June 12, 2007 June 12, 2007Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
Revolution starter Matt Hirsh
Ask The New Guy With Matt Hirsh: York Revolution P Matt Hirsh will take the hill at Somerset’s Commerce Bank Ballpark for the second time in his career today.
But what does he do to prepare himself on the day of a start? A fan at the ballpark read Matt’s journal entry at his website and wanted me to ask the former Astros draft pick about his pre-game routine…
Matt’s Answer: My pre-game routine before a start is just as, if not, more important than what I do to prepare myself on the field. The game of baseball is 99% mental. If one is not mentally prepared to do anything, then it is my belief that one will not succeed. For me, being mentally prepared to go out and throw a game is just as important as my arm being healthy. If my mind is not focused on what I need to do then I will not be able to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. It sounds a bit complicated but I assure you it’s not. I didn’t really come up with the routine, rather, I just follow a routine that I practice in the off-season. About 6 weeks before spring training, I attend a yoga and long toss camp put on by Alan Jaeger of Jaeger Sports (www.jaegersports.com). Alan has worked with countless major leaguers, most notably Barry Zito, on being mentally focused and prepared to pitch. The mental side of baseball is the most important part of the game, yet, is the least practiced aspect among baseball players. This 6 week camp was developed by Alan to prepare the mind and body for a full season of baseball. The exercises we practice in the yoga studio are the same ones I do before I prepare for a game, so I’ll take you through my typical pre-game routine.
First, I wait until the team goes out to stretch and take batting practice, so I can have the clubhouse to myself. It’s important for me to have a quiet place to get into my pre-game routine. After the team leaves, I find a comfortable spot to lie down, either the training room table or on the floor with a towel for a pillow. I put on my headphones and listen to a CD that was given to all the players who attended the Jaeger camp, which contains our mental training and breathing exercises. The track is 25 minutes long and takes me through our warm-up routine that we do during the camp. After I listen to that I feel calm and relaxed, both mentally and physically. Then I start to do some stretching and yoga poses to get my body loose and get my blood flowing. Breathing is the most important part of this whole process, which is why I spend the first 25 minutes listening to the CD, which focuses on the breath. I spend about 20 or 30 minutes stretching and doing yoga poses before I lie down again for another meditation session. During this meditation session, I listen to relaxing yoga music and again, focus on my breath. Focusing on my breath allows me to be present. By being present I mean that if I focus on nothing but my breath, I can’t focus on anything else going on around me, past or present, which in turn, allows me to relax. I do this meditation for about 20 minutes or so and by the time I’m finished everybody is usually filtering in from batting practice. I then get dressed and get out to the field about 30 minutes prior to game time. I spend the first 10 minutes or so stretching again and getting my legs loose. After I stretch, I do my surgical tubing exercises to get my arm loose. The surgical tubing I have are called J-Bands. They’re made by Jaeger Sports and are a vital part of my warm-up routine. After my tubing exercises, I’m ready to start throwing. I warm up with about 10 or 15 minutes of long toss (up to 250 feet) and then go to the bullpen to warm up for the game. I throw about 30 or 40 pitches in the bullpen and then I’m ready for the game.
No matter how I perform, I will always follow this routine. Baseball players are said to be the most superstitious athletes, but when it comes to my pre-game routine, I stick to what I know and what works for me. This routine gets me mentally and physically prepared to throw.
Walker Signed By Rockies; Shier Signed By ‘Sharks: The Camden Riversharks have lost arguably the best starter in the league, Kevin Walker. He led the league with a 1.74 ERA and had a 4-1 record at the time of his signing. The Rockies picked him up, and he’ll be pitching in Triple-A on Thursday.
The Riversharks have signed INF Pete Shier to replace him. Shier has previous Atlantic League experience, having played for the Nashua Pride several years ago.
Piedra Signed By A’s; Yarnall Signed By Ducks: The Oakland Athletics have signed Long Island Ducks OF Jorge Piedra and will likely be assigned to Triple-A.
Taking his spot on the roster will be — you guessed it — a former Major Leaguer. P Ed Yarnall is a Duck, and he brings big league time with — you guessed it — the New York Yankees with him.
Cahill Cut: With the activation of OF Jose Morban, a roster move needed to be made on the Somerset Patriots. P Casey Cahill was the victim, leaving with no record and a 5.68 ERA. Cahill had his contract assigned to the Road Warriors, meaning Patriots fans will see him in a few days.
Castillo Speaks: I caught up with York Revolution P Frank Castillo before today’s game in Somerset. Castillo talked about his time on the Cubs, Curt Schilling’s near no-hitter bringing back memories of his own flirtation with history, and about being one of the “Idiots” that brought Boston their first World Series in 86 years.
Quotes tonight or tomorrow.
Monday Photo Gallery:
Revolution outfielder Peter Bergeron
Former Patriots All-Star Matt Dryer
Matt Hirsh long tosses before the game
Hirsh in the bullpen
Former Riversharks infielder Ramon Nivar
Ever wonder what that patch is on the jerseys? Now you know.
The obligatory “Hey, look! A rainbow!” shot.
Kaz Tanaka, batting ninth tonight.
– Mike Ashmore