Spring has sprung…

Giants 8 | Mariners 7

Unfortunately, work got in the way of my ability to listen as the familiar voices of Dave and Rick once again graced the Seattle airwaves with BASEBALL this afternoon, signaling the true beginning of Spring.

While I’m not able to recount the first hit, stolen base, batter strikeout, pitcher strikeout, pitcher walk and batter walks (yes – apparently, there were MULTIPLE of those!) there are plenty other reports about the first M’s Cactus League game like a hometown CY facing a homegrown HoF’er and other details like Lopey finally getting to make a play at third and Ryan Feierabend back from Tommy John surgery.

I was, however, able to listen to a good portion of the first Cactus League Report on 710 ESPN this evening.  I caught most of Mark Lowe’s visit with Shannon and Rick – here’s what I remember…

on overall feeling at camp….
This camp is, in a word, LOOSE.  This seems to be, in no small part, due to the continuity of the coaching staff – an element that cannot be over estimated in its benefit and value to the team.  There is a trust already built that allows for players to use their own judgement regarding when it’s okay to joke around and when it’s time to get to work.

on the bullpen’s success last year…
“Togetherness” was a big factor.  Early on, they made a pact to support one another, hold no grudges, feel no envy or jealousy regarding number of innings and or roles.  Good thing – as there were a LOT of role changes last season, but instead of pulling them apart, they got tighter as a group.  An there was the “huddle”, details of which canNOT be revealed.

on his personal development last season…
Wetteland is BIG on the mental approach to the game and helped Mark harness his adrenaline.  They use a ‘rating system’ – a scale of 50-100 to gage their effectiveness.  For Mark 80 is about optimal “amp-titude” pumped up enough to be excited, but still focused enough to maintain control.

on “starter number two”…
Mark has talked to him at length several times already and finds Cliff to be very baseball intelligent and willing to share his experience – when he talks, everyone listens.

on off-season communication…
a LOT of texting (with Shawn Kelley being the “master texter”)

on the new fitness approach…
It was strange at first, with no weights, but everything makes sense and fits more what baseball is – fast, push, pull, bands, resistance, rotation, etc.  Oh, and yoga is VERY beneficial for pitchers.

on 2010 goals…
Throw strikes and stay healthy.

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