Thayer Thursdays
Matt Thayer
Padres Prospect
Posted Mar 17, 2005

You may not know the name Matt Thayer. Taken in the 31st round of the 2004 draft out of UCLA, Matt is young, eager, hard working and realistic. continues to give you a look behind the curtain, and in the clubhouse, with the debut of Thayer Thursdays, where Matt, like Sean Thompson, will give readers a behind the scenes look at life in the minors.

So I know that you have all heard of Sean Thompson. Why wouldn’t you, he’s only one of the best left-handed pitchers in our organization, he’s spending this spring with the big boys on the big field and he’s a heck of a nice guy at that. See, I would know this because I got to spend a few weeks with him in Ft Wayne towards the end of last season. I witnessed his dominance on the mound that got him the invite to Big League camp while I happily sat on the bench excited about my promotions from Eugene.

That’s right excited to be in the Midwest league. It’s the first step on a long journey to reach the heights of Thompson, but it is a step. So here I am grinding it out in the minors and getting ready to report to my first spring training

Faced with the daunting task of packing for six month not knowing where I am going or when I am going to be there, I find myself standing in the middle of a luggage store looking for a bag that I can fit everything I may need. After starring into my closet for the better part of Thursday afternoon, I cram everything I can into the two bags that I am allowed to check on the airplane. There is no doubt that I am well over the weight limit but what can you do when you have a half dozen new maples that you really can not live without.

After a long night of thinking about everything I forgot to pack and saying goodbye to friends and loved ones, the morning arrives a little sooner than expected. At this point I tell myself that I can buy anything that I forgot to pack when I get there as long as I have my ID and cell phone. Halfway to the airport I realize that, oh yes I have forgotten one of the essentials forcing me to spend a little more time stuck in Los Angeles traffic. Finally, I arrive at the airport leaving me just enough time to check in and receive my "Group C" boarding pass that assures that I will sit in the middle seat between two arm rest hogs and that there will be no overhead bin space left. By the way, my bag was two pounds over the max weight but the very nice lady at the check-in counter let it slide this time. The flight was rather uneventful and my seat neighbors were quite accommodating.

I arrive at the hotel around 1 pm and the first thing they tell me is that I have a 7am MLB drug test and physical the next day (not too surprising). I head to my room set a 6 am wake up call and turn in for the night. The wake up call comes as planned and I head down to the lobby to catch the van to the complex. Somehow we cram sixteen people plus equipment into a twelve-passenger van leaving me just enough room to saddle up on my equipment bag in the way way back.

We unload at the complex like a bunch of college students trying to set some sort of new record. On the way to the clubhouse, we walk through the player’s parking lot that by the way, doubles as a car show. I do some catching up with all my buddies that I left roughly six months earlier before I head off to see the doctor. After taking care of all the "first day" essentials, I take a minute to savor a bowl of oatmeal (they really do have a nice spread for us but under the time constraints I didn’t get a chance to enjoy it, maybe tomorrow) before I dress out and head to the field for warm-up, stretch and BP.

The first day went as smooth as possible, seeing that it was the first day. It really doesn’t get much better than getting out there and playing a game you love with all of your good buddies. The next few weeks should be full of surprises and I’ll surely keep you up to date on any happenings. Until then….


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