On Saturday, I was called on to pinch-hit in the ninth. I hadn’t played, but like I’ve mentioned before, staying sharp and approaching things the right way from an attitude standpoint is huge. It could be a situation where any one of us who isn’t playing can sit back and be upset about not playing and sit back and pout about the things they’re not doing, but if you approach things the right way and get your work in the cage and do all the things you need to do — like today we took extra hitting on the field — good things happen. They might not happen right away, but it’ll benefit not only you as a player but help the team win ballgames. It’ll get you in the lineup a lot more, and that’s what I’ve taken pride in is approach my workouts on and off the field as an everyday player and it really keeps you ready for those type of situations so when you’re standing at the plate, you’re not panicking. You’re relaxed and feel confident that you’re going to put the ball in play somewhere.
I think that was a first for me on Saturday — I’ve never been pinch-run for in my life. If you think about it, you get a guy like Joey on first base and the catcher might be a little more worried about having a runner in scoring position. Having the pitcher slide step might have caused him to leave a changeup up in the zone. When a pitcher has one more thing to worry about with the running game, that’s something that a lot of people don’t realize can have a big effect on what the hitter does at the plate.
I’ve never raced Joey. I have a pretty good feeling that he’s faster than I am. He’s probably jumped over a lot more cars than I have. I was thinking of putting something on YouTube of Reed Johnson jumping over a car and it may be a Matchbox type car or a Tonka truck. I’m sure people would get a kick out of that. That’s the extent of the cars I’ll jump over.
I think we’re excited to get home. Most of us have wives or girlfiends or somebody back in Chicago getting things set up, like the furniture situation or getting into the apartment, getting your cable set up and electricity set-up, and all that type of stuff that you have to take care of when you’re moving into your place.
It’ll definitely be nice to be home. I think you almost have an exhibition game/Spring Training kind of mentality because we haven’t been home yet. I think the atmosphere in Houston and the atmosphere here in Milwaukee, obviously being Opening Day week, you get to see a lot of enthusiasm from the fans. Like I mentioned last time, it leaks into both clubhouses and the teams look at it as a do or die situation or almost a playoff atmosphere. Once we get home and we’re able to sleep in our own beds and enjoy the same restaurants we’ve enjoyed for however many years that guys have been playing in the city of Chicago, once we get into that regular routine, it’ll be a lot easier for everybody.
We haven’t gotten to wear the pinstripes yet. That’s always a good sign. Being able to see the electricity and the way the fans appreciate the team is always exciting for everybody as well. Guys love Opening Day but you want to get on with the grind of playing every day and try to win ballgames and get in that regular routine.