Before practice this afternoon, the players split up into the Luxury Suites and answered questions from members of the local media. Here are some highlights:
Second-year catcher Ryan McCurdy, on last year’s NY-Penn League championship and the thought of repeating:
We had a lot of fun doing it. It’s a long summer, and you really work through the entire summer, but once we were [in the playoffs] we had a lot of fun. The new guys see clips on the times we’ve had, they’ve been posted around the stadium, and flashing our rings has inspired the guys too. It would be really fun for the fans and the community, but also for us, it’s definitely something we expect to do. Once you’ve done it once, you want to do it again.
Veteran relievers Travis Blankenship and Adam Champion, on what they can teach the rookies:
Champion: A lot of it is what to expect. It’s a whole new dynamic in pro ball, you hear stories but you just don’t know what it’s like, so they ask all sorts of questions about fans, what’s it like, what do you do every night. We kinda help them ease through the initial shock of being here.
Blankenship: We say, you got drafted for a reason, so go out and use your talents and let the game come to you and relax, and everything will work out.
Outfielder Kellen Kiilsgaard, who was drafted in 2010 but spent the entire year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, on the differences between pro and college baseball:
You have a lot more time to focus on baseball. When I was at Stanford, I had a lot of schoolwork going on … the last couple months down in Florida, I learned that baseball takes up a lot of your day.
Pitcher Nick Tropeano, on what he’s noticed so far:
I would have to say that everyone has the same common goal, and that’s that we all love baseball, and everyone’s trying to advance. In college, there’s certain guys that, they’re part of the team but, you know, they’re not really into it. Here, everyone’s into it and trying to win that championship.
Surprisingly, manager Stubby Clapp said that nobody asked him about his name during Media Day. I expected that everybody would want to hear about it, though I guess that story’s been told a few times already.
Tomorrow, all the preparation finally leads to the reward. ValleyCats vs. Vermont Lake Monsters, 7:00 at Joe Bruno Stadium.