October 2006

Preparing for our departure


Tomorrow morning we will depart for Japan to take on the Japanese
All-Stars in a five-game All-Star Series. I am extremely excited for the
opportunity to represent Major League Baseball and the San Diego Padres
in this event.

Today I reported to Arizona to join my teammates for the
last of three workouts before we leave; I missed the first two days
because I had to attend a wedding back home. The workout was an easy
one and it was good to get back in the swing of things with baseball.
Although our season with the Padres ended only a couple weeks ago, the
time off felt like an eternity. Standing on the field with such an
unbelievable group of players brought feelings of disbelief and
amazement. I cannot believe the talent on the team and I am completely
flattered that I was chosen to participate. I have admired and
respected all the guys on the team as opponents and now I can be one of
their teammates, if only for 10 days.

Tonight we had a meeting for the traveling party at the team hotel in
Phoenix. My wife, Liz, is accompanying me on the trip and it will be
the first time to Japan for both of us. We were given a short synopsis
of Japanese culture, etiquette, traditions and other topics we might
find useful. It was a very informative and helpful meeting which
increased my excitement for the trip. I am a little anxious about the
difference in Japanese and American cultures. The Japanese are very
polite by nature and I hope that I will not do anything they might find
offensive. I am excited to experience the Japanese culture and see
firsthand their customs, traditions and overall way of life.

As for playing against the Japanese All-Stars, it should be a very
competitive and exciting series. Japanese baseball is extremely
talented, as evidenced in the success of players such as Ichiro, Hideki
, Kenji Johjima, Tadahito Iguchi, Hideo Nomo, Akinori Otsuka and
many others in MLB. They also won the World Baseball Classic last
spring, so we will have to play at the top of our game to beat them. It
will be a fun and memorable experience to pitch against their best
players, in front of their passionate fans, in their home stadiums and
cities. I cannot wait to get over there.

The only thing I am not
looking forward to is the 15-hour flight! Tall people and airplanes are
not a good match!