Hey everyone! Sorry for the long delay, but it's midterm season! However, the good news I'm back!
In this edition of Pav's Pad, I'm going to give you an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes. First up, the bus ride to Stanford…the SEVEN HOUR bus ride.
I joke about the long bus rides, but in all honesty, it gives us a great opportunity as a team to bond. The first 20 minutes of our bus ride to Stanford consisted of loud music and everybody jamming and singing along to our favorite songs. After that initial 20-minute jam session, infield coach Neil Walton threw on the inaugural first movie for the road trip.
His selection was Remember the Titans (Solid choice). Ironicly, one of the greatest quotes from the movie is, "Let them remember the night that they played the Titans." Well what a perfect way to begin the 2018 season. After the movie, we then stopped in Bakersfield at my house for an hour lunch stop.
Thank you very much to my kind and loving parents for generously hosting the team, the tri-tip sandwiches were superb! Shortly after the bus began rolling towards Stanford, the infamous Mafia game came into play.
For those of you who don't know the game "Mafia", it is pretty simple. Depending on how many people play determines the Mafia Members. For example, on the way to Stanford we had 17 people play, (which might be a record), we have six mafia members, two sheriffs, and one medic, and the rest of the people are townspeople. The Mafia is pretty simple to explain because they all vote to kill off one person of the townspeople. The medic's responsibility is to try and guess the person that the mafia members are voting off, and can "save" the townsperson. The sheriff then picks on anyone while everyone's heads are down to then see if the mafia member is in the mafia, the narrator will then say yes or no. The goal is to have the mafia eliminated or the townspeople eliminated based on what you are. This game sure passes the time while smiles and intellect are plentiful.
Now we skip ahead to the airplane rides.
Typically, airline check in for my family of six people is simple. Imagine 40 people at an airline counter all wearing the same clothes (travel suits) and how long that takes. Our operations guy Jason Murrieta plans weekd ahead in advance for this scenario. His procedures and actions makes things flow as easily as it can be, yet certain people can still make it difficult (All I'm trying to say is, don't forget your ID).
After finally getting everyone through TSA, Murr (Jason Murrieta) can finally relax knowing he did his part in our travel and settle in for the flight. These things might normally go unnoticed in some people's eyes but this is such a hard job to coordinate bus and plane flights, meals, lodging, and other events for 40 people. Once through TSA we (like normal passengers) play the waiting game and wait until our flight is ready to go. The key word is waiting because we are batting a perfect 2 for 2 for our return flights being delayed on our way home.
Once on board we are all spread out on the flight in rows, scattered from the front to the back. I sit next to Hank LoForte and Chris Prescott every time, I know this because we sit in alphabetical order. Some guys do homework, some listen to music, BUT some have a gift. Ruben Cardenas has a gift of sleep (Lucky!). The moment he closes his eyes, he passes out, it is something I've truly never seen before. It's actually a cool talent to have. He will remain asleep most of the flight and wake up when the wheels finally touch down at our destination. Some guys like Tommy Wilson and I can't sleep on the plane and just play card games with each other.
What's the cure for road trips, especially ones were we don't win a lot? Two words: Goodwin Field. After a long eight-game road trip we returned home to win four straight games. One thing that is extra special is when we sweep an opponent. Tradition goes that we players have get to mob coach Vanderhook in a postgame huddle. This allows us players to play with an additional incentive on Sunday to return the favor of the "extra" stadium runs he put us through earlier in preseason.
Time to meet two of the behind the scenes guys that really make this program go.
Jason "Rapino" Eary, a student manager and a sophomore from Las Vegas, Nevada is our first one. He throws batting practice (BP) whenever the coaches' arms are sore or before the game. He throws front toss (which is below average but getting better) hits fungos, gets food before the games in bulk for the team. The worst day in Jason's life at Fullerton came last year opening weekend against Stanford during the rainstorm. Our game was at 1 pm PT and he had to dry off the outfield with a blower, walking back and forth through the entire outfield before we started stretching at 10 am PT. So you do the math on how long that took and how many steps he got in. Without Jason our lives as players and athletes would be very difficult. He is an inspiration to us all will be a very successful man in life.
Garrett "Clay" "Fish" Fisher is our next student manager. If that name sounds familier with you, it should! His older brother Clay plays shortstop for UC Santa Barbara. Fish is from La Quinta, California and has arrived to Fullerton only to help us out in numerous ways. He too throws BP and his BP abilities easily dominate Jason's BP on the mound (sorry Jason, I still love you). Another big time savior from Fish is that he has a backpack full of small candy snacks like Skittles and Starbursts. These snacks although not the healthiest of snacks do those come in clutch during games for a quick pick me up. Ruben and I attack that backpack frequently. Thank you Fish for being another "behind the scenes" guy that is committed to our success on and off the field.
Thanks to both of you guys for your continuous dedication to our program!
Remember Go Titans!!!