Ciao Y’all!

Yankees fans, this will be my final blog post of the season.  I have enjoyed corresponding to everyone this year, and I am sure another Tampa Yankee will pick up blogging for the second half of the season.

Congrats to the Lakers, who won the NBA Finals!  As a fair weather fan, I am excited to see another sports title head to Southern California.

As for the big club, they look like they are doing well, with the exception to the Red Sox!  It is strange to see they have not beaten them yet, but as long as they keep battling for first place that is all that matters.  Hopefully in October when they are making their playoff push that these early games against the Sox don’t come back to haunt them. 

As for us down on the farm, we are counting the hours until the All Star Break! Haha.  We are all looking to catch up on some rest and leisure time. 

A couple of teammates and I went to go see The Hangover the other day.  It is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time.  I was laughing so hard my stomach was hurting.  And it is getting great reviews by the critics.  So if you haven’t seen it yet, get to the movies this weekend!

Well that’s it folks, I hope you have enjoyed my blog over the past several weeks.  Thank you to all who took time out to read and respond.  I had a great time sharing my experiences with you this first half of the season, and am looking forward to a great second half of minor league baseball!

Matt Cusick

June Gloom

Hey Yankee fans!  Hope everyone is doing well.  Our team is in the midst of a 24 game span without a day off.  In fact our next break is the All Star Break, and many players are arranging a mini vacation to pass the time.  Some are even heading home for some R&R.

Draft day is here, which for those of you who don’t know, is the day when dreams become a reality.  Over the next day or two many amateur baseball players will be drafted by one of the 30 major league clubs and turn professional on their way to realizing their dream of a major league ballplayer.  Two years ago I was in there position, and it seems like just yesterday.  I wish all of them the best in their professional careers. 

The Tampa Yankees are doing well, winning 3 of our last 4.  However the other day, my roommate Tommy Baldridge, got re-assigned to low A Charleston.  He got moved when we were on the road, so all of his belongings including his car are still here in Tampa.  I have gathered all of it up and am gonna send it to him.  Just another wild part of our life as minor leaguers. 

In our clubhouse we recently got a ping pong table.  This, of course, has now occupied most of my downtime during the day.  The team is so competitive and soon we are going to have a tournament to see who is the team ping pong champion.  The early favorite is outfielder Jack Rye, nobody can seem to beat him!

Well, that’s all for today everyone.  God Bless and have a great week!

Matt Cusick

Blockbusters, Brackets, and Basketball

Hey fans, as the second month of the season comes to an end, our team is 22-26.  We hit a couple of rough patches, but we are 6-3 over our past 9 games, playing well.  We aren’t quite at the dog days of summer yet, but we are in a stretch of 24 straight games without a day off.  So when you have day games, it is important to take advantage of your afternoon and evening.  I am a big movie buff, so over the past week I have taken in 3 movies.

The other day after a day game I went to go see the new movie Angels and Demons.  I saw The Davinci Code and also read the book, and I thought this movie was just as good.  Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are a great duo, and I recommend seeing it if you haven’t already. 

I also saw X-Men: Wolverine and The Terminator.  Both were action adventures that were sequels to the originals.  If you are in the mood for cheap entertainment and good special effects, these movies are good for you!

Also recently, if you do not follow college baseball, the NCAA playoffs have begun.  This weekend is the first round regional bracket.  A few of my teammates and I are following the games on ESPN.  Although USC did not make the tournament, Coastal Carolina and Ohio State (my roommates alma mater’s) made it.  And UC Irvine, where my younger brother plays baseball at, made it as well.  These college playoff games are exciting and bring back old memories of playing with a metal bat!

I have also been following the NBA playoffs.  I originally predicted the Cavaliers taking on the Lakers, but Orlando is looking good.  There are a lot of Magic fans in Tampa, being only 45 minutes away from Amway Arena, where they play.  But I will be wearing purple and gold this week, for my heart must stay true to my hometown Lakers.  It should be a fun and exciting series.

That’s all I got this week, thanks again to all those who follow the Tampa Yankees and my blog.  God Bless.

Matt Cusick

May Days

Happy 3 day weekend everyone!  I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend.  Last week we had an Armed Forces night in which we wore camouflage uniforms and celebrated those who have served and our currently serving our country.  This is a good time to thank all of those who have contributed to the freedoms our country gives us.

