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We Talkin' About Practice

How silly is that?

I love going down to the field for batting practice, just to listen to some of the conversations that take place. Obviously, I’m not cool enough to be a part of many of them, but today I got into a discussion with Dustan Mohr about the Eagles.

After the 104.5 DJ announced that the Eagles would be played after the commercial break I said, “The Eagles — now we’re talking.” To which Mohr asked me a question I can’t really repeat on a family-friendly blog. That launched a discussion about what the Eagles did at their famous “third encore” parties back in the day, where drugs and women were always present. He asked if “What’s that guy’s name?” (Don Henley) was still alive, and I mentioned that the Eagles were, in fact, touring in Europe as we speak.

Good times.

And pitching coach Luke Robertson is always down behind the screen talking baseball. He’s a name dropper, which I love because I’m the same way. Once you’ve had exposure to guys who have played, will play, or are playing in the majors, you want to tell everybody about it. Today’s lesson from Luke: “I owned Nick Swisher.” Both were in the Oakland system earlier this decade, playing for Class A teams in the same league. The book on Swisher — you can get him out with outside changeups. Now you know.

Speaking of name dropping, here’s a quick story about LaTroy Hawkins. He was pitching for the Rockies in 2007, and I was assigned to cover the series against the Braves in Atlanta because the Colorado beat reporter didn’t make the trip. He was making small talk with one of the beat reporters and I was waiting to talk to him about something I needed for a story. The Michael Vick story was front-page news then, and LaTroy was defending him, basically saying Vick’s crime wasn’t all that significant. Then he noticed me standing a few feet away and said, “You’re not recording this, are you?” I can’t imagine what he would have done if I would have said yes. But actually, LaTroy (we’re friends) was a really nice guy and a good interview, too.

I talked to Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper today about the baseball/golf game he was playing with Luke and Josh Robertson and hitting coach Chris Mileham yesterday. They were basically just picking spots on the field as “holes” and trying to get there in as few “strokes” as possible. You know, like golf. The winner of one hole would pick where the next hole was. One was the front-left wheel on the batting screen. One was where the pitching screen made a triangle. Luke Robertson won, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, because he’s the King of Meaningless games. Like knocking out headlights.

The mystery of Joe D’Alessandro is growing. We didn’t see him pitch yesterday, so we wait to see if he can actually throw 96 MPH. Hopefully he’ll make an appearance tonight and we’ll see if Josh Robertson’s forecast comes true. Jose Amado only fell 20 short of the 20 home runs Robertson projected when the Wingnuts signed him last year, so J-Rob has an outstanding track record.

Tomorrow, I’ll divulge my All-Star ballot, which I have temporarily misplaced. Look for it to be Wingnut-heavy. See you then, kids.