One of the true pleasures of this job is the people you meet. In past seasons, the PawSox have had assistant trainers to help head man Greg Barajas. Guys like Steve Spero, Fuji Sakamoto, and Dave Getsoff, come in spend a season learning and then move on. Last season the Red Sox shifted gears and hired a strength and condiitioning coach, Carl Kochen. Kochen was incredibly valuable to the team, catching bullpen sessions and doing what ever else had to be done, in addition to his regular job in the gym. Carl landed a fulltime gig with the Giants organization. He was replaced by Mike Jones. Jonesy is very likeable man. He is in his first year with the Sox. “It’s been great. A very very good experience to see the emphasis that’s been placed on development here. The resources that are devoted to that develpoment is really exciting.” Jones says it isn’t hard keeping track of all his charges. “The most difficult part is identifying the needs of the individual players, then developing exercises to help correct the deficiencies. I’ve done this for many years, so it isn’t difficult. Having a trainer like Greg (Barajas)- we work well together and if there’s a situation or an injury, we work well in tandem to get it taken care of.” Jones says that “old-timers” might cringe if they saw the shape the players are in today, when they get to Spring Training. “The biggest difference is the length of Spring Training. Years ago it was 6 weeks long, now it’s four weeks, or a little longer in some organizatons. It has necessitated the athlete getting ready during the offseason, because there’s a lot of competition and they know if they’re not prepared, they’re not going to win one of those spots.” Jones adds that there is a very small group that is reluctant to go the gym on a regular basis. “When you’re at the Triple A level, you see individuals that come over from other organizations where the emphasis hasn’t been there, they are sometimes reluctant, but the good part is that they see success and finally buy in. You see those changes and you get those calls. Justin Lehr, who I had previously in Tacoma, texted me to tell me he was getting a Major League start Friday against the Rockies.” Jones added- “That’s why I am in this business. It’s rewarding to watch these young men progress, supervise their programs and watch them make it to the Major League level.” Jones measures success in different ways. “One of the areas that is my biggest concern, is keeping the athlete healthy. That’s one way to evaluate it. It’s subjective. I like to see the athlete’s performance affected by their strength and conditioning, but you can’t always tell.” Jones is often the victim of good natured ribbing from the guys, espically Ron Johnson. “RJ is a once in a lifetime experience. You have to have a thick skin.” The silver haired Jones has been compared to the Burgess Meredith character, “Mickey” in the “Rocky” movies. Jonesy always has a cup of coffee in his hand and a smile on his face. “I guess when you take the “abuse” , it shows you are part of the inner circle.”. Mike Jones is a strong man, in many ways.
Found a new eating spot in Buffalo. “Daddio’s” on Hertel Ave in Buffalo offers tremendous sandwiches, appetizers, wings and pizza. Owner Jimmy is the most hospitable restaurateur you will EVER encounter. The place is decorated with “Rat Pack” memorabilia and a movie poster signed by the great Francis Ford Coppola. “Props” to PawSox head of security, Rick Medeiros for finding the spot. Hyder and Hoard will be back. By the way, my daughter Carly did NOT order chocolate milk with her sub.