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Shawns 1999 Journal

January 3 1999

Hey guys,

It's been a few weeks since my last journal, but I've been really busy lately so let me fill you all in on what's been going on.

Right after Christmas I went to Alex Gonzalez's wedding in Miami. A couple of my teammates, Carlos Delgado and Shannon Stewart, were there as well so we all had a lot of fun together and it was a beautiful ceremony. After the wedding, I went up to Whistler with a bunch of friends for New Year's and that was pretty cool. And last weekend, I played in the Pepsi celebrity softball tournament in Palm Springs. A ton of the guys were out there, including Eric Karros, Darin Erstad, Mike Piazza and Greg Vaughn. I think it's going to air on NBC on an upcoming Saturday if you have a chance to watch it.

I've been working out quite a bit, getting myself ready for Spring Training, which starts at the end of February in Dunedin, Florida. I'm bummed that we'll be without Paul Quantrill for at least the first month of the season because of his broken leg. But, at least for now, it looks like Roger will be with the Blue Jays for another season. That'd be great for us, obviously, but you never know what is going to happen between now and the start of Spring Training. And if we do make a trade, hopefully we'll get some quality guys in the lineup who will be able to fill in some holes for us.

I'll check back again soon

February 5, 1999

Hey guys,

I've had a busy couple of weeks, but I'm back home in Newport until the start of Spring Training.

I flew up to Vancouver a couple of weeks ago for a British Columbia baseball banquet hosted by the Blue Jays. That was a pretty good time and on the way back, I stopped in Las Vegas. Vegas is always cool and I hung out with Jose Canseco and some other friends while I was there.

Last weekend, I flew to Toronto so I could start the process of moving all my stuff back up to Canada. Carlos Delgado and I coordinated it so we'd both be up there together, so we hung out and had a good time. I still have a bunch of stuff to take up there, but getting some of it out of the way before Spring Training was key.

I've been working out a lot - I'm in the gym pretty much every day. I was training with a guy named Tyrone, a former boxer, who had some interesting techniques and things for me to work on. But, truthfully, I'm pretty sick of the weight room and am anxious to start playing. This weekend, I'll have a chance to at least get out on the field again. I'm going to be helping out at an annual baseball camp at Tustin High School, my alma mater. It should be fun, and I'll get to do some coaching and give the kids some tips.

I didn't make it out to Miami, but I did watch the Super Bowl on TV last weekend. The game was a little frustrating. I had actually had been hoping the Vikings would be there, but since they weren't, I was rooting for the Falcons. I tend to pull for the underdogs. It was great to see the Broncos repeat as Super Bowl champions, but I would have been happy with a closer, more intense game.

I'll be sticking around Newport until I have to leave for Spring Training, so I'll catch up with you again next week.

Take care,

February 18, 1999

Hey everybody,

Well, if you haven't heard the news yet, the Blue Jays are going to be going into Spring Training without Roger Clemens after all. Roger was traded to theYankees for pitcher David Wells, second baseman Homer Bush, and pitcher Graeme Lloyd.

Even though I hate to see him traded to the Yankees, we made some goodacquisitions in the deal. David Wells was the starting pitcher in the All-Star game, he had an amazing year, and helped lead the Yankees to the championship, and he's a lefty, which helps us a lot.
Homer is a good, young player and we needed some help at second base.
And Graeme strengthens our bullpen quite a bit.

Roger was an amazing player and it was great to have him on our team, but I've said in the past that if he was going to get traded, I hoped it would be for players who would help us plug some of the holes we have. I think this trade is going to work out well for us.

I know Boomer pretty well and I think he's a great guy, and I've played with Graeme before, so these will be familiar faces at Spring Training.

Speaking of Spring Training, I'm leaving for Florida on Saturday morning and am just about all set to go. I took most of my stuff up to Toronto, so now I just have to bring the necessities out to Florida with me.

I went to my old high school the other week and helped out the kids at their annual baseball camp. It was fun talking to the kids, giving them some tips and hitting on the field a little bit. Mark Neufield and my buddy Jim Betzsold, who plays AAA for Cleveland were also there, so it was pretty cool.

I'm looking forward to getting out to Florida and getting things going. We have a great team, there's just been a little turmoil. But once we get all the kinks worked out, I think it's going to be a terrific season.

I'll catch up with you again next week and let you know how it's going at Spring Training.


