Spring Training Nearing End

So apparently you guys have made me discover a new talent of mine and that is writing blogs.. who would have ever thought!

To give you a little context on that statement, I will give you a little bit of a background on my past and me. I have never been interested in English or writing which makes writing this blog a little bit different for me. I took an English class in college but that was mostly the extent of my writing. Now I find myself getting done with one blog and already coming up with new ideas for the next. I honestly think I could write about double the amount I have been haha but I will try and save everyone a little bit and try not to overdue it.

Since I have started this blog its opened my eyes to many different things. Writing is something I have found to come pretty easy. after seeing my dad write a book and almost be done with his second, I have started one myself. Might not sell one copy but I’m really enjoying trying to put it all together.

For this blog entry I wanted to take some time and thank the people that have got me here and give a little insight on my background that you might not know, and maybe get a little more in-depth than most entries will. To start, my family has played a huge part in getting me where I am in the game today. From my mom and dad getting me on teams, to my grandparents Nana and Papa taking me to practices, it has truly been a family effort.  Now spring is in full swing and its so nice to be able to have family in town and let them enjoy spring training with me. It’s really nice to have my grandparents get to head out to the games with my parents and enjoy the Florida sun. Family is a huge part of my life and I have always been very close to them.

Image

Dinner with parents at, you guessed it, Jettys!

Next, I am really thankful for the fans! Thanks to everyone reading my blog, everyone at every stadium across the nation, and everyone that follows the players on Twitter that have encouraging words as we hit the slumps that season brings. It has been really fun writing this blog because I get to interact with different individuals that I have never gotten to interact with.

Another perk is reading the comments on the page which I have started to respond to the comments so don’t be afraid to leave a comment. Another big shout out I have to give is to all of the rehab personnel I have worked with. There are so many people working with me to get me back on the field. It really is a cool process to have so many people back you up on the road to recovery.

The season is now coming up fast and I honestly have never been more excited. So many things have changed since the 2011 season. There were so many new faces in camp. It is crazy for me when I would head out to the field the first few days of camp and I honestly didn’t know half the people. Maybe I should do a better job of socializing!

With only a few days left rosters are getting close to being set and it’s fun to watch everyone get ready to head out from camp and get to where they are headed. You’ll see guys calling to ship their cars, guys trying to figure out who there living with, and everyone trying to figure out where they’re going to live. It really is hard to get everything done in such a short period of time, especially when you have no apartment where you’re headed or any furniture. We are really starting from scratch.

With that being said we all can’t wait to break camp and get to the teams and start playing games under the bright lights. After being in camp for a month it’s crazy to think it’s about to come to an end. I will try to get out another blog right at the start of season to let everyone know what I’m up to. I promise I’ll be having fun somewhere. Hope everyone is having a good week.

See you on twitter @jordanswagerty

God Bless and Happy Easter!

Family Time

One week left everyone, and a lot is going on! Wanted to take some time to let everyone know a little bit about my last week personally and a few things you might have missed at camp! I have been very fortunate that my family rented a place down here in Palm Beach and it has been a blast getting to hang with them every day.

My dad turned 55 this last week so I did get to enjoy his birthday with him. If you have ever been to Spring Training down here in Florida, I hope you have had a chance to stop by and eat at Jetty’s! It is by far my favorite place in the city and they really do have some unbelievable food. This is where I took my dad for his birthday and we truly had a great time. I went with the Hawaiian filet and I really wish I had a picture of it. It tastes almost like Hawaiian chicken but with a tender filet. Then we celebrated with a cake afterwards!

Image

Happy birthday Dad!

For all the dog lovers out there my girlfriend Guin and myself are looking at another puppy. We have really enjoyed the two that we have who are both males and we are thinking about adding a female to the pack. What do y’all think?? We have been looking for a while and found one that is a little bit more rare. She’s beautiful chocolate with brown in her coat which is pretty rare to find.

Image

What should we name her?

The last thing before we get to baseball is I am pretty pumped to have my sister in town for a few days. For those of you who don’t know her, her name is SaraBeth and she is a up-and-coming country artist. She has been on the road for the last few weeks doing a radio tour with many different radio stations where she would go in do a live concert and introduce her new songs to the listeners. If you get a chance check out out on Twitter at @SBSwags and her album Kickin’ and Screamin’ on iTunes!

Okay now on to what everyone wants to hear! Let’s talk baseball!! Things are looking good out there on the practice fields. There are many guys out there really bringing it and starting to make a name for themselves. I’m sure everyone knows Michael Wacha. He is bringing it and is looking strong, throwing it hard and mixing it up well. One of my good buddies Seth Blair is really commanding the strike zone well and getting people out.

