Posted by: Ryan | October 4, 2010

Wanna Be Like Bautista

By now, the players for all of the teams that did not make the playoffs would have made it to their homes. I know that it’s sad not to be playing ball in October. But I like to think of the joy of being, say, José Bautista, who hit 54 home runs for the Blue Jays this year, and who I expect is now back in the Dominican.

Even in these times of core conditioning and year-round training, baseball players take at least a month off to let their bodies heal immediately after the season. So José has a month to drive his dark-tinted SUV around Santo Domingo, visiting friends, padding across the tiled floors of their patios in his leather sandals, shaking hands, hugging, accepting congratulations for a great year, feeling his body unkink and stop aching for the first time since March. He’s going to eat his mother’s cooking, and maybe take his kids to school in the morning, listening to soca on the radio as he drives back to his house, to squeeze some grapefruit juice for his wife, stretch out with the paper, then fall asleep in mid-morning before waking to stretch in his T-shirt and loose jeans. He’ll eat some beans and plantains for lunch, make love to his wife, then roll out of bed to get the kids before heading off to a relative’s house, family in tow, for more food, more congratulations, more hugs and greetings.

He’ll have to start training again, hard, come November. He’ll wrap that oversized rubber band around his leg and work his muscles once more, knowing that this is not going to stop for the next 11 months, knowing that next year he’ll have to try to prove that this season wasn’t a fluke. He’ll jog and sprint and take his 200 or 300 swings before hitting the weight room, trying to get that much better.

But for now, he can relax into the knowledge that this was a good season, that he did well, and he has earned this break.

It’s going to be a great month to be José.

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