Ready for an Opening Day start
I went to Europe during the offseason before last for a tour of Navy bases in Spain, Italy and Greece, and I?ve been to Mexico, Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands, too, and this offseason I went to Tahiti. Traveling wasn?t something I used to be really into, but now I think it?s pretty cool to go around the world and experience a lot of different things, and I?ve never been to the Far East, so I think Japan?s going to be pretty different for a Kentucky boy.
It?s exciting, but it?ll probably be a little bit difficult to balance enjoying the culture and the experience of being over there with staying focused on getting prepared for my start, getting my rest and getting used to the time change. Luckily, we?re over there for a few days before my start, so that should help. We have some team things lined up, so I?ll get to enjoy those, and we have those two exhibition games before mine, so it?s not like I?ll be walking into that stadium for the first time on Opening Day. I?ll have a couple days to get used to everything.
I was pretty excited when we first heard the trip over there was official. Everyone says the fans over there go crazy for the game, but all I really know is what I?ve seen in that movie ?Mr. Baseball? with Tom Selleck playing over there, so it should be exciting to see how they approach the game. I?ve heard about how the game?s played a little differently over there, and they train different, and it?ll be nice to see that first-hand.
I know we?re going to kind of be at the center of the baseball universe because we?re opening the season before all the other teams, but I won?t spend a lot of time thinking about that kind of thing, especially as we get closer and closer to Opening Day. It?s my first Opening Day start, so there might be some nerves, but I?m just going to go out try to just treat it like a regular game and pitch the way I pitch and not get too pumped up or affected by the Opening Day jitters.
Today was the first time I?ve really thought about whether it?ll feel any different for me to make my first Opening Day start in Japan as opposed to Oakland or somewhere on the road back in the United States, and I think it might actually help me. I really don?t know. But I do know that I?m kind of pitching two Opening Days, because I?m pitching our home opener April 1, too, and that?s against the Red Sox, too, and that?s where I think the Japan experience will definitely help.
I?ll already have a start under my belt, against the same lineup, so it should just feel a lot more like any other game.