Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shopping and Scrimmaging

By: Dick Cooke
A fairly slow day. At 1 p.m., we had a USOC van take a number of us to the Silk Market to experience shopping like you've never seen. Six floors of everything you can imagine - clothes, jewelry, sunglasses, etc. - with each vendor side-by-side in a small booth. It is non-stop bartering. No prices listed. You like something, they tell you how much, you say no, they ask how much and you go from there.

It was fairly comical to listen to and watch and participate in. They physically come and try and pull you into their booths. Non-stop chatter, and the folks who work there speak English better than anyone we've seen. One of our players purchased five suits - which they will tailor for him, and he spent $100 US for each one.

Practice tonight was a six-inning, intra-squad game. Mike Hessman hit a monster home run off of Stephen Strasburg, and the players good naturedly rode Stras pretty hard afterwards. Stras is going through a bit of the "I'm only a college player" type of ribbing from the others on and off the field. I think he's anxious to get on the mound when it counts and show what he can do.

We play China again tomorrow morning and Monday. We are beyond ready to play for real.

I spent a good deal of time visiting with the scouts last night talking about our team, as well as Korea, who is our first opponent. One of the scouts - Mike Larson - came here from Korea, where he watched them play a five game series vs. Cuba. We'll almost certainly see a young, talented left-hander in the opener.

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