A Day in the Majors


Editor's Note: This is a weekly chronicle of the life & times of PGA TOUR star Pat Perez. Visit him at www.PatPerezGolf.com for Pat's daily blog, music-fueled photo galleries, online store & more.
Hey Everyone. Double P here checking in from Scottsdale this week. I just got back home Monday after a weekend out in Philadelphia. I headed back east to hang with my bud Pat Burrell (LF, Phillies). He trains and lives in Scottsdale during the off season so he, Mark Mulder (Pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals) and I definitely have a good time and tear it up when our seasons end.
I headed out last Thursday night and Burrell was flying in from the Phillies series at Milwaukee. We met up, grabbed dinner and geared up for a long weekend at the ballpark.
I found out earlier in week that PB had me lined up to take some batting practice before their weekend series with the Red Sox. Some of my old buds from back in the day might recall how much I dug the batting cages at Family Fun Center in San Diego. Thankfully the elbow was feeling better because there was no way Id miss the opportunity to take BP in the big leagues before a Phillies vs. Red Sox series.
I headed into the locker room and they had a No.1 Phillies jersey with Perez on the back in a locker for me. Unfortunately I wasnt allowed to wear it on the field because it was retired for Philly legend Richie Ashburn years ago. My caddy mentioned to me after the fact that I shouldve had them put #60 on the jersey to commemorate my 12-under round at the Bob Hope last January. (Wish you told me that beforehand, H. Your time.)
Third Base Coach Bill Dancy threw BP for me and Hitting Coach Milt Thompson was busting on me for not crowding the plate enough. Of course as soon as I did, Dancy started throwing inside, giving me some chin music. I guess I didnt get the memo that it was Pick on the PGA TOUR Guy Day.
Manager Charlie Manuel was telling me to tee up a golf ball and hit it out of the stadium. I wasnt sure if he was kidding, but either way I didnt trust my aim enough after seven weeks off. Last thing I need to do is take out a Philly fan.
Not to mention with over 44,000 in attendance the whole experience was a little bit intimidating. I dont like to whiff at the batting cages in front of friends, let alone in front of a capacity crowd at Citizens Bank Park.
After BP, I checked out both teams locker rooms and got to chew the fat with Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Curt Schilling ' who Ive met a bunch in Scottsdale out at Athletes Performance, where we both work out.
All of the Phillies were solid as well. Everyone was extremely cool and made me feel at home. It amazing to me how many of them love golf and had questions about the game. As much as I wanted to know about life in MLB, all these guys were interested in what we do on the PGA TOUR.
Surprisingly, the routines are pretty similar. The guys all get to the park in the morning, hit the locker rooms, change, talk shop, tell stories, joke around and then start getting down to business. Early BP at 3:30, stretching at 4:20, another round of BP, opponents take their BP at 5:30 and then back in the locker room until the 7:05 game time where its more hanging out and getting mentally prepared.
Matt Clement was throwing for Boston on Friday night, so the Philly video guys put together footage of him throwing in past games. They have this stuff playing throughout the clubhouse on all the TVs so everyone can watch his action and get a feel for what hell throw that night. Again, one of those things youd never really think of ' but like all professional sports, there is a science and method behind everything.
I ended up going to all three games this weekend and watched from the suite with friends and family of the players.
Another thing I thought was solid was how everyone went nuts over Aaron Rowland when his picture popped up on the big screen. Hes on the DL right now from running face first into the outfield wall last week.
I got to talk to him and hes still jacked up. Stitches in his lip and bruises all over. He explained that the guys who set up the field forgot to put the bottom padding on the wall. Of course thats the night he goes face first at full speed. No regrets, though. Hed do it all again and thats why his teammates and the fans love him. When he gets back from injury, that crowd will go nuts for him.
That was pretty much my weekend ' three ball games, a couple rounds of BP and getting to hit the town with King Burrell. He really is the man in Philly.
As for my golf game, I finally got down to business and hit a ton of balls on Tuesday. Im a bit rusty, but Im feeling pretty solid. Ive been back in the gym for two-a-days this week and Im trying to get my strength and stamina where it needs to be so I can compete against the best of the best. Im taking it slow and I know Ill get it back, but Im a little frustrated my game is off right now and that I lost so much of the strength I worked on building up last year in the off season. I know Ill get it back, but Im a little impatient right now.
Next Thursday at The Memorial, I am going to get after it pretty hard. Im not expecting too much my first week back out there. My goal is to finish the tournament and remain pain-free. If so, itll be off to the Barclays Classic and time to climb back up the money list. I was No. 31 the week after the Players Championship and two months later Ive slipped all the way to No. 56.
I really want to push myself to the limit that first week. Its the only way to really see if Im ready to go. Worst case scenario, I re-aggravate the elbow, withdraw and have to sit the rest of 2006 out. I dont even want to really let my mind go there, but I know its a possibility. Better to find out right away than to go light for a few weeks and re-aggravate it on a big shot a month from now screw up my status for 2007.
Ill just get out there next week, hope to play good, give 110%, stay within myself and let the chips fall where they may (I love sports clichs ' dont you?)
A special thanks this week to my boy Burrell and the Philadelphia Phillies organization ' especially Charlie Manuel, Bill Dancy, Mick Billmeyer and Milt Thompson. That was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and something Ill remember for a long time. Ill get those PPGolf shirts in the mail for everyone.
Also, check out PatPerezGolf.com and the blog section in the next week or so as well have video footage of me taking BP live on the site.
See you at The Memorial. ' Double P
patperezgolf.comEmail your question for a future column to cb@patperezgolf.com
Pat Perez is in the midst of his fifth season on the PGA Tour. 'Double P' earned his PGA Tour card as the Q-School Medalist in 2001 and was part of the 1996 NCAA National Championship golf team at Arizona State University. Visit Pat at his website www.patperezgolf.com or his page at MySpace.com