March 11, 1999

Hey guys,

Spring Training's looking good so far. I think guys are starting to get the feel for playing again and we're getting back into a groove. I've felt really good up to this point, and although we only get three at-bats per game, it's great to be back out there.

Jose Cruz has been moved up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order, in front of me, and then Carlos. I think its' going to work out well because we've got a lot of speed back-to-back-to-back. From 8 and 9 in the lineup, then 1, 2 and 3 we can all run, which is nice for Carlos and Cecil, or whoever is the DH to drive guys in.

We're going to miss Canseco's home-run skills this season - I don't think anyone's going to hit 46 homers for us, but I think Cecil or Berroa will drive in a hundred runs, which is what we need. We're just hoping our DH gives us 100 RBIs, and if we can do that we'll be in good shape.

David Wells hasn't pitched for us yet, but he's been throwing and I think he should be pitching in a few days. He's going to throw batting practice Thursday and may be pitching in Saturday's game against the Pirates.

We had a closed-door meeting with Tim Johnson a couple weeks ago that I think went well. He spoke from his heart and went over a lot of the issues that were concerning people and got everything pretty straightened out. I think it was important for him to do that and hopefully it will be behind us now.

I'll talk to you next week and I'll be sure to answer some more of your posts then.


March 23, 1999

Hi everyone,

Many of you probably know that our manager Tim Johnson was fired last week and replaced by Jim Fregosi. I definitely felt for Tim because he was really good to me and we were successful as a team. But he made a couple mistakes that I guess he could never get away from. And as far as the timing, a lot of guys had the feeling that if something was going to happen, it would happen before the start of the season. Jim hasn't been here very long, obviously, but so far he's getting along with everybody really well and is in the process of getting to know us all.

He made some changes right off, including moving Jose Cruz out of the #2 spot in the batting order. Different managers have different philosophies… I think Jim wanted more of a contact guy and didn't want to put that much pressure on Cruz. But things change all the time, so who knows what it's going to be like Opening Day or midseason. I think it's definitely a solid lineup and Homer (Bush) is going to do a good job in the second spot.

David Wells pitched today and he threw well - he says he's feeling good so I hope he'll stay healthy for the start of the season. In the game today I noticed the change in the strike zone. It's been around a little bit this spring and I don't like it. It would be fine if the umpires don't call the pitches outside, but they're still calling those pitches off the plate. They're supposed to call them a little higher and then not call the ball as far outside, but now it seems like they're just calling everything. I'm sure different umpires will react to it differently, and I really don't think things are going to change all that much.

I'm really looking forward to starting the regular season. The routine of spring training is getting pretty old and I'm definitely ready to go. We finish a week from Sunday and start the season on the road with series' in Minnesota and Baltimore and then we head home.

Talk to you soon,


April 23, 1999

Being in first is a nice way to start the season! We've got a little streak going, 7 games in a row, and it's good because everyone is contributing to our wins. We're not playing over our heads, we're playing really well. But I know I could be doing better, and so could a few other guys, so hopefully when some of the other guys cool off, we'll pick up the slack and start getting real hot.

Jose's been moved back up in the batting order and he's doing well there. He's got a great approach to the plate and I think he's going to be hitting a lot better in the future. I like to bat either second or third, but I think I'm probably better as a second hitter. Batting second, you get a guy on first a lot, whereas batting third you get the guy more in a scoring position, and I think I'm better at moving a guy from first to third, and sometimes hitting that double to score him. But, I think that's something you kind of lean to do more.

I'm not really worried about whether it's going to be another 30/30 season for me because I did it last year. Right now I'm more focused on winning the games, and like Jim Fregosi has said, when we steal, it's going to be when it counts. So, there probably won't be as many stolen bases this season because last year we were pretty reckless. It worked for us though; I just think Jim wants to cut it back a little.

We don't know how long Homer is going to be out with his injured finger, but I think it's going to be at least a couple of weeks. The same goes for Joey Hamilton, who's being replaced by Nerio Rodriguez. Our pitching is looking great though; Wells has been great, and our three rookies, Roy Halladay, Kelvim Esocbar and Chris Carpenter, are performing extremely well for us.

We're facing the Yankees tonight, and Boomer and everyone else is pretty pumped up for that. I've got to head out, but I'll check in next week.


May 12, 1999

We're in Kansas City for our series with the Royals and I thought I'd fire off a journal before heading out to the ballpark.

