Friday, January 06, 2017


At 69, I can see my toes; but I could use some help touching them.  Exercises are, indeed, key to preparing for baseball camp in a few days.  Regardless of strenuous and devoted application, workouts are never enough.  It doesn't matter how much I throw, go to the batting cages, or exercise, the second day of camp is full of profound body-hurt!  I mean real...body...hurt!

Of course, injuries are most difficult.  One year I was at third base shagging grounders during the early morning team batting practice.  I walked across the foul line to pick up a baseball to toss it back to the pitcher, stepped in a hole wrong, and had to have knee surgery; torn meniscus.  It isn't as easy being a star athlete as it once was!

The Cardinals have four trainers in camp; a couple of minor league trainers and then those from St. Louis who take care of the big boys.  The first thing I do when I check in at the clubhouse is to head for the trainers' table as a precaution to the pain that will soon be approaching.  I try to get a head start on what likely will be potential injuries. By the early morning of the second day we baseball heroes will be standing in line, as in a hospital ward for the wounded, as we need ice, we need muscles worked out, and we need help walking.

It's really strange, but it doesn't matter how much I physically prepare, it's never enough.  Sore just as well be Florida's weather forecast because it is on its way.  Bob Gibson and I were talking out on the field one time as I was aching aloud.  I asked what he did to get ready for Spring Training during his career.  He said the only way you can get ready to play baseball is to play baseball.  Meaning?  There are jogs and juts and moves that one makes in the game that are not necessarily in the exercise manual.

I'll continue to prepare for camp.  I look forward to the bonding and the re-bonding that goes on among my many friends.  For all of the Cardinal stars who will be present, and for all of the dear friends I will get to see, the MVPs of every camp are the trainers. Don't leave for camp without one.

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