March 2011

Hello, Old Friends

Welcome back to my blog and my first post of the 2011 Oakland A’s baseball season. It sure has been a while! This time of year is one of the most special in the cycle of the Major League Baseball calendar: Spring Training when the future looks bright. Hey, at this point in the season, anything and everything is possible! 

Matsui at Spring TrainingBut back to Spring Training. I started this blog one year ago during my very first Cactus League experience. I loved interviewing the players and learning the ins and outs of Phoenix and Scottsdale. This year was no different, but yet better… There was an unmistakable buzz in the air, a feeling of hope and confidence. After talking to the players and hearing their excitement, I fully believe that 2011 is the year for the green and gold.

Here’s my collection of player photographs taken last week (February 21 – 25, 2011) while I and the rest of the Diamond Vision crew interviewed them at Spring Training. Enjoy!

Balfour 

Grant Balfour, #50
Right Handed Pitcher

If you get a chance, definitely chat with Grant so you can hear his fabulous Australian accent. Just hope he doesn’t drop any profanity on you! But despite his rep on the mound, this guy is polite and friendly. Did I mention that accent?

Suzuki at Spring TrainingKurt Suzuki, #8
Catcher

Kurt made a lot of changes this off-season. He lost the puka shells, grew a beard (or scruff, I should say) and made a baby! His wife, Renee, will deliver their baby girl sometime this Spring. Congrats, Kurt!

Kouzmanoff at Spring Training
Kevin Kouzmanoff, #5
Third Base

It’s always a delight to spend time with Kevin. He’s low-key, thoughtful and not afraid to reveal his off-the-field persona. The hardest sport he has ever tried? Diving. That’s right, Kouz splashed around in a speedo! 

Coco Crisp at Spring Training

Coco Crisp, #4
Center Field

Coco was so not in the mood to spend 20 minutes with the Diamond Vision crew. It was the end of the day and he was exhausted. But as soon as this guy stepped in front of the camera, a switch was flipped and Coco the performer emerged. We have never laughed so hard or had our jaws drop so many times… Unfortunately, the subject matter is off-limits and not exactly, shall we say, family friendly. Oh Coco…

Cahill at Spring Training

Trevor Cahill, #53
Right Handed Pitcher

Trevor is always shy, sweet and professional. Hard to believe he was competing for the fifth starter spot at 2010′s Spring Training! I think it’s safe to say he’s a shoo-in this year! 

David DeJesus at Spring Training

David DeJesus, #12
Right Field

David is a loyal guy, having spent his entire career with the Kansas City Royals. But during our interview, he was quick to praise the A’s chemistry and easy-going-attitudes in the clubhouse, remarking that he’s never experienced that before. Oh yeah, that and a winning season.

Ziegler at Spring Training

Brad Ziegler, #31
Right Handed Pitcher

Brad is the consummate professional: always courteous, cooperative and friendly. He’s also really bright and has a lot of interesting passions outside of baseball. After starting his Pastimes for Patriots foundation last year, he visited the troops in the Middle East this off-season. But I’m pretty sure he didn’t visit a submarine…he just throws them! 

Willingham at Spring Training

Josh Willingham, #16
Left Field

Josh is a true ‘Bama boy, as in an Alabama boy! He lives there in the off-season with his wife and two young sons, Ryder and Rhett. When this guy is not playing baseball, he says you can find him huntin’ and fishin.’ Welcome to the team, Josh!

Fuentes.JPGBrian Fuentes, #57
Left Handed Pitcher

Brian Fuentes has a demanding job. And that wouldn’t be a relief pitcher. More like taking care of his four children under the age of four! This Merced, California native is psyched to return to Northern California and start playing ball to get a break from the exhausting workouts at home!

Gio at Spring Training

Gio Gonzalez, #47
Left Handed Pitcher

Gio may corner the A’s market on goofiness, silliness and good times. We couldn’t have kicked this guy out from the interview room, if we had tried! From stories to laugh fests to truly thoughtful answers, it’s clear why Gio is a fan favorite. 

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