As I sit here in a hotel room in Cedar City, UT looking out at snow on the ground, it is hard for me to mentally get ready for the upcoming college baseball season. But alas, I am afraid it is time.
I am 50 now, and it is MUCH more difficult for me to get ready for the first game each year. The muscles and bones aren't 25 any more. So I have to start much earlier to get ready.
My season opens Feb. 19 in Little Rock, AR at the University of Arkansas/Little Rock. A three day round robin format that will allow me to get my feet wet before my conference season begins towards the end of March.
I WILL be sore after this weekend. No way to avoid it. HOW sore will be the thing I hope to contain.
I have already started a stretching regiment that I stretch for 20 minutes a day every day. Hopefully this will be one thing that will help to eliminate some of the pain I will feel after that first weekend.
The other thing that I have started working on is that excess 20 pounds I have put on since I last umpired in August. Starting to eat less and shed that weight before the season begins is a priority for two reasons...(1) I will feel better at 230 than I do at 250. and (2) I don't want to have to buy any new uniforms this year. I already have fat uniforms and uniforms that I can wear at my good weight...I just am cheap and don't want to buy any more fat uniforms. But that's just me.
The other thing that I will do--and YOU should absolutely do as well--is find a place to go look at some pitches. I do this every year at the University of Indianapolis. I put on the gear and try to go see as many as 100 pitches a day for at least three days before I go out there for real.
If you don't do this, then you are cheating your profession. You should make every effort to NOT go out on the field for the first time having not seen a pitch. You should be game ready on day one. Don't go in having to guess on day one. The teams you are working for deserve better than that.
I understand that a lot of guys work basketball as well and it makes it more difficult to fit any sort of pre-season prep into your already busy schedule. But make that effort. It is important because we are all professionals.
The season is right around the corner and at least for me, the time has come for preparation . You may not start as early as I do, so only you can know for yourself when you should start.
Have fun getting ready for 2010. It is going to be a great year.
What do YOU do to get ready for the season? Post your comment below.