Speaking of special nights at the ballpark, next week we will be wearing new pink uniforms to honor all those affected by breast cancer.  After the game we will be auctioning the jerseys off and the money goes to a good cause, so please contribute if at all possible!

Today’s game was a great one!  We were trailing 3 runs with two outs in the bottom of the 8th inning when all of the sudden we exploded for 7 runs to take the lead!  It was by far our best comeback win of the season to date. 

After the game the Tampa Yankee Booster Club was nice enough to sponsor a hearty meal for all the players.  Last year when I played Lexington, Kentucky we had host parents who did a similar type of thing.  Booster club members are just one of the few behind-the-scenes workers for the team.  Having them around makes life easier in minor league baseball. 

Over the past couple of days I have been calling some of my ex-teammates and talking to them about how their season has been going.  I have talked to a couple guys who are in the Astro system, along with one of my good friends who plays in the Dodger organization that I played with in college.  I have played on so many teams throughout my amateur and professional career that it’s nice to stay in touch with some of the guys.  I have made some life long friends in baseball.    

Me and some of my teammates visited the Dallas Bull last week for a country music concert.  It was a great venue and I really enjoyed myself.  Thanks for all the great suggestions!

Until next time,

Matt Cusick

On the Road Again

Dear All,

I am blogging to you today from the road, in particular Brevard County.  It is raining cats and dogs here.  In the next two days the weather channel is predicting 5-7 inches!!  Some of my roommates and I just ate across the street for lunch, and had to ask two random strangers for a short ride back to the hotel!  It was raining that hard.  God Bless them for being so kind and offering us all a ride. 

Being on the road in minor league baseball is much different than playing at home.  First, we travel from hotel room to hotel room, with more room key cards in my wallet than debit cards.  Also, since none of us have cars, we are forced to eat whatever is within walking distance of the hotel.  And if nothing is around, get used to calling Dominoes and Pizza Hut.  Needless to say eating healthy in the minors is a really tough thing to do. 

We also spend a lot of time reading, watching TV, and ordering movies from our hotel room.  There always seems to be more down time when you’re playing on the road than when you are at home.  Fortunately in the Florida State League travel is a piece of cake.  The longest trip we have is about 4 hours, compared to 12 hours last year when I was in the SAL league.  Some of those trips were brutal!

This morning we went to the local gym and lifted weights for about an hour.  Lifting weights during the season is much different than the offseason.  In season it is all about maintenance lifting, and trying to keep body weight.  We usually lift twice a week in season.  You can’t go to heavy and risk getting sore, since you play every day.  Whereas the offseason lifting regiment is much harder.  It is usually for a couple hours a day for 5 or so days a week, and I am constantly sore! 

We just recently got some new players to the squad, Walter Ibarra and Brian Baisley.  They have been contributing both to our offensive and defensive game.  While I am on that topic- that’s another tough aspect the regular fan may not know about the minors.  In a week or two you could be sent off to another team in a different state or time zone.  Some guys on our team have been sent to Charleston, South Carolina (Low A)and Trenton, New Jersey (Double A), other New York Yankees minor league affiliates.  It really is a wild lifestyle. 

Well, that’s all for now.  I will be back in a week or so to update again!  Thanks to everyone who reads and comments.

Matt Cusick

Cue’s Corner

Dear family, friends, fans, bloggers, and most importantly-moms, Happy Mother’s Day.  I hope that every mom, grandma, host mom, step mom, and team mom have a great day today.  Speaking of which, my mom was just out to visit for about a week.  I am originally from California, so it was a long trip for her out here to visit, although I think she enjoyed her stay watching us play.  Also, my girlfriend came out a few weeks ago to visit, and is planning another trip currently.  It is always nice to have visitors during the long season, especially when you are so far from home.

Today is an off day for us, and we do out best to take advantage of them.  (We only get about 1 every 2 weeks!)  I use off days as time to relax and get away from baseball.  I am probably going to head to the pool since it is such a nice day here in Florida, and maybe go see a movie later this afternoon. 

