Guest Blogger — Mike Baxter
Hey everyone, this is Mike Baxter writing you from sunny Peoria, AZ. I am originally from Queens, NY, so the fact that I am still wearing shorts and t-shirts in late November is pretty amazing. That all comes to an end, though, Sunday when the Fall League ends and I head back to the city for Thanksgiving with my family. It’s been a pretty long year, and the idea of some time off is pretty exciting. I will spend about a week in NY before heading back down to Nashville for the rest of the offseason where I train with some other ballplayers at my old college, Vanderbilt. Nashville has become my offseason home the past few years, and the coaches there have been awesome as they let us all come back and use the facilities throughout the winter. I’m not sure where I would be today without them.
The Fall League has been a great experience as it has given me the opportunity to keep working on my game against some very talented players. I ended up getting more playing time than originally expected, and have been lucky to come across some very knowledgeable people out here. Every morning we show up it’s a certainty that Eck, Jack, and Jimmy Lefebrve (our hitting coaches) will be in the cage ready to get to work, and I have learned a lot from these guys. Hopefully, I can take their lessons into the offseason and keep working on my swing.
Right now the Sags are tied for first place with Mesa as we make our push for the Championship over these next four games. It’s coming down to the wire and keeping each day exciting at the end of a long season. We have got a really great group of guys on this team and everyone is still locked in and ready to play. Hopefully we can pull through and end this year on a great note. Thanks to everyone for following all of us Padres out here, and let me know if you guys have any questions or comments I can answer.
Guest Blog: Mike Ekstrom
Hey everyone, this is Mike Ekstrom writing to you from the mighty Peoria Saguaros (we’re 8-2 and in 1st place) of the Arizona Fall League. For all of you who aren’t familar with me, I have spent four seasons in the Padres minor leagues and spent this whole season as a member of the San Antonio Missions. This September I made my major league debut with the Padres and made eight appearances for the big club.
So far the AFL has been a lot fun for us. Not only have we been playing well, but it’s a good group of guys, the weather’s awesome, and we have some great coaches.
I must say the game’s seem to be played a little differently in the fall league. In the regular season if you look at a box score and see that seven pitchers threw in the game it might be a red flag that things went badly. In the AFL that’s just another day. It’s pretty nice though to have our set routines and know when we pitch a couple days in advance. Also, maybe you see a team score nine runs in a game once a week in the regular season, here games are routinely 9-7 or 11-6. Today we lost 18-10 for example. Maybe some of the football season is rubbing off in our scores.
One other thing that’s been interesting for us is to see how other organizations go about their business. Our team is made up of Padres, Cardinals, Nationals, White Sox, and Mets. For the most part we all do the same stuff, but everyone has their own fine points that are different. I think it’ll be really helpful to see other ways to do our work and maybe I’ll find something that works better for me. You never know right.
Well that’s about all I got for y’all, hope I could shed a little light on the AFL experience for ya. Thanks for reading, Mike.