Posted on: July 11, 2011 9:36 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 10:11 pm

I found someone happy Jeter's not here!

PHOENIX -- Weary of all this talk about how the Yankees' Derek Jeter should be in attendance at this All-Star Game, I went looking for someone who agrees that he shouldn't be anywhere near this event.

I found the guy.

And truth be told, it wasn't all that difficult, either.

Meet David Price. Yeah, THAT David Price.

Guy who served up the homer that was Jeter's 3,000th hit in New York on Saturday.

In fact, Price surrendered Jeter's first three hits on Saturday -- single, homer, double -- and yet appeared startled when I told him I had him figured for the one guy who is glad Jeter is nowhere near Phoenix.

"I'm not mad about it," Price said, smiling. "I love it.

"When he first hit it Saturday, I was mad when it went over the fence. Then I was like, 'It's Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, get over it.

"I understand people want to see him. But he's trying to get his body ready for the second half. He's been on an emotional roller coaster these past couple of weeks. He's the ultimate team guy and he's trying to get ready to help the Yankees in the second half."

OK, enough with the respect.

Now, David, the truth ... you saw enough of him on Saturday, right? You're sick and tired of him, right?

"I might be," Price said, eyes twinkling. "I wouldn't mind seeing Derek Jeter one bit -- but I'd ask him what he's going to give me [for surrendering his 3,000th hit].

"Aw, I'm just kidding."

Likes: Really fun talking with the three Pittsburgh All-Stars and seeing their excitement -- outfielder Andrew McCutchen, closer Joel Hanrahan and starter Kevin Correia. ... Ditto first-time All-Star Michael Cuddyer of the Twins. ... Padres closer Heath Bell having his father, wife and kids in tow at the press conferences Monday so he could share the All-Star excitement. Very, very cool. ... Glad to see Adrian Gonzalez getting his due in Boston. He was so overlooked and underrated when he was playing hidden in San Diego. And he's a class act who is intelligent and thoughtful as well as highly skilled. ... Very interesting seeing the Biltmore, the luxury resort where John McCain gave his election night concession speech after losing the last presidential election. ... Rokerij, best restaurant in Phoenix. The blackened salmon with apple chile was sensational Sunday night (as were the green chile potato, roasted beets and prickly pear margarita that came with it). ... Rubio's Fish Tacos, a San Diego staple blossoming in Phoenix. The manager of the joint we stopped by for lunch Monday was so sweet, too. She was a baseball fan and, overhearing All-Star talk at our table, she brought over four warm churros on the house.

Dislikes: The Home Run Derby. The rules are convoluted and it continues forever. And I mean, forever. Does it really need to be three hours? Of course, I'm also the guy that gets worn out quick at a movie by special effects. A little bit goes a long way, just like home runs. It's why I hated Super 8.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"We learned in Sunday school
"Who made the sun shine through
"I know who made the moonshine, too
"Back where I come from
"Blue eyes on a Saturday night
"Tan legs in the broad day light
"TV's, they were black and white
"Back where I come from"

-- Mac MacAnally, Back Where I Come From


Posted on: March 30, 2010 2:41 am

Giants' Panda not on bamboo diet

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There's a rich history in baseball of players who have eaten themselves out of the game and, together, Pablo Sandoval and the Giants are working to make sure that doesn't happen to one of the most exciting young hitters around.

Sandoval is blessed with inordinate strength, incredible hand-eye coordination and a body that looks like it came straight from a cartoon. As he focuses on maintaining his strength but not adding weight, he's working with a nutrition company that sends meals straight to the stadium for him.

"Fish, chicken, fruit, salads," Sandoval says.

More and more clubs are working toward being smart about nutrition. St. Louis this year is re-constituting its clubhouse food all the way down through its farm system. The Giants did it a year or two ago. Other clubs are doing the same. And the days of the post-game food spread consisting of ribs and burgers in big league clubhouses are becoming a thing of the past.

Where Sandoval is concerned, the Giants list his weight as 252 but reports are that he was up over 260 last season. Given that he's just 23, that's a concern -- not just for his baseball career, but for his off-the-field future.

When I asked him what his weight was up to last season, he grinned bashfully and said, "I can't tell."

When I asked him where he's at now, I got the same bashful grin and the same answer.

But Sandoval and the Giants were smart, scheduling the Kung Fu Panda to meet with a nutritionist each Friday during the winter starting early last November. There, he learned about things like calories, portions and protein. Right now, he says he's supposed to get about 1,700 calories a day.

"Something like that," Sandoval says.

"I'm working hard," he adds. "I feel great. I'm moving well in the field, I've been running hard and I don't lose my power."

What people forget is that language isn't the only barrier for players who come over from the Latin American countries (Sandoval is from Venezuela).

"The food is different," he says. "I'm learning about how you have to eat in the off-season, too. I'm trying to eat the right portions."

The most difficult thing?

"The fast food," he says. "Especially in the minor leagues. Late in the night, after a game, you're eating McDonald's. The fast food tastes good, but it is bad for you.

"Everything is different here. You don't have your mom's cooking."

What is his favorite thing that his mother makes?

"Lasagna," he says, beaming.


"Rice and chicken."

As long as he bypasses the drive-thru windows, Panda should be on his way.

Sunblock Day? Ah, 80s in the desert.

Likes: Kay, the woman "guarding" the door to the San Francisco Giants clubhouse. A retiree, Kay is so fierce that she keeps a bowl of candy on her table for reporters to dip into on their way inside. But what caught my eye was her knitting -- she was finishing up a wash cloth when I came upon her the other day. It struck me because it was a similar style to those that my grandmother once knitted. And those are the world's best dish rags -- I've hoarded them for years. Sadly, my grandmother no longer is with us, but I smile each time I pull out one of her wash cloths to do the dishes at home after a meal. "I've read four books this spring and knitted 12 of these wash cloths," Kay said. And this is part of what makes spring training so great, meeting retirees and snowbirds who get these seasonal jobs at the local ballparks simply because they love the game and want to be close to it. Some of these folks could not be more pleasant. We've all got our places in this world, and life is a whole lot richer if you keep your eyes open to your surroundings. What a sweetheart Kay is.

Dislikes: Richardson's Cuisine of New Mexico burned down last summer so, sadly, that's off the dinner circuit this spring in Phoenix. But the good news is, the same folks own Rokerij here in Phoenix (it means "smokehouse" in Dutch) and they're offering dual menus. The Rokerij menu (pronounced "Roke-a-ree") and the Richardson's menu. Thanks to Paul Jensen, a jack-of-all-trades media guru who is working as a consultant to the Camelback Ranch facility housing the Dodgers and White Sox, for pointing this out. Because of this bit of intelligence, I had as good a dinner as I've had this spring the other night: Sensational blackened mahi-mahi, green chili mashed potatoes and roasted beets. And yes, Richardson's famous Prickly Pear margarita. The Rokerij rocks.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Out here the nights are long, the days are lonely
"I think of you and I'm working on a dream
"I'm working on a dream
"Now the cards I've drawn, it's a rough hand, darlin'
"I straighten my back and I'm working on a dream
"I'm working on a dream

-- Bruce Springsteen, Working on a Dream

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