Tim Smith Blog 3, Canada ready for WBC opener
* Tim Smith and the troops have arrived and are ready for Thursday’s opener in Germany against Great Britain ….
By Tim Smith
Regensburg, Germany — I will go on admit, straight up, I’m a terrible procrastinator.
A brutal trait that one day I wish to over come. I’m the guy that should be packing the night before, but decides that it can easily be done in the morning.
As the world’s most annoying sound blares in the morning, my alarm is hollering at me to clean it up and roll out of bed. Instead of rolling out of bed straight into perfect formed push ups like Gothem City’s Bruce Wayne, I decide it’s a better idea to play 1-on-1 vs. the snooze button.
Snooze wins round 1, but I decide to challenge it again for round 2. Just stuck in one of those awesome dreams that even if you do get back to sleep, you know you aren’t getting back. Ah well, worth a shot.
Next thing you know I have limited time until the bus leaves to the airport to start our trip to Germany.
Scramble? I think not. Been there, done that. Not much of a folder any way. Stuffing clothes, bathroom accessories, baseball equipment, anything I can get my hands on in my bags in no particular order and absolutely zero feel of organization. Pop in and out of a five-minute shower, smell test somewhat clean clothes, couple minutes to spare beforeth the bus departs … it’s time to roll to Germany.
Our first flight took us to Washington, DC for a quick lay over. The eight-hour flight ahead of us was in our hind sight. A packed line of bearded Team Canada gentlemen at Wendy’s really fueled us up. Such a nutritious choice for athletes eh? Our little secret. Don’t judge me, just ask Babe Ruth.
Boarding the flight, I get placed in a seat with ridiculous leg room along side 6-foot-8 giant of a human being Trystan Magnusson. We kind of give each other the look, like, man we lucked out hard. Everyone else was in normal seats while we were sitting in thrones.
Not a minute passes before a ‘sturdiest’ informs us that we were in the sleeping section for them, and we were not supposed to be placed there. I take a quick peek around at the situation, nothing but middle seats. Pretty heated at this point, but biting my tongue I make a move to find a new comfy middle seat.
Luckily Tom Boleska’s wife informs me that she has an aisle seat and she would switch with me to take the middle seat open next to Boleska. Done deal! The cherry on top is that the ‘sturdiest’ swings by a minute lady with a $200 dollar voucher from the airline for the inconvenience.
That’s like winning the lotto when your a minor league grinder, so I obviously threw a graceful fist pump through the air.
The plane had personal TV’s in front of each seat, with movie choices and games packed in it. After having my wisdom degraded in a multiplayer trivia game with Jordan Lennerton and Kellin Deglan I decided to scan through the movies.
I lucked out yet again. Can you believe that “The Sandlot” was one of the options? You better believe I relived my childhood watching Benny (The Jet) Rodriguez gracefully work his way to the big leagues. Ham (the catcher) still cracks me up. The guy has a motor mouth with the best of them.
While watching the movie I think I brainstormed probably a top three idea of my life time. Do you remember Benny’s kicks in the movie? He was a gorgeous runner and I highly believe it all comes from his “PF Flyers”. They’re basically murdered out Chuck T’s that can be found in numerous locations.
I was thinking, what if … a big what if! You can send any pair of running shoes to several companies these days and they will turn them into cleats. I’m thinking I could double my stolen base total next year if I got a pair of PF Flyers made up. What are your thoughts on that idea? Brilliant right?
We land in Germany at 7:30 am there. It’s what I believe a six-hour time difference from where we were, so our body clock was telling us 1:30 am. The boys were a little gassed, not going to lie. Gather our gear to jump on the bus which was taking us to Regensburg from Munich. About an hour and a half trip which we were dreading as the sun blared through the windows, we were all wide awake for the first half of the trip as we were taking in the sights and sounds.
Beautiful country. A lot of the BC boys said it reminded them of home. Very green with lots of mountains across the landscape. It seemed as if all there was on the road was Beamer, Benz’, and Audi’s. The luxury cars in North America are some what of the common car over here. Lots of scooters and bikes as well.
When we arrive to the hotel we have a quick meeting to go over the schedule. We’re informed that we have a practice in a few hours and to try our best to keep the tired eyes open so we can get our sleeping habits adapted to the time zone over here.
Similar to the hotel style in our last Europe trip, they simply make beds smaller over here. They are side by side, I’m talking a few inches between Jonathan Malo and myself. Yes, we basically have a spoon together when the lights turn off, that’s how close I’m talking.
The bus takes off to the field. We’re all kind of excited to see what we’re working with for the next few days. Adam Loewen has a portable mini boom box banging dub step and house beats for the gents. Getting the guys amped up and ready to mash a few baseballs. As we cruise into the stadium after the bus drops us off … yes the beats are still flowing, we look like music video on MTV as the sound blares.
Walk through the centre field gate to get a great view of the stadium. Beautiful field. Double-A or triple-A level for sure. The surface looks bright, and well maintained. We get a quick defensive feel for the field, slow paced because the red bulls are barely even keeping us awake. Jump into a batting practice session and let me tell you it’s fun to sit back and watch these guys hit.
Jimmy Van Ostrand and Brock Kjeldgaard look like they use three woods when they take bp. Hitting balls out of this stadium. Big Larry Walker gave us the heads up to work on line drives today, just going to let you know that minor detail. The home run derby from that first day might create bad swings come game time, so I could see his point. Plus, when that guy talks, you listen. Canadian legend. I also feel it had something to do with us losing 3/4’s of our balls over the fence the very first day.
Waiting around for the bus to pick us up, a tournament rep brings us a couple cases of some homegrown lager. You’ve never seem guys wake up as quick as that let me tell ya! A golden moment for sure. Sitting in the dugout surrounded by teammates and coaches enjoying our first German beer celebrating good things to come.
Typical Canadian’s eh? “Our drinking team has a baseball problem.” We wrap things up, and look forward to catching some shut eye.
We all slept for a few hours, and it was about 9 pm when we all thought it would be a good idea to gather up and check the scenery. We headed to a little pub in old town to get a taste test in of the highly praised about beverages they offer in Germany. Sampling different tastes it was a great time. Live music and a happy crowd. We were definitely getting the eye ball from locals. You could read their mind saying “These guys definitely aren’t German.”
Today was a real mellow day. Light practice and some well needed down time to get prepared for tomorrow. We take on Great Britain who will be throwing lefty pitching prospect Chris Reed, a first rounder with the Los Angeles Angels two years ago, against us. He was a first rounder two years ago, so it will be a good test for the boys in red and white.
Shawn Hill takes the bump for us. Hill has ice in his veins in these tournaments. He’s kind of experienced it all, so we have complete trust in him. Not a better guy you could run out there and get the presence felt.
Rene Tosoni is the bathroom barber. He gave me the perfect haircut with limited tools as we had a nice jam sesh in the bathroom as he carved the hawk in for me.
Brock Kjeldgaard, who I refer to solely as Lesner (WWE wrestler who is ginormous like Brock, and obviously share the same name), we tried to get some NHL in on the Xbox. Big mistake … power outlets are different in Europe. We fried the Xbox and every light in the room probably blowing several fuses. “A” for effort though right?
It’s time to get some shut eye. I’m really excited to start this thing off right tomorrow. Make sure to toss the game on the tube, Sportsnet1 is covering our games as well as MLB tv for the last one. Cheers!