The Jays got off to a really good start in April, but we've struggled a little in May. There are a couple of things that have contributed to that. We've got a good pitching staff, but a lot of guys have been struggling at the same time, which has hurt us. Adding to that the fact that when they're pitching well, our bats have been kind of quiet, you run into a little difficulty. But, we've started to get things going again in Kansas City. KCs a scrappy team and we're having a good series with them. A win tonight will give us the series win before we head back home to face Boston.

Things have been going well for me so far this season too. I'm hitting the ball well and have had 12 homers so far. It's been fun. It's obviously so early in the season, but it feels great to be off to a good start. I think last year helped boost my confidence a lot and I learned so much that coming into this season, I have a better idea of what I'm doing.

Robert Person was traded to Philadelphia last week. Robert's going to be great, as a closer or whatever other role he is used in. He was struggling a bit and I think a change of scenery might be good for him and for Paul Spoljaric. When you're pitching and you're not hitting your spot, it's real tough to be successful. That's what happened to him and he lost a bit of his control. Once that happened, I guess he started pressing a bit. He's a great guy and I hope everything works out for him in Philadelphia. And I know Paul is happy to be back home in Canada! I played with him for a long time and he's a great guy so it's a pleasure to have him around.

Darin's eye is healing nicely since taking a hit with a ball last week. It's just a matter of letting it heal and I think he should be back within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, Mike Matheny is doing a good job for us. We have a lot of guys that are in rehab in Syracuse who should be coming back in the next several games, and that should also give us a boost.

I haven't had much time for life outside of baseball lately. I did see "Entrapment" with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta -Jones the other night and really enjoyed it. I mean, I liked what I saw of the movie. I fell asleep in the middle because I had just eaten a big dinner and was pretty tired.

Talk to you next week,


Hi everybody,

It feels good to get back in the game, especially now that we've been able to put a couple wins together. We had a big game Tuesday against the Angels - our offense got things cranking with 18 hits and 13 runs, and Boomer had another great night on the mound.

My wrist is healing nicely, and it's getting better and better every day. In my first game back on Friday I felt like I got one good swing in each at-bat and then it would get sore. But it's getting stronger now and even though it hurts after a particularly hard swing, the pain goes away really quickly. The doctor examined it again on Thursday and said all the soft tissue is fine and that playing is not going to do any more damage to it. As long as I can swing, I'm good to go. I think that in a week or so, my wrist should be back to 100%, and I'm just happy that it didn't keep me out of the game any longer.

We had a tough road trip, but we're looking at this series to turn things around. We're also getting some guys back off the DL, including Paul Quantrill, who was activated Tuesday and pitched the ninth. We also made a trade and got Tony Batista from the Diamondbacks to back up Alex Gonzalez. Having Alex out hurts us a lot, but hopefully now we'll be in better shape.

We won the first game in the series with Anaheim, but we can't take anything for granted. They're kind of in the same boat we are - they've got a lot of injuries to key players and it's hurt them a lot. We were able to capitalize on that in game one, but we've got to keep it going for the next two games. We always seem to match up well against them and it's a fun series for us, so we'll see what happens.

Take care,

July 1 1999
Hey guys,

We're two games into a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles and so far, we're up 2-0. Both games were pretty tight and were won by only one run in extra innings, so we're definitely working hard for the Ws! We'll see what today brings, but we should be in good shape. Our pitching has been great lately - we shut Cleveland out last week, which hadn't happened all season. We pitched really well against them the whole series, including the game they won. We're playing the best baseball we've played all season right now, and hopefully we can continue to gain ground.

As for me, it felt great to get back in the line up and start hitting some home runs… I was getting a little worried there for a while! My wrist is feeling a lot better. It still gets a little sore after I've taken a few swings, but for the most part, it's not bothering me anymore.

There have been a few rumors lately about a possible trade involving Carlos Delgado, but I don't think there's anything to them. I'd be really surprised if anything happened, and I would certainly be disappointed. Carlos and Alex are my closest friends on the team and it wouldn't feel the same here without him. For one thing, I'd have no one to compete with during BP! Carlos and have a little home-run competition going - we pick targets around each stadium and make up a point system. At the end of each month, the winner has to buy dinner.

We've got a day game, so I have to head out, but I'll check in again soon.


July 19, 1999

Hey guys,

We're finishing out a home stand with a three-game series against the Braves before we take it on the road to Cleveland. We've continued playing well since the All-Star break, have gotten past the .500 mark and have some good momentum going. We had a little rest last week and now we're fired up for the second half. I'm actually feeling more rested now than I was last week because I was selected to play in my first All-Star game, and the excitement and chaos of that was pretty draining.

