For years a staple of the educational system has been to have students write a “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” essay when they return to schools in the fall. It has served as not only an easy assignment, but also as a way for teachers to get to know their students better. It was with this frame of mind that I wondered what many players did this past winter to pass the time, relax, and prepare for the upcoming season.
Baseball never strayed too far from many guys’ focal point as some continued playing elsewhere and others worked out in a daily routine to improve themselves. One of the most prestigious opportunities is the Arizona Fall League which attracts many of the top prospects in minor league baseball. Numerous Senators including Aaron Barrett, Paul Demny, Brian Goodwin, Anthony Rendon, and Matt Skole led the Salt River Rafters squad to a runner-up finish this past season. Other possibilities to continue playing exist in the winter leagues assembled throughout much of the Caribbean. One such league is the Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico where Jose Lozada, Ryan Tatusko, and Zach Walters shared the playing field as teammates for Leones de Ponce.
Vacations are another popular way to unwind and recharge the batteries for many after a grueling 142-game schedule. Skole traveled across the pond to Europe with fellow Nationals farmhand Cutter Dykstra and their girlfriends. Ian Krol got some rest and relaxation in Cabo San Lucas, while Pat Lehman sailed the high seas on a Caribbean cruise. For others it was a chance to make some major changes in their personal life like Barrett who married his fiancée in a whirlwind weekend away from the Arizona Fall League. The righthander wasn’t content to let well enough alone either as he also received his college degree from Ole Miss in December.
What were some of the other members of the Senators’ family up to this off-season?
Matt LeCroy, Manager
“I made up for some diaper time. This off-season was really a lot different than normal with the two babies. We just tried to make sure we had everybody in the car. Your time is just taken up by the kids. I take them to school every day and help pick them up. I get to be Daddy for six months so it’s actually a really good time. I had date nights with my girls where I take them to a movie or go out to eat. My little boy isn’t in school all day so we got to spend some time together. He does yard work with me and picks up limbs and he acts like he’s weeding with his baseball bat. He always has his batting gloves on so I have to go play some ball with him for a little bit. You always look forward to that time together.”
Tony Rogowski, Strength and Conditioning Coach
“I’ve been working towards getting my Masters for Exercise Science. Since I’m not a fan of the winter and the cold, I was able to stay in Florida and complete courses in an online program.”
Jon Boles, Senior Account Executive
“After years of incorporating running for distance into my workouts since my sophomore year of college, I decided to set some personal goals and finally jump feet first into something and really push myself. I needed something to really work towards; something that was going to present some challenges that I could overcome and ultimately grow as an individual. I had a friend from college, Joanne, who had run a few half marathons already and she convinced me to do one in Atlanta with her. Terry Byrom became my go-to guy in the office for advice and assistance regarding training and running. I hadn’t ever participated in even a 5K, but I jumped in the deep end of the pool and decided that my first race was going to be 13.1 miles. Training itself was a 12 week ordeal that began while last season was still in full force. So despite spending 14 hours a day at the ballpark, I would also get up bright and early to run as the sun was coming up. When race day finally arrived in October, I had a great time catching up with Joanne and her husband and finished the half marathon better than I had expected. I plan on running another one this year and I look forward to breaking two hours.”
Sean Nicol, Infielder
“I pretty much just got to hang around Phoenix and see the family a lot. I started to get into that routine where you work out, hit, and throw to get ready myself. I also coached and did private lessons for younger kids. I definitely enjoy that. Working with the kids and being able to teach them what I know and I feel like I get through to them pretty well.”
Mary Kate Holder, Community Relations Coordinator
“My parents, two of my brothers, my aunt and uncle, and three cousins who all graduated from Notre Dame and myself traveled to Miami for the BCS National Championship game. It was a nice Christmas present from my parents, I’ll tell you that much. It was amazing to see just how big of a production they really make the entire weekend out to be. It was my first bowl I’ve ever been to and I guess I never thought about all of the activities leading up to the actual game as events were held throughout the weekend on the beach. The day of the game was insane! Luke Bryan, my favorite country singer, and a few other artists put on a concert in the parking lots right next to the tailgaters. One huge highlight for me was running into the parents of Manti T’eo as they were being interviewed by ESPN. I was next in line to have my picture taken with them when they were pulled away, but I was still waving my lei and Manti jersey for them to see.”
Steven Souza, Outfielder
“I did a lot. It was a very busy off-season. I went to Thailand on a mission trip with a program called UPI (Unlimited Potential Inc.) that conducts evangelistic baseball clinics which was awesome. I went on a cruise with my family. I also helped out at the Everett (WA) Boys & Girls Club to kick off their “Healthy Choices, Healthy Children” program which was great. I volunteered around my city for different types of things and I got to spend a lot of time with family and that’s always great.”
This article was originally found in issues #5, #6, and #7 of the Senators’ program and was reprinted with the permission of the Harrisburg Senators