Author Archive

This is a Dream

penafollowthrough550x250.jpgThis is so cool. When I lived in Haverhill growing up in Boston, we used to live at kind of a corner, so it looked like a baseball stadium. We would pick one of the corners to be home plate. And then we would hit up against the house that was right in front of us, with plastic balls, obviously, because we would have broken all the windows otherwise.

My brothers and I used to play, and we used to hit so many home runs over the Green Monster in our minds. “Ah, home run over the Green Monster, yeah!” And I was doing that when I was 13, after I got to this country from the Dominican Republic for the first time.

And all this was a dream, that’s all it was. And the next thing you know, I’m still doing it at 30 years old, and actually doing it — really doing it. Tonight’s home run, last night’s home run, those were like a dream — something I’d done before in my mind.

So to me, I understand how really blessed I am every day to be in this uniform, and I know how that might sound really corny or cheesy, but look at these guys in here. The type of ballclub we have. How close we are. And compare this to like a college team. That’s the kind of chemistry we have on this ballclub.

And to be able to share my dream coming true with these guys, I can’t imagine anything better.
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What a Day

penaroundingbases550x250.jpgI had to catch up with my sleep after that late night Saturday night, so I went to bed a lot earlier than usual Sunday night and woke up kind of late Monday. I really needed that after that long game the night before.

Today’s game was really fun. To get the win was huge for us, obviously, but most importantly, I loved the way we were in this clubhouse before the game. We were so loose, music was blasting. It looked like we were very comfortable, relaxed and poised for today. Then we went out and executed.

Rocco Baldelli hitting that home run was the best moment, because I know how much Rocco has battled so many things this year and has had health issues. I love him like a brother. And it was nice for him to come out and get a huge hit, which I thought was the biggest blow. Because before that, the Red Sox were hopeful, but he seemed to take away all of their energy with that home run. And for it to be him, I could not even write it even better. That was a huge hit after all that’s happened to him.
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Another Great Game, another great plane ride

penaperez550x250.jpgSaturday’s win was so exciting. I’m just glad I was able to experience that. I was actually telling our hitting coach, Steve Henderson, that I had the best seat in the house when B.J. Upton hit that home run. It was a loud crack of the bat and the fans went up in a roar; and to me, that was the coolest thing ever. That was such a cool thing to experience. And I was telling everyone how cool that was. I was like, “Man, I’m really lucky I had the best seat in the house.”

It was so great to win this ballgame, and in extra innings! To get on that plane and actually enjoy the plane ride to Boston is totally different than if we had lost. You don’t even know what a difference it is.

Here at home, the fans are behind us, and to go to Boston, we understand we are going to Fenway Park, but we have proven it to everybody that we have won and we have done it. And that’s very important for us now, you know? We can. So we got to go out there and play like we are playing in our backyard. And for me, I kind of am. My mom and dad are going to be there, so it will be cool to see them.penaswing550x250.jpg 

Forget About the Loss

penaatbatwide550x250.jpgThe mood in the clubhouse remained upbeat, even though we lost Friday night.

Obviously during the game, your intensity is through the roof, but afterward, I kind of just go around and talk to the guys, and I was pleased to see the guys were still smiling and being themselves. That is key. Because we did lose some games during the regular season — we didn’t go 162-0, you’re going to lose some games. And I think when you overanalyze things, it does you absolutely no good unless you’re a masochist and you want to beat that drum of defeat.

We just have to turn the page and basically do exactly what we do every night — go home, enjoy our families and come back tomorrow. Just relax like it was any other game. That is so key for making sure you minimize these things so you can go out there the next day and relax and play your game.
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Savoring the Moment

pena275x375.jpgI went to the beach this morning. It is something I like to do as much as I possibly can. So I went down there and spent a little time at the beach — it’s the best thing about living in St. Pete is the beach is right there. I went to the Madeira Beach and then headed over to the stadium. I was thinking on my way over to the stadium: Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just actually hit pause and pause this moment?

That’s what we were just talking about in the clubhouse. It would be nice to press pause and have it happen a little bit slower, then press rewind and do it again. We are so excited, and I appreciate what’s going on and you kind of want it to go slowly, instead of so fast, so it would be nice to pause all of this.

I have enjoyed every single moment, so much that I wish I could rewind it and do it again and again and make it last forever.

But we are excited. We are getting really excited and are truly appreciating every moment. The ALCS starts tomorrow, I know, but it would be nice to pause all of this and really cherish it.