I found out Thursday before the break from our media relations dept. that I had been selected and as I'm sure you can imagine, I was pretty fired up. My family, who lives in Southern California, was already out in Baltimore visiting me, so they just headed straight to Boston to attend the game. It was a tremendous experience. It's very draining though, especially with my family there and with everything that goes on before and after the actual game.

The whole experience was incredible, but one of the highlights for me was getting to meet Ted Williams. I spoke to him only briefly, but I got a little hitting advice from him and it was a real thrill. I was the most nervous and excited about the Home Run Derby, which was a lot of fun. I had my at-bat right after Mark McGwire, and I'm sure you know how he did. I was totally amazed by how hard and far he can smack the ball! The tough part wasn't following Big Mac, though, it was just waiting for my turn. I had to wait about two hours from the time I warmed up to the time I had my at-bat. It was hard to stay loose the whole time because you don't get any warm-up swings before you're up. I took batting practice at about 7:15 and didn't have my at-bat until about 9:15, so it was kind of tough.

I think the second half is going to be big for the Blue Jays and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next couple of months brings for the team.

Talk to you soon,


August 3, 1999

Hi guys,

It's good to be leading the wild card, but it's a really tight race, and we're doing everything we can to hold on to it. We dropped two to Boston, and those were pretty tough losses, because they're right behind us in the wild-card race. We haven't done well against Boston this season, and they proved to be too much for us again. They're a tough team and don't make many mistakes, and we just couldn't pull out the wins.

We had a good weekend in Detroit, but we've got more stiff competition in New York and Texas this week. The last time we were in New York, we had a lot of injuries. Now we're all healthy and we're hoping to see some better results this time around. These are crucial games for us and they're not going to be easy ones, but everyone on the team has a lot of confidence in our ability to win.

My hitting streak ended over the weekend against the Tigers. It was fun while it lasted, although I think it was a bigger deal for the fans than it was for me. It's of those things that just kind of sneaks up on you. You've got to be swinging well but you get some breaks, and it can last for a while. I knew it had to end sometime, and since my previous streak ended at 18, I'm feeling pretty good about the whole thing. I honestly thought it would have ended sooner, especially since Dave Mlicki was pitching Saturday and he broke the last one I had going in '94! I'm just happy it was broken in a game that was a good win for the team.

I'll catch up with you next week,


August 11, 1999
Hey everybody,

We have been hitting really well lately, especially Carlos Delgado, who got three homers in one game last week and has hit dingers in every game since. We're going home to play Oakland this weekend, and that's going to be an important series for us. They're a similar team to the way we were last year, and we've got to play them well at home, because we have four more games in Oakland next weekend. Jaha has been huge for them, and so have Stairs and Giambi…In fact, they have a whole lot of good hitters, so we've got our work cut out for us.

We have a couple of new faces in the lineup heading into the next series. Although we didn't make a lot of moves before the trade deadline, I think it was enough. We picked up switch hitter David Segui, and Brian McRae played in his first game for us on Tuesday. David broke his hand over the weekend and was put on the DL, but it's a minor break like the one I had, and I think he'll be back in another ten days or so. Brian brings good experience to the team -- he's a good center fielder, a good switch hitter, and he's the type of player who could have a big impact on the team if he gets hot.

Speaking of guys who have had an impact on the team, a lot of people have asked me where I think we'd be if we hadn't made the Clemens/Wells trade at the beginning of the season. Well, you never know what might have been, but that was a great trade for us. David has been solid all season. He's having a better year than Roger is, and we also got Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd in the deal. Homer has been tremendous and Graeme has really helped us in the bullpen, so we got help in three areas. I think we have one of the best, if not the best, pitching staffs in the league. Some of our guys have not always pitched as well as they could have, but if they pitch the way they are capable of in the next couple of months, our staff is by far the best.

I'll catch up with you next week,


September 14, 1999
Hey guys,

Coming to you from the Big Apple. We're in the middle of our series against the Yankees, and we're really trying to make up some serious ground. Right now, we just really need to win. We can't even worry about what Boston or Oakland is doing, we just need to win our games. There's still a chance for us, but we're going to have to play well.

We have a tough road ahead, with the current series against the Yankees, Boston and Cleveland coming up in the next weeks as well. We can't give the good teams extra outs, and we can't afford to make errors against them, because they take advantage of them. I don't really mind the schedule, though. I think it motivates us even more when we're playing against really high-caliber teams, because if we make the playoffs, we're going to have to play at that level every day anyway. We have to be able to beat them now if we expect to be winning in October.

