(Editor's note: Mike Cisco, a former Wando High School and South Carolina Gamecocks pitcher, chronicles his trek through the minors as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies organization for The Post and Courier.)
Well, spring training is winding down. The final cuts were Friday. We have continued with the same schedule, playing games in groups that are going to be the teams when we break camp.
We play our last games today and then fly out to Reading, Pa., afterward.
I got a chance last week to see some people I'm really close to. Mike Bennett and his wife, Amy, and their son, Brennan, came to the complex Wednesday.
Their oldest son, Jack, was in Orlando for a baseball tournament so he didn't get a chance to come, but it was really nice to see them. Me, Reese (Havens) and (Justin) Smoak have been hunting with them on their plantation for a while now, and I can't even begin to describe how lucky we are to get that opportunity and what great people they are.
Spring training has gone by pretty fast, but I think I speak for all the guys when I say we are ready to get the season started. When we get to Reading, which is home of the Double-A team, we are on our own as far as finding a place to live.
Luckily, I spent the last part of last season up there, so I think we are going to stay in the same apartment complex. It's only about 10 minutes from the park. The thing about Reading is that everything is pretty spread out, so wherever you are, you're about 10 minutes from everything.
On Tuesday, we travel up to Lehigh Valley to play the Triple-A team in an exhibition game before our opener. These last couple of days, I'm going to start getting my bags together.
My grandparents left today and are on the way to Charleston right now. It was really great to spend time with them. They drove my truck back home for me because everyone has to fly together to where they're assigned.
I'm trying to convince my good buddy (and I'm sure some of y'all know him) Jamie Bradford to drive ol' Black Beauty up to PA.
Luckily for me, a truck with some of our gear left for Reading earlier in the week, so I sent my guitar up there with it. A lot of the guys sent their golf clubs up, but I really don't play golf that often. I like it a lot, but I usually don't have enough balls to get past the first couple of holes. I've got a pretty mean slice.
I played with Reese and Smoak a while back, and they were scared to death because I was aiming directly at another group of players, trying to play my slice. Sure enough, the ball ended up on the fairway about 100 yards away.
I have really enjoyed writing and keeping y'all updated with life in spring training.
In case you were wondering, we did catch that gator, but someone called the police and we got arrested.
We had to get bailed out by Charlie Manuel!
Nah, April Fool's! We never caught that thing, but we'll give him another year to grow and try again next spring.
I'd like to ask that y'all keep Don Smith and his family in your prayers. They've been some of my biggest supporters, and great friends to my family. Don recently suffered a stroke, so please remember him in this difficult time.
I'll continue writing once a month now that the season's here. It's time to play ball.
Carolina is always on my mind.