Nice to Have a Day with the Family

With a day off Tuesday, I made sure I gave my wife a break. I told her to go have her day. I took care of Isabella, our daughter who is almost 3. I was able to have some one-on-one time with my daughter. I just spent a lot of quality time with her. And when my wife came back, we all went to a nice dinner at a place near the International Mall.

I just pushed Isabella all over the mall in a stroller. I took her to the kids stores there. Earlier, we went to the beach.

A lot of people came up to me at the mall, which is cool. I always appreciate when people come up and tell me how much they appreciate what I do and how they love the team. I tell them, “Thank you so much for your support.”

It’s funny, every time Isabella sees a Rays insignia, she says, “Carlos Pena.”

She has stamina, she never gets tired. So last night after a busy day of activity, she still wants to watch “Dora the Explorer.” And I’m like, “It’s time to go to sleep.”

It was a fun day and now I’m looking forward to Friday night.

How Sweet It Is

We make it a point to celebrate really hard, because we know that’s what being grateful is all about. We celebrate because it’s a way of saying thanks, and everyone here feels blessed to be at this point, to be in this position now. This is obviously special to every player on this team, every single member of this family.

We are even happier because we get to celebrate together. You know what, tonight — this game and this celebration — is one of the best moments of my life. It’s one of the best moments of my career, the best moment of my career. And it can only get better, so I’m extremely excited.

Our celebrations have gotten better each time out, we make it a point to get better. We’re getting used to this celebrating and we like it. We want more.

Can’t Get Down in Defeat

Yeah, we lost Sunday, but you walk into our clubhouse and you can’t tell whether we won or lost, and that’s exactly what we want it to be like.

We want it to be like this where it’s almost like we’re oblivious to what’s going on. I know that’s easier said than done because it’s not human, but we are professional athletes. I’m not talking about blocking things out, I just mean we should be able to just focus on the right thing.

So tonight, we’ll just go home and enjoy our families, enjoy the rest of the night, relax and come back tomorrow like nothing ever happened. We try not to get too emotional about anything.

We says thanks — it’s really cool to be in these playoffs — and then we go, “All right, let’s play baseball.” That exactly what we do during the regular season, what we do during Spring Training, even though everything around us says otherwise, like there’s more intensity on every pitch and every play. You can’t play like that. That would be like going up to the plate or to first base with a bag of cement on your shoulders.

We’re embracing this. That’s why I like this team. We’re not sitting here overthinking what the playoffs are all about. We’re sitting here thinking that we’re so grateful to be here. We appreciate it and we respect what’s going on. And then we go play.

Can’t wait to get back at it tomorrow.

Cant Get Down in Defeat

Yeah, we lost Sunday, but you walk into our clubhouse and you can’t tell whether we won or lost, and that’s exactly what we want it to be like.

We want it to be like this where it’s almost like we’re oblivious to what’s going on. I know that’s easier said than done because it’s not human, but we are professional athletes. I’m not talking about blocking things out, I just mean we should be able to just focus on the right thing.

So tonight, we’ll just go home and enjoy our families, enjoy the rest of the night, relax and come back tomorrow like nothing ever happened. We try not to get too emotional about anything.

We says thanks — it’s really cool to be in these playoffs — and then we go, “All right, let’s play baseball.” That exactly what we do during the regular season, what we do during Spring Training, even though everything around us says otherwise, like there’s more intensity on every pitch and every play. You can’t play like that. That would be like going up to the plate or to first base with a bag of cement on your shoulders.

We’re embracing this. That’s why I like this team. We’re not sitting here overthinking what the playoffs are all about. We’re sitting here thinking that we’re so grateful to be here. We appreciate it and we respect what’s going on. And then we go play.

Can’t wait to get back at it tomorrow.

Charter to Chicago Followed by a Workout Day

Great flight last night. We left around midnight and got into Chicago at about 2 o’clock our time. Everybody’s still really excited to be here.

Our charters are always fun, we had a blast last night — like I said we usually do. We play the music, we start talking, telling jokes, playing cards. This is a very close team, so you can basically walk up and down the aisle and have fun with every single guy that’s a member of this ballclub.

I was in charge of the music last night, so I put on a little Reggaeton — it’s like Latin hip hop. I had good feedback on it, so I might have to play it again. I said, “Can I have the speakers?” And they said, “OK.” It was quite easy to get the speakers. But that’s the kind of team we have. You get a couple of requests and play them. We had a blast.

Today is a rare day since we don’t have a game. We still have the workout, but I’ll have a chance to go out and have a nice dinner and get some sleep. My wife and daughter are coming in, so they’ll join me. We’ll have a great time, go out and see the town, maybe do a little shopping. See the family, just relax. This day gives us a chance to kind of recharge those batteries and come full force tomorrow.