Overall, I was very happy with my performance during this fall. I didn't know what to expect because I was going to be a reliever. The experience I had really put me in position to embrace either the starting or relieving role for next year. I feel like I proved to myself that I can play with the best, and I'm ready to face the next challenge. I definitely need some time off, and I will enjoy every minute, but I am so excited for next year.
I have to write about what happened in the bullpen this past week. It gets pretty dull down there during the middle of the game, so it's pretty common for guys to pull each other's leg. Well, somebody put the bubble gum bubble on Nick DeBarr's hat. It was there for a long time and he kept asking everyone in the pen for some gum. We all quietly laughed, but he kept asking for it. He finally said, "Come on guys, where is the Big League Chew? I can smell it." The whole 'pen erupted and told him it was on top of his cap, and he just couldn't believe it.
It gets better. The bullpen always has to warm up our outfielder between innings. Sometimes guys aren't thrilled to do it, so one person starts up the "Not it!" claim. Well, this time we decided to do it when the other team was taking the field. We said "Not it," and Nick was last man out. He grabbed his glove and baseball and walked out to the warning track to play catch. When he got out there, we all asked John Mayberry, who plays for Surprise, if he needed to loosen up with Nick. Mayberry cracked up, and so did the rest of the 'pen. He wasn't the only one who fell for this prank. I think I got caught twice this year trying to warm up the outfielder.
I want to say thank you to everybody who emailed me throughout this fall. Now, to answer some of your email questions.
I was just wondering what it was that really raised your velocity when you got to Mizzou. I read somewhere that you touched 91 or 92 mph a little bit in high school, but somewhere in between that and when you left, you gained so much velocity. I was wondering if it was mechanics, just maturing, or what? Thanks.
I firmly believe that the reason my velocity jumped was due to the strength training that Mizzou provided. The facilities and the strength staff there were outstanding. Every part of my body got so much stronger, especially my core. My freshman year I went from 190 pounds to 210 pounds. I also worked very hard that offseason on the balance in my delivery. That balance allowed me to stay back in my motion, so that my arm would accelerate with my legs. Both of those changes allowed me to throw the ball harder.
What kind of food do they serve you in the clubhouse?
We get a lot of different types of food. Sometimes we will get food catered from restaurants like Don and Charlie's or P.F. Chang's. Other nights our clubhouse guy, "Chif," will cook us a meal. He does a great job of taking care of us. It is always nice to know after the game that we would get a great meal to eat. Our games at night would get over pretty late sometimes, so it was nice not to have to worry about that. We also got a small meal before the game that usually consisted of either turkey or tuna sandwiches. Overall, we got some really good food.