I will also be tuning in later to watch the Laker game.  I am not a huge basketball fan, but I used to go to a few Laker games back in college.  Our campus is literally walking distance from where they play.  I would like to see the Lakers go all the way, although I don’t see anyone stopping Lebron James and the Cavaliers right now.  They look unstoppable.

Thank you all for your cooking comments.  My roommate Eric just recently bought ‘A Man, A Can, A Plan’ and has put together a few recipes.  The cornbread casserole is really good! 

I have not been to the Dallas Bull, although I have heard of it.  In fact, some of the guys were talking about going to see country singer Eric Church perform there in a couple weeks.  I will definitely visit there before my days in Tampa end.  And yes, I enjoy Toby Keith a lot!  In fact, I used his song “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” as my walkup song to hit back in 2007 when I was in short-season A ball. 

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and Happy Mother’s Day!

Matt Cusick

-Errors and omissions-

Over the past week I learned how to properly spell “Yuker”.  “Euchre” is how it is spelled in Webster’s.  I didn’t major in English so your gonna have to take it easy on me!  Also, I was informed by one of our coaches, Tim McIntosh, that “barbequing” is when you are cooking our for at least 3 hours, while “grilling” is the proper terminology used for cooking for less than 3 hours.  Back in California we only use the term barbeque.  My deepest apologies.  Haha.

First Blog Entry

Yankee fans- this is Matt Cusick, infielder for the Tampa Yankees.  I am taking over for Bradley Suttle’s post, who did a great job in spring training.  You may or may not have heard of me, since I am relatively new to the Yankees.  I was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in 2007 out of USC (the real one not South Carolina!)  Last August, at the trade deadline, I was sent to the Yankees in exchange for pitcher Latroy Hawkins.

We are about one month into the season, and our team has hit its first major speed bump.  We all know that the season is a long grind, and the key to being successful is working hard and trying to limit the inevitable tough times.  Everyone on the team is battling through this, and I am confident that things will get better in no time.

Our team chemistry is great.  We have the typical jokesters on the team who keep the clubhouse fun and loose.  Most of the guys, including myself, play cards in the clubhouse to help pass the down time.  I have already learned some new games like Golf, Rummy, and Yuker. 

Enough about baseball.  My roommates, Eric Fryer and Tommy Baldridge, love cooking and barbequing after games.  It gets tough though because we are so hungry after the game and don’t have the patience for lengthy recipes.  If you guys have any good recipes that are quick and easy, please send them over!  We would greatly appreciate it. 

I also love country music.  Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Sugarland, and Jason Aldean are some of my favorites.  My roommates and I are trying to get concert tickets for one of our off days. 

I am also a huge fan of the TV show “The Office”.  In fact, a huge fan is an understatement.  I cannot get enough of Michael and Dwight.  I also watch Seinfeld, Family Guy, Entourage, Two and a Half Men, and King of Queens on a regular basis. 

Well, that’s all I got for today.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, and I will do my best to answer them all next week.  Until next time, go Yanks!

Matt Cusick

 

Spring Training Comes to a Close

Spring Training officially ended after our inter-squad games.  Everyone packed up their equipment and hit the road, except for the guys who are staying in Extended Spring Training.  This is exactly what it sounds like, an extension of Spring Training, you have pretty much the same routine until the draft and the rookie ball teams start.  Any players that are injured or didn’t make a team stay in Extended.  This was the longest week for most of the guys, everyone was anxious to start the season and ready for a couple days off, for a change of scenery, to sleep late and most of all get out of the hotel.  All or most organizations put players up in a hotel for spring training if they don’t have another place to stay.  You can imagine after staying in a hotel room with a roommate that you may or may not like for a month or more… you are ready to move out.  I stayed in the hotel last year, but this year I was lucky enough have a friend here in Tampa that let me stay at his place.  Thanks so much Jake!!

This week we continued the same schedule as last week.  I will be staying in Extended Spring Training to continue rehab until I am healthy and ready to play in games.  I started throwing again, and that went well.  I haven’t started taking batting practice yet, but I anticipate I will start this upcoming week.  A lot of people are asking when I will be ready and where I will be.  That is another tough part about our life as Minor League players.  You never know where you will be or what the team has planned for you, and even if you did, plans can and will change all the time.  I do know it will be at least a few months before I will be able to play infield and I am hoping I will be able to DH within the month.     

