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.

Gearing Up For A Great Trip

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Obviously, I was heartbroken to tell Joe I couldn’t go today. I was going to go, but I had to tell him I’m not 100 percent. He told me how the lineups would go and how it would affect our team if I had to come out midgame. So eventually I said, “Look Joe, I’m not 100 percent.” And that was so hard for me.

I’m very excited for Chicago. I want to play so bad, I really do. Badly. And everything says that I will be. So I look forward to that day.

I’m expecting it to be an outstanding trip.

A Great Game, But More Work to Be Done

I think it is more nerve wracking to watch the game from the sidelines than to be on the field.  Because you find yourself you want to go on the steps then watch it on T.V. and come back up. I think when you are in the game you are able to calm yourself down a little bit more. But I had a lot of fun, I really did. But I’m pretty sure I’ll be in there tomorrow.

What a great game, so exciting to see Longoria perform this well. To come in so calm, so poised, like he’s been here before — like he’s been here a million times. It says a lot about that kid. We are just glad to have him.

Hats off to Shieldsie, first game of the playoffs. It doesn’t surprise me at all.  That’s exactly what he does. It’s exactly what we wanted to do. For us, it was important to win the first one. Every game is important, but that first one, it’s momentum. We feel like we are up one. Well we are up one, we won that first one, and it’s always good!

We try to treat every game differently. Today is today’s game, tomorrow is tomorrow’s game, but isn’t it nice to know that we are up one? And we can come in tomorrow and go at it. It’s so much more comfortable, it’s like a pitcher getting a nice lead. That’s the way that our team feels right now.

It’s like Christmas Eve With Thursday’s Opener Almost Here

Pena.jpgI tried to keep it as normal as I could today. It’s so important to us to keep the same routine at all times — for me anyway. Because you want to make everything as usual as you can. Same routine as far as practice is concerned. I don’t try harder, I don’t try to figure out something new — which is sometimes a temptation that we all have, thinking, “We’ve been going at this one level, now do we have to take it up a notch for the playoffs?”

No, you just want to keep it the same, remain the same, stick to the basics. Personally, that’s what I’ve been trying to do, and I know that’s what the team does. And that’s exactly what we’re focusing on.

But yeah, we are very excited. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being excited. I think it’s great to enjoy all of this. That’s what we must do.

I’m enjoying every second of it. You know, my teammates, just the energy around the clubhouse, the energy around the town. When you go to the supermarket, anywhere you go, they have people wishing you good luck, saying nice things, saying, “Oh, thank you so much!” And you are like, “Oh, you are welcome!”  I don’t really know what to say, but I am really appreciative of all the support.

(Time to take the podium for the media. You can read what more of what I said here  in my interview session with teammate James Shields).

Its like Christmas Eve With Thursdays Opener Almost Here

Pena.jpgI tried to keep it as normal as I could today. It’s so important to us to keep the same routine at all times — for me anyway. Because you want to make everything as usual as you can. Same routine as far as practice is concerned. I don’t try harder, I don’t try to figure out something new — which is sometimes a temptation that we all have, thinking, “We’ve been going at this one level, now do we have to take it up a notch for the playoffs?”

No, you just want to keep it the same, remain the same, stick to the basics. Personally, that’s what I’ve been trying to do, and I know that’s what the team does. And that’s exactly what we’re focusing on.

But yeah, we are very excited. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being excited. I think it’s great to enjoy all of this. That’s what we must do.

I’m enjoying every second of it. You know, my teammates, just the energy around the clubhouse, the energy around the town. When you go to the supermarket, anywhere you go, they have people wishing you good luck, saying nice things, saying, “Oh, thank you so much!” And you are like, “Oh, you are welcome!”  I don’t really know what to say, but I am really appreciative of all the support.

(Time to take the podium for the media. You can read what more of what I said here  in my interview session with teammate James Shields).