Day 1: So completely pumped I couldn't sleep last night. Checked the clock every ten minutes the whole night - is it time yet? Is it time? You'd be excited too if you had my job. This team has serious, I mean serious, dinger potential. Morneau's healthy. Willingham's a bomber. Plouffe's gonna hit some. Doumit's gonna hit some. Parmelee's gonna hit some. Heck, even Joe Mauer's going to be leaving the yard when I'm done working with him. This is gonna be just like '87. Man, we hit some dingers that year.
Day 2: So completely pumped. Need to find a different way to reach some of these guys, though. I saw Morneau in the clubhouse chowing down on some chicken, and I was like, forget that stuff. I told him we were gonna bomb some pasta, get a quick lift in, then go out and just rip the cover off the ball. Turns out the guy's got a "gluten sensitivity." I told him I knew a waitress over in Orlando that could rub that right out of him. (I found out later that "gluten" has nothing to do with your butt muscles. Well, excuse me, Mr. Sensitive.)
Day 10: Big crowd for BP here in Fort Myers. I pulled the old corked bat out of the bag and gave it to Mauer, told him to put on a show. He just looked at me all confused, and said, "Why?" I guess times are different. Still pumped though.
Day 22: Found Parmelee on Field 3 stretching, when I thought he was working off the tee, learning to get some backspin on the ball. (The backspin turns fly balls into dingers.) He told me the stretching keeps him loose and ready to run. I said, "Does a thoroughbred stretch before it runs?" That's one of Herbie's. Parmelee didn't get it.
Day 37: TK keeps telling me the game has changed, that the players are different now. He says everybody's in better shape, but I don't see it. I used to smoke unfiltered cigs in the dugout bathroom and I hit 20 bombs eight seasons in a row. Doumit was doing yoga before the game (I think; I'm still not sure what yoga is) and he's hit like eleven homers in his career.
Day 40: Tried calling Herbie for some support today but he was busy. Gaetti doesn't answer my calls, not after that incident with the sour cream. Kirby's in that big ballpark in the sky. I'm pretty sure Don Baylor doesn't own a phone.
Day 46: Forget all that. So pumped again. Season starts today and I can tell everybody's locked in. I remember this from when I played; everybody screwed around in the spring, worked on some stuff, worked on all of that keeping your hands back and stuff like that, but come Opening Day the light goes on and the ball starts flying out of the yard. Here we go.
Day 49: Must just be cold.
Day 53: Must just be snowy.
Day 60: Must just be slow starters.
Day 67: Must be locked in a hellish alternate dinger-less dimension from which there is no escape.
Day 71: Can't think like that, Bruno. Gotta power through... oh, who am I kidding.
Day 82. Status report. Not at all pumped.
I don't get this team. We have 26 homers. Nobody has more than five. If I'd hit only five home runs by mid-May I'm pretty sure Dan Gladden would have showed up at my house with a sack full of doorknobs.
If I can find Danny and get that sack, I might pay Joe Vavra some kind of visit. Most of this team is taking pitches and going to the opposite field and all that crap. I keep telling my guys, look at that fence; it doesn't get any closer than at the foul pole. Aim for that, brother. Not everything has to be some opposite-field shot off a changeup that's down. Maybe just rip a fastball down the line, is what I mean. All that matters is that it goes over the wall.
I'd quit right now, I swear I would. But there's one thing that keeps me coming back. One guy out there who's ready to rip a few baseballs into the seats. That Arcia; he's my guy. I told him the other day, buddy, I'm just here to help you lando el baseball in the el cheapos.
He doesn't really understand me, but he smiles. And he swings hard. I can work with that.