Tim Smith: Playoff beards are in, Blog 2
* OF Tim Smith (Toronto, Ont.) is blogging about his Team Canada travels — as he did in 2009 for a Kansas City Royals minor league site — as Canada heads to Germany for the World Baseball Classic qualifier ….
By Tim Smith
People always ask me “Why the heck do you play so many games in your sport?”, and I always just kind of shake my head, laugh, and simply reply “You wouldn’t understand.”
There’s a reason the Major League Baseball schedules a grueling 162 game schedule, and unfortunately, unless you’ve been lucky enough to have a history in baseball, you flat out wouldn’t understand.
Baseball is an every day sport. Plain and simple. There’s my broad, yet very true answer.
It’s such a feel game. Timing, repetitive mechanics, and hand eye coordination can be lost in a heart beat.
This is why I’m thankful Team Canada does a great job at getting us back into the swing of things when they schedule these exhibition games and practices before the actual tournament.
But then you ask, “Didn’t you guys get finished playing though?”
Yes, but ultimately no. We had about a two-week down time, and I’ll be the first to admit that in that amount of time, things don’t feel normal.
We just finished up our time in Florida Sunday as our last exhibition game only went about half the distance. The rain decided to make an appearance.
We faced a local college twice, and had a practice the three days prior. Personally I feel like it was just enough to get feeling normal again, and I think the boys would agree as we went undefeated and didn’t let a run in through out.
First batting practice was a little rough. That timing I speak of just was kind of hiding for a few rounds. I think I smashed more balls off the top of the cage than put in play my first two rounds. But having been there before, I know not to freak out.
Things come back to you, and a couple rounds later, things went a lot smoother.
Another reason why it’s good to get time in before a tournament, is to build a bond. Having previous experience with Team Canada, there’s lot of familiar faces. However there’s always a couple newbies and young bucks, so building team chemistry is the upmost importance.
When your playing for your country, these teammates surrounding you really become your brothers and the coaching staff become some what like father figures … one big family. Like any family, there’s going to be some personalities. Our team is mixed with plenty of guys with big league time, minor league grinders, young prospects, you name it.
There’s a little bit of everything.
It’s awesome to see the newcomers put on that jersey for the first time, takes me back and reminds me how good it felt to toss the jersey on my first time. They’re in for a treat the first time they stand on the line and hear the Canadian anthem blaring.
I still get goose bumps. It’s a sense of pride and passion that can’t be explained. However, hopefully the young pups aren’t getting too comfortable just yet. They won’t be able to escape rookie initiations here in a few days, I’ll just let you know that right now!
I don’t know what it is with Canadian athletes and the beard thing. (Hopefully just males.)
But I know the second my no facial hair rule minor league season ends, you better believe I’m growing a disgusting Brian Wilson beard. Taking a peak around on the bus right now, I don’t think I can count on one hand guys with-OUT a beard.
Maybe it’s the hockey players in us, but the boys can rock some beards with the best of them. Big Jordan Lennerton insists on being called Johnny Depp as he darkens his duster with a little male product. He is looking like a spitting image of Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates Of The Caribbean, but he prefers just the Depp.
Philippe Valiquette is sporting a monster faux hawk. Kind of giving me inspiration to carve something in tonight.
Adam Loewen is going with the monster locks with man beard combo. Reminds me of a Viking. We might need to insert horns into his helmet for when he walks up to the dish, intimidation factor.
Cole Armstrong is really pumped about how long he grew his flow.
This does nothing but allow Shawn Bowman to degrade how bad it is in his mind. Cole and Shawn can chirp back and forth with the best of them, like I said earlier, one big family.
Pulling up to the hotel, so I’m going to let you guys go.
We have to pack our bags and get set to take off to Germany tomorrow.
Eight hour flight. Brutal.
I will be locked in my iPad the entire time as Jonathon Malo souped it up real nice.
The guy is computer savvy with the best of them. Mellow night ahead of me.
Will jump on the Xbox 360 and toy with Brock Kjeldgaard in the newly released NHL 13. We have some heated battles, but the guy will never admit I own the belt.
On to the real deal! Let’s go Canada!
(Tim Smith, Toronto, Ont., 26, was drafted by the New York Mets in the 21st round in 2004 from Team Ontario, by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 17th round in 2005 from Midland Jr. College and the Texas Rangers in the seventh round in 2007 from Arizona State University. He’ll be writing a blog during the WBC qualifier.)