To be honest there is really good baseball being played this camp. Guys are really hitting their stride early. It is very smooth baseball, meaning guys are making the plays in the field, pitchers are looking sharp really making pitches, and hitters are putting good swings on balls. It’s clear there was a lot of hard work put in this offseason, which is always good to see.

As for myself, I’m feeling strong! Rehab has been going great. We really have a great staff of guys that have been working with me and making sure I continue I head in the right direction! It really feels good to say I am facing hitters and my arm feels great!

One thing you might not know about me is I really am one of the most competitive people there is. I love being able to get back on the mound now and have fun. I love seeing hitters in the box. I love to compete and be able to throw all of my pitches at them and try to get them out. It has been a great camp because I get to compete again and that is one thing I have truly missed while I was rehabbing on my way back.

See you on twitter @jordanswagerty God bless!

A Day at the Ballpark

A few weeks into camp and time is flying! I am back to living and breathing baseball, seven days a week, 8 hours a day. What I am really looking forward to is the countdown to game time. It feels like just yesterday I was showing up to the field and getting everything put into my locker.

These first few weeks have been a ton of fun. The only down part has been the weather in South Florida. Who would have thought I would need my jacket almost every day of camp? It is making it hard for me to get anytime at the beach. Camp is in full swing now so here’s a dosage of my daily grind.

I am sure my teammates who weren’t off a whole season are looking at it more as a grind but it’s feeling fresh to me! The only thing is hearing my 8 different alarm clocks go off to make sure I am up at 6 am. I even have my girlfriend set her alarm to call me in the morning to make sure I am up, so I guess I am up to 9 alarms. Once I get past that, the fun begins.

I start my morning one of two ways; there is a chef at the field for breakfast, which has been awesome this year. It helps keep me on-track for nutrition. However, the other way is hitting up Bagel Boys, not all that nutritional but I definitely recommend it if you’re out here!

The next part of my day is getting ready in the training room. I have learned that the best way I have kept up with training is to get your work in before you go out to the field.  Everything physically that you can do to better yourself is key to getting stronger every day. The smallest things such as stretches, warm-ups, and strengthening exercises are what makes us better us as athletes and make us all around ready for season.

Personally, I have seen a huge difference in my pitching just by working on my flexibility. It is a big part of pitching so that has been my focus. After I am done in the training room I head back to my locker and have about 30 minutes before I head out to the field.

Flow is back for 2013

Flow is back for 2013

At the field I sometimes have some spare time to check out the stock market which I have become extremely interested in. I take time to read up on any potential trades or what is going on during that day.  I never understood the hype of stocks until I fully involved myself daily in it. I guess it is just like baseball for me, you have to put your all into it to really succeed.

Next its time to roll!  We’re in the quad at the complex in Jupiter. We will start off as a team, get the info for the day on what we all need to do. This really makes the day flow together when everyone knows where to be there and when. Once we know our daily plan we head off to our fields to stretch.

IMG_0770

Finally, my favorite part of my day: throwing.  After being out with Tommy John surgery and not being able to throw, it feels so new and fun. After we throw we will do some type of pitching drills then shag some BP for the hitters. I usually stand right by the fence and try to rob some home runs. Once batting practice is over we go back to the clubhouse for lunch.  After lunch, it’s time to watch the games. I check out how my buddies are doing, and maybe see some things I may try to pick up on to better my game.

Feels good to let loose!

Feels good to let loose!

This is my third Spring Training, but it almost feels like my first since I have been out for a year. Everything is very new and exciting. I truly couldn’t ask for a better job. I get to hang with my buddies, do what I love and progress myself as a person on the daily. Everyone reading this, if you have a chance, check out Spring Training either here in Florida or Arizona and catch some baseball!

See you on Twitter at @JordanSwagerty! God bless!

Back to SWAG

What’s up Cardinal nation and baseball fans??? My name is Jordan Swagerty and I’m a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals organization. I was drafted in the 2nd round in 2010 after playing at Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!).

I’m excited for the opportunity to blog about the everyday things that you may not hear about. I did a blog two years ago when I pitched in the Arizona Fall League (see links on right hand column) and enjoyed the experience. It has been a while since I have been involved in my normal baseball routine, so I’ll give you a recap of what happened.

Last year, when I was feeling on top of the world, I suddenly had to get Tommy John surgery. Let’s just say the least of my worries was the huge scar it left. Although it was a very low time in my life, I have had a lot of positive things that have come out of catching a bad break in the 24/7 life of baseball and I’d like to share them with you!