I think I'm going to come up a little short of 30-30 this season. I've been stealing in spurts. It's something that you kind of get into a groove with, and if you're not in it, it just doesn't happen. And the situation has to be right. We've been trailing in a lot of games recently, and it's hard to steal bases when you're behind by a couple of runs. And with Carlos behind me, I want to give him a chance to hit a home run, instead of getting thrown out and having him leading off innings.

We'll see how things go in the coming weeks, but I'm just focusing on helping the Jays win as many games as possible down the stretch.

Talk to you soon,


September 30, 1999
Hey guys,

It's been kind of a tough atmosphere since we got knocked out of the wild-card race. It's hard to say exactly where things went wrong for us. I think we lost something like nine in a row at home, and we had really started making some mistakes. In a couple big games, we got blown out early. Every time we looked at the scoreboard, Boston and Oakland were winning. We just got a little frustrated, and it was hard to regain our balance.

I think we felt a lot of pressure because of the fact that other teams in the AL were playing so well. We felt like we had to win every game, and we were making mistakes that just seemed to crush us. Even if we had been playing well, it would have been hard to keep pace with Boston. But we pretty much ran out of gas there at the end.

Overall, I feel good about the season I have had personally. The first half of the season was definitely the best one I have had in the majors. But the second half was a lot more of a grind for me to get those hits, drive in runs and all that…in the first half it came a lot easier. I was drained late in the season, mostly in August, especially after the hitting streak, and it was tough for me to get back into a good rhythm.

I'm sure that most of you know that my buddy Carlos broke his foot. He was obviously really frustrated because he was swinging the bat really well and wanted to finish out the season. That's kind of the way things have gone for us, since the end of last season up to now. Starting with Paul Quantrill, there have been so many injuries and problems.

I think the focus in Toronto for the next few months is going to be on the situation with Carlos and me. To be honest, I have no idea what is going to happen right now. I just want to finish out the season and focus on the future after that.

I am looking forward to the end of the season and to taking a break from things for a while. I'll probably take at least a month off before I do anything. I normally like to start working out when I'm kind of excited about it. There was another season kind of like this one where I felt particularly drained, and I started working out too soon after the season ended. I think it made it tougher to get through the whole winter workout. I want to start up when I'm really into it and am ready to get going.

I'll be going back home to Newport next week, and I'm looking forward to spending some time with my family again. Last off-season, Carlos and I took a trip to Europe, and while I don't have anything like that planned, I'm sure I'll take a few trips here and there. I'm going to Phoenix for a promotion for Adidas' new shoe, and I'll participate in some charity softball and golf events, but that's all I have planned so far.

Talk to you soon,


October 20, 1999

I'm back in Newport Beach relaxing, and even though I've been here two weeks, I still haven't managed to unpack completely. I hate unpacking and totally procrastinate, so I'm doing it for about 10 minutes a day, unless there's something I really have to find. At this rate, I figure it will be spring training by the time I get everything in the closets. But I'm getting settled in and am happy to be back home.

I'm not taking any big trips like last season's European vacation, but I am going to be doing a few things here and there. I'm going to Arizona for a promotional event for adidas on November 1 and after that, I am planning on heading to Las Vegas for the Player's Choice Awards, which are airing on ESPN on Friday, November 5. I'm going to stay pretty mellow this off-season other than that, though. I might attempt to pick up where I left off last season with surfing, but we'll see how that goes. It was tougher than I thought it was going to be, but I still think I'll give it another try. I'm getting kind of burned out on the whole beach scene and have thought a bit about moving in the next couple years, so I guess now is the time if I'm going to learn to surf!

I've been thinking a little about my contract situation, but I'm still at the "wait and see" point with things right now. In general, I think there is going to be a lot of activity this winter, because there are so many guys who are going to be free agents after next season. I think there are going to be a lot of blockbuster trades. But as players, we just have to sit around and wait. As far as the Jays go, I'm disappointed that Gary Matthews isn't going to be back, because I liked working with him a lot. There have been some problems between Cito Gaston and me in the past, but it's nothing that I'm worried about now, and I really don't foresee any problems.

I have been watching some of the playoff action, and I have to say, I was pulling for the Red Sox. Once my team is out of the running, I'm just pulling for the teams I think would be best for the game. Boston rose to the occasion, but they just couldn't get over the hump. That's the thing about the Yankees, though. They really know how to take advantage of any breaks that come their way.

