Well another minor-league season is almost in the books and it seems like yesterday I was getting set for spring training and packing my things to head to my first Nationals camp in Melbourne Florida. I really can’t believe how fast this season truly went, as any constant reader of my blog would know the season didn’t start off the way for me that I thought it was going to but I can’t say one thing I have learned more in this season, than I have any of my other past seasons with the Rangers or with the Nationals. This season was filled with a lot of ups and downs for me but I’m truly thankful for everything that I’ve been able to experience and accomplish throughout this year, and I feel like I have become a more polished pitcher this year and have done a lot of baseball “growing up.”

With this season coming to an end many of my readers have asked me what the plans are for us minor leaguers as we head into our offseason.  Although there really isn’t one thing that minor leaguers do in their off-season I can start to give you a bit of a glimpse of what it’s like for us to finally have some off time.  I know many my readers are thinking “man you play a game for living, how could you want an off-season?”  But just like any job it does take a lot out of your mind and your body and it does become very taxing. Some people like to get as far as they can from the field, and dive into some of their other hobbies which include hunting fishing and just being with their friends and family. For the people who just like to get away from the field this time is spent trying reflect on your past year and what you liked about it what you didn’t like about it and trying to make sure you know what you have to work on to prepare for the next season.  A lot of people just need the mental break of being away from the game and to get away from the scrutiny and the ups and downs. Sometimes, us players just need their families and be a “normal” person for a while. The game is a quite taxing experience especially when you play 140 games, and although there is a lot of weightlifting running swinging throwing  to be done in the off-season a lot of times in the beginning people just get away. Just like any regular job that has the weekends off we need these off-season months to be able to unwind and get away from everything for a while. Throughout the season you tend to wear your heart on your sleeve, and this game can make you crazy if you don’t have an even keel about everything.

Besides going home and relaxing in the off-season there is a second option which many minor leaguers choose to pursue as well. That option is to go play winter ball in a Caribbean country, there are many reasons why players would choose to go down play 70 more games during their off-season. Some people go down because they didn’t get enough at-bats during the regular season or they’re trying to show their skills for other teams because they’re minor-league free-agents next year. There are also a lot of big-league players that go down to Venezuela the Dominican Republic Columbia Nicaragua and Puerto Rico to continue to so they don’t get rusty. 

When it comes to playing winter ball there is a fine line that has to be walked by these teams in the off-season because they have to get permission from your major league team to talk to you to see if you have any interest in playing down there for them but the major league team may have some rules that the winter ball team has to follow to have one of their guys on their team.  Winter ball is a great experience because you get to play in front of packed stadiums vivacious crowds, and you also get to test yourself in different pressure situations against a high-caliber opponent.  I am very excited to say that the Los Bravos de Margarita of the Venezuelan professional baseball league extend an invitation for me to be a part of their 2012 pitching staff which I happily accepted.  I know that a lot of big-league baseball players go down there to play and I cannot wait to test myself against the competition. This season has been full of ups and downs for me and it has been no secret that I have had my fair share of struggles this year. There are many reasons why I chose to go play winter ball this year, which I’ll go over in my future blog posts. I guess I can add this to the list of off-season winter jobs I have had since I became a minor-league baseball player, although this is a bit better than being a blockbuster manager or Kohl’s shelf stock boy.

Although the season isn’t what I wanted it to be I did has had some success at certain points throughout the year I am very eager to capitalize on the success and to make a more consistent thing. Although this is my last blog post of this minor-league season I will continue to blog from Venezuela and give you the reader a first-hand look at the continuing journey that it is to get the major leagues. Some people’s road is a bit windier than others and they may take a few more detours, but in the end making it is all that matters.  I am very excited about the new challenge that has been given to me, and hopefully I will come back to the Nationals’ next spring training a more refined, smarter pitcher than I was in 2011.

I took a look at the page counter just a few days ago on my blog and I would just like to thank the 2000+ of you that have read my blog post or the one person that has read it two thousand times either way I cannot express to you all how thankful I am that you guys continue to read my blog, this is something along with being on the diamond that love to do very much and you guys keep giving me the inspiration to keep writing every time you visit the page. Thank you all very much!!

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