Watching the Florida Marlins these days has given our family some opportunities to discuss things that don't necessarily happen on the field. A chance to talk about some of the things good (and not so good) that goes on in professional baseball.

As we were headed out of town on Friday, we got word about Ronnie Paulino failing a drug test and getting suspended for 50 games. This means he will miss the rest of this season as well as the first 11 games of next season. We have discussed steroids in our house before, most recently when A-Rod hit that magic number of 600 career home runs.  It wasn't much of a celebration of this accomplishment as it was just another tainted mark on the game by an admitted steroid user. But with Paulino it was a little different. He didn't go through years of denial, or flat-out lies about what he did. He explained that in order to keep his weight in check, he used a diet pill that ended up containing a banned substance. 

Well, here's the thing boys, when you get paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to play baseball at the professional level, you need to know exactly what you are taking when it comes to supplements so this sort of thing doesn't happen. Not to mention the fact that when you are a professional athlete, if you see know you are having a hard time controlling your weight, you get your butt into the gym. You talk to the trainers that the team provides to help set up a proper diet. You work that much harder. You DON'T just look for a magic pill! This is your job! People dream about becoming professional baseball players. Do whatever you need to do to be in the best shape possible so you can make the most of the talent God gave you.

A couple of days later, the Marlins announced that they had let Cody Ross go to the Giants. Yes, kids...baseball at this level is a business. We'll talk more about that tomorrow. Now go eat your vegetables.
 
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Tonight we are headed to watch Stephen Strasburg pitch his first game against the Marlins. We've got the most incredible seats right behind home plate so it should be a lot of fun, especially for the boys who would both love to become pitchers someday. Now, to be honest, up until last season I really didn't care about going to see the Marlins play. I had never been much of a spectator. If I wasn't going to be playing, I really didn't care to go watch. And that is still true for just about every other sport (Tour De France and Ironman Triathlons excluded).

But that all changed when T got hooked on baseball last summer. It wasn't enough to play catch everyday, or watch games on television. He loved going to the ballpark to watch these guys play. It helped that for each of the first three game he went to that he either got a foul ball or an autograph. But unlike most kids his age, when he is there to watch a game - he watches. He doesn't care about all the food. He doesn't care about the souvenirs. He is really there to watch the game. He follows the stats and asks all kinds of questions on why players make certain plays, but he never takes his eyes off of the field. And if you are going to a game with him, you better be ready to stick around until the last pitch is thrown, no matter how big a blowout it is or how many extra-innings it takes. 

This year Austin got into the mix and wanted to go to the games with us too. He's a different kind of fan than T though. Where T will just sit there quietly and watch the game like he was a surgeon figuring out how to do a certain procedure and somebody's life depended on him getting it perfect, Austin is there to make some noise. He's razzing the players from the other team whenever he can. He'll shout at them and really get into the emotional aspect of the game. They are complete opposites, and I love getting to sit next to them and watching their passion for the sport shine through in their own individual way.

As long as it doesn't rain, it should be a great way to start the weekend!


 
I've written a variety of articles for different websites and magazines, but with my two oldest sons being so excited about  baseball, we decided to put this website together. I hope you can have some fun with us as we share our thoughts and enthusiasm for the game of baseball, fitness and life.