Thanks for logging on. I'll talk to you soon.


November 8, 1999

This is an exciting day for me. I moved to Southern California when I was 12 from the San Francisco Bay Area. I can't say I was really a Dodger fan, because we actually lived closer to Anaheim Stadium. But I'm a Dodger fan today.

This is exciting because I have a chance to come home and play in front of my family and friends. Not many professional athletes get to do that. Especially with the Dodgers, they're such a great organization. Even though they went through a tough season, I feel like they are definitely committed to winning. I met Bob Daly, their new president, the other day, and Kevin Malone, the general manager. They are focused on getting guys who want to be there and turning things around.

When things didn't work out with the Blue Jays, I told them the Dodgers were my top choice. They could have done things differently, but this has worked out great for everybody. Toronto gets Raul Mondesi. He's a great player. And they needed a left-handed reliever, so Pedro Borbon will fill that role. The Dodgers definitely needed a left-handed hitter in the middle of a strong right-handed lineup.

In a way, it worked out like I was a free agent to a certain degree. That's just the economics of the game. The only teams that will trade for you are the ones that can sign you. I had heard the rumors for a while, but you can't get too excited until it gets done. Now I'm excited. This is a good team with good arms. The only Dodger I really know is Devon White, a teammate in Toronto.

It's funny, but even growing up I wasn't a fan of a team as much as I was of players. Guys like Rod Carew, Don Mattingly, Rickey Henderson. I did go to Dodger Stadium once in a while. I was there the night Kirk Gibson hit the home run in the World Series. Like a lot of people, I left early. I admit it. Now I'm excited about the opportunity in front of me. I know there will be a lot of attention on me with the contract. I'll try not to focus on that. I don't read the papers. I'll just go out and play.

As much as I'll enjoy playing at home, I have to say thanks to all the fans of Toronto. They were always behind me over the years. I want them to know this wasn't about leaving Toronto. This was just a matter of it being the right time for me to come to L.A. Right now, it's the best situation I can imagine.


November 12, 1999

It was a little chaotic at the beginning of the week, but things are starting to settle down for me now. It's nice to be able to step away from it a little and enjoy it. But, I've got to admit that I'm already feeling a little bit of pressure. I know there are a lot of expectations on me, but that just goes along with a trade like this. The way I see it, if the Dodgers go out and win, I'm not going to be under the microscope quite as much. But if we struggle, probably nothing I'm going to do -- no matter what it is -- is going to be good enough. That's the way it works.

That's the way it works, and it's going to take some getting used to. But I can adjust to that more easily now than I would have if something like this had happened to me a few years ago. I've gotten more hype in the last few days than I have in the last five years, so I know some things are bound to change. I told my family, it's going to be tough because there will be times when I'll get crushed in the newspapers. And they just can't worry about it. People are more curious about me today than they were last week, and suddenly, certain aspects of my life are getting a lot more attention.

Like the fact that I'm Jewish. Inevitably, there's been speculation that my being Jewish played a part my desire to come in Los Angeles. And there's definitely some truth to that. As a Jewish ballplayer, I'm in a fairly unique situation. I have a chance to do a lot of good and I think LA is the right place for that. I don't know exactly what my role will be, but I want to make a positive impact on others and I want to start that now.

That only played a small role in my decision, though. There are so many great things about me playing for the Dodgers. I wanted to go to a team that I feel has underachieved, instead of going to a team that has been on top for a long time. It will be more rewarding for me to win now in LA, after the troubles they've had, because I'll feel like I've made a big difference.


**NEW** December 16, 1999

Things have been pretty hectic for me in the last few weeks. Right now, all the interviews and appearances seem kind of never-ending. I know it will die down, or I'll just get used to it, but being the new kid in town is wearing me out right now. I do enjoy doing it though, and I know that it will slow down during the season.

Some of the appearances have been for Jewish organizations, like the opening of a community center in Los Angeles. Obviously, I can't do everything, but it's nice to be able to get involved in something that really interests me. As I've said before, it's important to me to make an impact and give something back to the community. I think as I get a little older and wiser, I'll make some more decisions about where to focus my efforts.

Between all of this stuff, I've had very little time to relax, but as long as I'm getting my workouts in, I'm happy. I'd like to be able to take a little time off in January, maybe take a drive up the coast of California and stop in a few places along the way. I'll try to check in again before the 31st, but if I don't have a chance, I'd like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year.