July 10, 2007
John Quine, who played for the Dons from 2006 to 2007 and was drafted by the Oakland A's in the 2007 MLB First Year Player Draft, wrote his first diary entry. Quine is currently pitching for the Vancouver Canadians, the A's short season Class A club.
Well it has been about two and a half weeks since I arrived here in Vancouver to play for the Oakland A's short season A ball team. Since the moment I arrived in Canada it's been baseball 24/7. At 8 a.m. the morning after I arrived, I was shuttled to the stadium to get my physical. After being checked by the doc, I had Christmas in June. Well, not really but close enough, as I was showered with all of the gear that they give us. On top of the gear that they give us, we also have a team catalog full of stuff that we can buy at 50% off which is pretty sweet.
At about noon the guys who had been there a few days started to trickle in and so I got to meet a whole bunch of new faces. After meeting everyone, we had a short team practice where the pitchers threw and the hitters hit. Following about three days of practicing, opening night rolled around and we had nearly 6,000 rowdy fans pack the stadium. Our stadium is located a few miles from downtown. It used to be home to the A's Triple A team so its one of the larger stadiums in the league. Our fans have been great so far. Even though we play in a big city with many other things to do, there is a lot of support from people in the Vancouver area.
One of the perks of playing in the A's organization is that they set us up with host families. In many organizations players have to find apartments to cram into. My family lives about 20 minutes from the park and they are really nice people. I have a small room with a bed, television and wireless internet.
The team helps with transportation. They come and pick all of us up in vans each morning and drop us off at night. The only problem is that my house is the farthest away so I am the first to be picked up and dropped off. I spend about three hours a day riding in the van. I get picked up at 5:30 a.m. for a day game and 9:30 a.m. when we play at night.Our first game was a night game, so the next morning I got a taste of why pros hate day games. I got home at midnight after our game and then was picked up at 5:30 a.m. for a 1 p.m. start. Our team made it through the day on coffee and energy drinks. This past Sunday we had a night game and immediately after the game we showered, ate and then loaded a charter bus at 11:30 p.m. to head to Spokane, Washington. We pulled into our hotel at 7:30 a.m. and all of us ran to our rooms, passing out until about 2 a.m. when we left for the stadium. The days are pretty long and the travel is rough.
I guess that I will get into the playing side of things now. Once you get to pro ball there are no more days off. We play 76 games in 79 days this summer and as a pitcher we have to play catch for each of those days plus the four days of practice before the season.
In college if your arm was sore you could take a day off from throwing, but here you can't do that. You just keep throwing. For newly drafted pitchers, they really try to break us in slowly. They want to see how our arms handle the throwing program. It is required that each of the new guys throws two bullpen sessions and a simulated game before pitching in a real game. That process takes about eight days, so a lot of the new guys were pretty bored at first. However, somehow I got to skip this process as I was used in the second game of the year. It was awesome. I did my job and so they used me again three days later. Then another few days later, I got to start for the first time in about two years. I just had my second start and had another good outing.