This weekend I was able to do a few fun things.  On Friday night a friend of mine invited me to the Chris Tomlin concert that I wanted to go to.  Chris Tomlin is one of the most talented worship leaders in the World as well as an amazing song writer.  So I was really excited to have the opportunity to go to the concert with some of my friends.  The concert was really good and after the concert we went out to eat and ten minutes after we sit down the band walks in.  We got to meet the band and hang out with them for a little while.  On Saturday after practice I meet my friends Garrett and Daniel in St. Pete to check out the Indy Car race that is going on in downtown St. Pete.  I had been to an Indy car race when I was young and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to go again.  It was also a great experience, to see cars going upwards of 200 mph in downtown!  We didn’t see the main race, but there was another race going on and some other stuff.

Thanks again for reading have a great week and God Bless!   

Beginning of “The Grind”

Hello Fans.  I think this was the first week that everyone, including myself (Who hasn’t been able to play in any games) is starting to get tired and sore.  The excitement of playing ball again has also worn down and not having a day off this month have all combined to start what baseball players call, “The Grind”.  That is why everyone was thankful that we pretty much had an off day today.  We were planning on having a shorter day today, but thanks to the rain we ended up having a really short day.  We still had to come to the field, some guys needed treatment, a few pitchers needed to throw but the rest of the guys had a short meeting and then could leave. 

Not a whole lot happened this week off the field.  Like I said before I have been so tired I have just wanted to hang out and relax, but I was invited to share my testimony and some of my knowledge about hitting with a local high school baseball team.  I really enjoyed talking with the kids about life and baseball.  It also reminded me how blessed I am.  Sometimes I forget where I am and how far I’ve come to get here.  It has become “normal” to me that I am a professional baseball player with the New York Yankees.  But in reality there aren’t many people in my position or that have been able to learn so much about baseball.  So it was exciting to be able to hang out with some kids and share with them a little of what I have learned, but more importantly show them that they can achieve their dreams.   

I started hitting off a tee and taking some soft toss this past week.  My shoulder continued to feel better and get stronger, so tomorrow I am planning on taking batting practice and picking back up my throwing program.  There is only one week left of Spring Training, which I can’t believe, and it doesn’t look like I will be ready to play at the start of the season.  This is disappointing, but all I can do is take it one day at a time, work hard, and hope for the best. 

Thanks again for taking to time to read my blog.  I hope that everyone has a great week.  Next week the teams will be assigned and everyone will head off to their respective team, so catch up with me next week!

 

Games Begin

Hello fans.  We are about half way through Spring Training and I can’t believe it.  Time flies when you are working hard and having fun.  The biggest news this week was we started playing games.  Early this week we started facing live pitchers in practice then we progressed to scrimmaging, and the last two days we played the Pirates.  On days that we play games in Tampa we will have practice in the morning, consisting of mostly team oriented drills, batting practice, lunch, the game (around one o’clock), then conditioning and weights.  On days that we travel we usually just take batting practice, grab a sandwich to take on the bus, game and then travel back.  So our days are a little longer now, sometimes not getting out till after five.  The team I am playing/practicing with right now, Tampa Yankees, is looking really good.  I am excited to be a part of such a talented group of players and I am even more eager to see if we can win a championship this year. 

On Wednesday we had a shortened day, partly to give us a little rest since we are going seven days a week, and also to recognize the teams in our organization that won championships (this year our AA affiliate the Trenton Thunder and our AAA affiliate the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees both won championships).  We were off a little early so my roommate from last year, Carmen Angelini, and I decided to have a little cook out and have some guys over to hang out.  It was a blast.  We ended up having about 6-8 guys over, Carmen after some trouble getting the coals burning grilled some amazing chicken and steak, while I took care of the side dishes.  It was really nice to have a relaxing home cooked meal with your teammates away from the baseball field.

This week I continued to rest my arm.  My arm is feeling better than last week so I was able to start swinging again.  Off the field, I spent most of time my time resting, which consist of hanging out, reading, and watching 24.  Playing every day is already starting to catch up with me plus I am fighting off a cold and allergies.    

 

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