I was coming off a good season in 2011 and ready to start the 2012 season. I had an exciting opportunity to be at the big league camp and was ready to get the ball rolling. The only problem was I had a bone spur in the back of my elbow that was causing stabilization on my ligament in my elbow. I threw two bullpens in camp and was shut down. I originally thought I would just be out for a couple of weeks. That was not the case by any means. I would need surgery not only to file down the bone spur but also to reconstruct my UCL. I left camp and flew to LA to have my surgery done.

Now the fun part of rehab begins! When you think of being in rehab it might not sound like a lot of fun but I guess it could depend on who your physical therapist is and who the guys around you are. I got to rehab in Phoenix, Arizona, right by where I went to college. Already a positive, I had a lot of my core group of friends around me which helped keep my mind off the first few weeks of this new life I was about to start living and conquering.  Luckily, the PT facility I was at housed one of the best therapists, Keith Kocher. Not only is he a cool guy but he also shares a passion of mine; hunting and we were able to talk about it every day during my PT session.

The PT facility had about ten other rehabbers that also played baseball, which helped a lot of us become close since we were all in the same boat. It wasn’t always fun doing the exercises and lifting the light weights to get healthy again but I knew it had to be done to get back to where I wanted to be.

The next thing that made the last year of rehab do-able is I found many new hobbies. One that I never thought I would enjoy doing is reading. I read books that had to do with business, such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad, The ABC’s to Real Estate Investing by Ken McElroy and Millionaire by Halftime by my dad Presley Swagerty.

I also found out I really love going to the shooting range and firing off a few rounds.

The last thing and maybe the best is I did get two new puppies with my girlfriend, named Harlow and Oliver. Let me tell you, coming home to the pups is the highlight of my day. You can even follow them on Twitter @HarlowandOliver and Instagram!

Oliver on the left, Harlow on the right

Oliver on the left, Harlow on the right

Now it’s back to baseball time here in Palm Beach, Florida.  The games haven’t started yet but man, I’m eager to get rolling. It feels great to be back with the guys again. Being away for a year makes you feel a little distant when everyone else is still playing. I’m back to facing hitters again and getting to compete, which is something that has always been instilled in me.

As Zig Ziglar says, “attitude not aptitude determines your altitude” which I would say accurately described my past year of sitting on the bench, if you will. We will all go through adversity in our life but it’s how you handle it which really molds your character. Rehab was not the best process but I would say it has made me grow in every aspect of my life.

If you want some daily updates on the season or what I’m up to, follow me on Twitter @jordanswagerty. I am always up for comments, suggestions for the blog or maybe you just want me to touch on a subject, just let me know! God Bless! #SWAG

It’s a Wrap

The last week in the fall league has been a blast for the team. We have not played the best of the season, but are around 500 in the last 6 games. The fun part of the last week was going to watch the Rising Stars Game at our home field. A few of our teammates were on the team, so it was nice to see them show their skills in the the game. The game itself was a good game . . . it was 2-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. it had been a pitchers dual the whole game from strike outs to 101 mph fast balls.  We had seen it all. In the bottom of the ninth it was 2-2 and our side hit a walk off to win the game 3-2. That is the way an all-star game should end. 

The last week we got to do a few different things that I enjoyed.  I am a big hunter and with hunting season starting I have gone Bass Pro Shop and Cabella’s on my day off looking at different things for the upcoming hunts. I was able to experience the Scottsdale Fashion Square which is the best mall in the area. Since I was not pitching in the road games, I did not travel and had Tuesday and Thursday off. So it has been a relaxing week with the league starting to wind down.
The only problem I have come across is that last Tuesday I strained my oblique. I have never been injured, and I have never missed a game, so this was a new experience for me. It is a feeling that I don’t like. They made sure I didn’t throw for a week, and it is all healed.  However, instead of trying to get back out there it is best to call it an early off season and head home. So that makes this my last post. 
This Fall League was a blast. I got to meet a lot of great players and play some great baseball. It is no fun to not be able to finish up with the team, but I know they will do great. I want to thank everyone who has kept up with the blog and supported the Rafters this Fall league. 
Swagerty signing out!

How sweet is first place.

Well it has been a few days since I have signed in and wrote what is on my mind. A lot has happened since I last got on and shared. If you have checked the standings lately we have risen to the top of our division and have been there for a few days now. It is early in the season still but we are playing well. I think last time I wrote we were 1-2 and not playing as a team. That has really turned around. We went on a three game winning streak, which always helps. We also won the game we played today in Phoenix. I have gone to all the ballparks now and have realized how lucky we are to play at the complex in Surprise. It really is a beautiful ball park that is set up very well.

