The final day saw a much more calming presence at the 2014 Winter Warmup. The frenzy was dialed down but the passion was there. Players like Peter Bourjos, Sam Freeman, Michael Wacha and Mike Matheny spent time with the media while fans flocked to them for signatures, small moments and a picture or two.
Part of my job here is separating the fan side of my personality from the professional side and being contingent on getting enough quotes from them for a good story and catching a glimpse into the way their minds work. The balance isn’t always easy and one time I was totally swept up in fan zone mania with….Seth Maness. After his session I asked him about his ability to quickly induce double play balls making the other bullpen guys jealous. He may have been on the verge of telling me a huge secret when suddenly I wouldn’t shut up. My rookie status stays quiet for only so long.
Here are some images, bits of info, quotes and other things from Day 3 of the Winter Warmup.
Sam Freeman expects to come into camp ready to compete for a spot in the bullpen. “Executing pitches one pitch at a time and letting everything fall into place. Control everything I have control over and keep it as simple as possible. The competition is something Freeman hasn’t thought about. “Go out there and perform to the best of my abilities.” Freeman does have things he wants to improve on. “Putting batters away. There were times where I had two strikes and let the batter back into the count.” When asked if he lets the situation of moving between Memphis and St. Louis creep into his pitching, Freeman simply said no. “I just let it fly man. Every time.”
Wacha is a confident kid and he gives that aura off every time he speaks, even though he appears very humble. Has he sat back and surveyed the world wind experience? “Yes. It was a heck of a run and gets me itching for it to get going again.” In his mind, the goal is to go out and be perfect, not giving up any hits or runs. Does he feel the pressure to top last year? “I wouldn’t say that. I can’t pay much attention to that. I have my own expectations for myself. The main goal is try not to do too much. Same mentality going into this year.”