When we get to the park, John quickly changes into his workout gear and heads to the warning track. He starts with 10 “Poles” sprints from one foul pole to the other along the outfield wall–followed by a recovery jog down the foul lines and behind home plate to complete the lap around the warning track.
From there, it’s time for some sprint work up the stairs in section 120 next to the Nationals dugout. That’s 10 sprints at about 25 seconds each. Miraculously, John gets through all 10 in impressive time, with nary a threat of revisiting this morning’s breakfast. Meanwhile, we’re only watching and our legs are getting a bit gelatinous. That’s right, we’re merely spectators today… credit to Dave Jageler–his CrossFit program from yesterday still has us licking our wounds.
After sprints, it’s a rapid-fire core session on the outfield grass behind shortstop. Despite some pretty heavy breathing, John completes the workout following a series of side crunches. He lets out one of his signature “Wooooo’s” as if to exclaim, “Now I’m done.” And with that, it’s back inside to the AC of the clubhouse and visitor’s weight room. It is still five hours before tonight’s game but there are already a number of players here getting in some early work: lifting, film study, etc.
In the visitors gym, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Yunesky Maya come in to workout. Ian wants to know why we’re there, what we’re documenting, etc. We explain that it’s all about giving fans a little taste of life on the road and what’s it’s like day-to-day as a Big Leaguer.
After a couple minutes on the stationary bike to warm up, Coach starts him on an ab workout, throwing a large medicine ball back and forth with the young shortstop. Danny takes a very workmanlike approach to his routine, moving from one station to the next. Coach explains to us that during the season, it’s all about maintaining each player’s strength and explosiveness, so these daily workout sessions are quick, yet challenging. After 20 minutes, Ian and Danny are gone, back to the clubhouse and John can now focus on last night’s starter.
Coach takes a more hands on approach with the Cuban right-hander. First of all, he’s relatively new to the team and the workout program. Secondly, to help bridge the language barrier, Coach takes some extra time to demonstrate each of the exercises so Yunesky sees the proper form and technique.
The high five is universal in just about every language, and after 20 or so minutes of upper body work, the two exchange the celebratory gesture, and their mutual sense of accomplishment is understood.