Now I think you should know what I have been up to in the beautiful retirement community of Surprise. I have found my favorite place to hang out when we’re free and that is the Brookside Bar and Grill. This is a sports bar that has a amazing bacon cheeseburger. The food is great but that is not the best par.  This bar has an electric dartboard!  So it’s a lot of fun to get a few of the guys and play and as you can imagine the games get pretty intense. I went to the mall in Peoria tonight which was nothing special but they do have great places to eat around the out side of the mall. I have gone over to have P. F. Changs and Cheesecake Factory multiple times. The other thing that is special in the state of Arizona are the golf courses. The pitching staff loves to take it to the course and get the swing going on the off days. There are many retired men and women that live in the town of Surprise and apparently the cool thing is having a golf cart. So instead of having a cool car I feel I need to custom a golf cart to fit in.
The team is having a lot of fun right now. In the game today we went into extra innings where Adron Chambers had two RBIs in the 10th inning to give us the runs we needed to win the game. We have been playing good defense and pitching well but our offense is something special. It is fun to sit down in the bullpen and wait on us to have a big inning. Yesterday’s game we were winning 2-0 and some how they scored 7 to make it 7-2.  The next inning we scored 6 to take the lead back. We can always count on our hitters to give the pitching staff what we need to win.
That’s all I have for this post so hopefully the next time I post we’ll still be on top of the division!

What A Team.

The last few days have been unbelievable. The league is everything I thought it would be and more. I would like to start this entry by talking a little bit about the team and what a normal day in the life of an Arizona Fall League player is like. 

First, the guys on the team are some of the most down to earth guys I have been around not to mention some of the most talented. The way it is set up is we are one team comprised of five major league organizations. Our team is made up of the Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Detroit Tigers. Its a fun experience to meet players from different organizations because they all come from different leagues and all have different stories to tell. Another thing I find interesting is playing against many of these players before in different places and finally playing on the same team and talking about past games against one another. For instance I live with Zack Cox who we played last year in college. So there are always things to give each other a hard time about.
The day in the life of an AFL player is one that is pretty fun. The only downside is waking up between 7-7:30 AM every morning. Beside that everything is a blast! I will wake up and head to the field, I try to get there a little early just incase there is something I need to do. When I get there I always eat. There is always a nice spread for us to eat. After we eat we will hang out for a bit there are a few TV’s in the locker room which will always be in TBS in the morning which will be showing ” Saved By The Bell ” followed by ” Yes Dear ” then my favorite ” Fresh Prince of Bell Air “. Then we will get ready for batting practice which starts at 9:30AM when we play at home. Then we will come back until game time at 12:35PM. After the game the TV’s have shifted to ” Sports Center” and the food is all laid out for us to eat! When we leave the field it is usually around 4:00PM and we are free for the day.
Now a little about the first three games. We started off on the road in Peoria where we won the first game of the year. Every thing clicked for us that game. We had run support and the pitchers all threw well. The next two games have been at home and we have not given the home town fans what they want. We dropped the last two games. I think as a team this being or first time playing together there will be a few more ups and downs, it does not worry me because I have seen the talent we have and we will gel and start playing better baseball. As for me I had my professional debut today. I threw 2 innings which was my first time to throw to a hitter in 5 months. It felt good to have the mound under me in a game and see people in the stands! As for my outing it was not my strongest went 2 innings and gave up 2 earned runs, but everything felt good. The hitters in this league hit mistakes so I found out how important hitting spots is. I really took a lot from the game and cant wait to be back out there!
I would like to send a thank you to my parents and grand parents. They have been in town to watch me the last few days and it was really nice to have them there for my debut. They flew out from Dallas, Texas to watch and I was really fortunate to have my grandparents there for me.

Time To Get Started!

With the start of the Fall League only six days away I thought it might be a good time to share a few of the things that are going through my mind before the start of the league, but first I will tell you a little bit about me.

My name is Jordan Swagerty. I am from Dallas, Texas and I was taken as a pitcher by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round of the 2010 draft. For the last two years, I played baseball at Arizona State University. I was a draft eligible sophomore so I only had two years of college. During my time at ASU I learned many things that will help me in life and also gained knowledge about the game of baseball.

I think the AFL will be an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life. It will be my professional debut. Just hearing that is exciting and a moment that I have waited for since I started playing baseball at the age of three. I am looking forward to playing with the top Minor League players around the league. This will be a challenge but one that I have prepared for. It is always an exciting time when you get to play with the top players. I know it will be a challenge but what a way to get your feet wet in professional baseball.

I will be playing for the Surprise Rafters, which uses the Rangers and Royals spring training complex. This is an exciting time and I can’t wait to get out there.