By: Dick Cooke With a 5 p.m. game tonight following last night's 7 p.m. start and late arrival back to the hotel, Davey decides we will take BP in the cages at the Bulls park today as opposed to normal BP on the field. This gives our guys a chance to relax a bit longer, knowing we still have a long road ahead.
12 p.m. - Team signing in a conference room. Tons of stuff.
1:30 p.m. - Positional players and coaches head to the stadium.
2:30 p.m. - Bus leaves the hotel with pitchers.
2:45 p.m. - BP in the cage. A spartan set-up near the home clubhouse. Roly DeArmas and I throw our BP today. I've felt safer. Today I get Nick Schierholtz, Terry Tiffee, John Gall and Brian Barden. I throw to them for about 20 minutes then we head to the clubhouse for more memorabilia signing and to relax until game time.
7 p.m. - USA 9, Canada 1. Home runs are good things, and we hit four, including a grand slam by Schierholtz (Giants, AAA) in the 8th to put the game out of reach. Home runs to dead center field in the 2nd by LaPorta and Hessman set a nice tone. In addition Tiffee hits one off of the right field foul pole. Schierholz's granny was an absolute bomb off of an 84 mph slider. Well over 420 feet.
Strikeouts are good as well when it's our pitchers recording them. Sixteen tonight for our staff including 10 in five innings by starter Brandon Knight (Mets, AAA). Canada tallies an unearned run in the 6th but manages only five hits on the night. More lineup and position shuffling by Davey. More signing after the game, but this time it is for items that the players, coaches and staff will ultimately receive. One more game Monday night, and then the flow changes as we head to China.
Another nice crowd for today's 5 p.m. start following two sell-outs. Today's crowd includes my wife Susan, our three daughters and my mom, who just turned 89. Mom passes on an invitation to run the bases after the game with the rest of the kids in attendance. Not surprisingly my mom won't be going to China, so this was a nice treat for her to watch these guys play. She's seen every imaginable level of baseball for 44 years and contiues to really enjoy it.
The staff will convene tomorrow to map out Monday's lineup and project the pitching for our time in China. We hope to play three or four exhibition games there in lieu of practice, but those details will be last minute which makes coordinating pitcher's throwing routines a bit more complex for Lach.
I make the somewhat manageble drive home to Davidson to see the family once more and do some last minute things. I will head back to Cary early in the morning for a luncheon.