen.
Alright, enough of that, let’s get to the real reason you are reading this blog. You want to know what a day in the life of Javy is like. I am 6′ 1″ right-handed pitcher from Denton, Texas. I was drafted out of high school by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2004 amature draft. I feature a hard four-seam fastball, an improving change-up and a sharp slider. I spent last season coverting from a starter into a relief pitcher in San Bernardino, California for the Inland Empire Sixty-Sixers. After the season, the Dodgers gave me the opportunity to sharpen my skills at winter league. Luckily for me and a few teamates, the league happened to be in Hawaii. I spent two months playing for the Waikiki Beachboys, spending just as much time in the sand as I did on the field. I felt I pitched well, and my team won the league championship. It was an unforgetable experience. In fact, on my last off-day I did something I never thought I would do. I went sky diving with my good budy Jordan Pratt. It will always be not only one of the greatest things I’ve ever done, but definitely the dumbest. 🙂
I look forward to the upcoming 2009 season, where I hope to have a breakout year. I am hoping to start the year in Chattanooga, Tennesse with our new double A affiliate the Chattanooga Lookouts. I’ll try to keep you posted throughout the season on whatever is going on in the life and times of Javy. Feel free to leave comments and questions and I’ll do my best to answer them in the blog.
JG’s Daily Notes:
Shout-Out to a Fallen Comrade – Chad Bailey aka Beatle Bailey. We spent many summer games having fun in the bulpen coming up with new hand shakes and wearing out Willow. Beatle, I miss ya. I hope all is going well. -JG
Congrats – Congratulations to Tommy Lasorda on sixty years in the Dodgers organization.
Little know fact – I hold the Dodger minor league record for hightest single fine: $500 last spring for missing curfew before a day off.