Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Road-weary Fish feeling fried

2B Blackwood is glad ordeal is finally over

  • Print
Winnipeg Goldeyes' Jake Blackwood, seen tagging out Sioux City Explorers' Michael Lang at second, is hoping to add a third league title to his resumé while in Winnipeg.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Winnipeg Goldeyes' Jake Blackwood, seen tagging out Sioux City Explorers' Michael Lang at second, is hoping to add a third league title to his resumé while in Winnipeg. Photo Store

The tally is this so far for the Winnipeg Goldeyes: Through 12 games, 10 of them on the road, a record of 8-4.

This is hardly a baseball team in need of an excuse.

Waiting for Home Game No. 2 Tuesday at Shaw Park, second baseman Jake Blackwood wanted to shed some light on just what a 10-game, season-opening road trip does to a group. Winnipeg's 17-day excursion also included a couple of exhibition games and highway miles all the way to Texas and back.

"That's by far the longest road trip I've ever been on," Blackwood, the 29-year-old veteran from Kansas City, said Tuesday afternoon, not much more than 24 hours after the team returned from the marathon trip's final road contest. "Did 12 (days) once and that was long.

"You find yourself mentally somewhat beat down a little bit, because you're on the road and you're having to eat bad food most of the time. It's hard to have a routine. It's hard to be comfortable, get your sleep and get a good meal to eat.

'Any time you're on a bus, you've got bus legs, heavy legs, your hands don't feel good swinging, whatever the case may be'

-- Jake Blackwood, on the Goldeyes' 17-day season-opening road trip

"That stuff all factors into a long trip like that, but with this team, we've got a lot of guys who have played a while. Our guys have some experience, been around the game so I think we were able to do what we needed to do when we needed to do it. We understood how to go about our business and make sure we were prepared for the games."

Blackwood said he was already feeling far superior Tuesday, compared to Monday, when the Goldeyes dropped their home opener 6-5 to the Sioux City Explorers. Game 2 of the series at Shaw Park was Tuesday night.

"Any time you're on a bus, you've got bus legs, heavy legs, your hands don't feel good swinging, whatever the case may be," he said.

Blackwood's addition is major news for the team this season, even though he signed in late January.

In 2010, he terrorized the Northern League for 31 homers, 86 RBI, slugging percentage (.636), 82 runs, 141 hits and 271 bases, all leading totals.

Since that gig, he's won championships in two leagues, in 2011 with Lake Elsinore in the California League and last summer with San Antonio in the Texas League.

"Those were awesome," Blackwood said. "I personally think winning a baseball championship is one of the hardest things to do. As many games as you play, to be at the top at the end, playing 100-plus games in basically six months, that's gruelling. It's hard on your body, it's hard on your mind, and to come out on top, win when you need to win, there's nothing like it.

"I've won two now. Neither was any better than the other. Both were amazing in their own ways. There's nothing like it."

All part of the reason Goldeyes manager Rick Forney was on Blackwood's trail early in the off-season.

The numbers are the numbers but winning is sometimes an unquantifiable magnifier.

"I'd like to think I'm going to bring a solid glove in the field and a threatening bat in the lineup," Blackwood said, noting his .213 batting average isn't quite was he's capable of. "I'm struggling (there) right now but my confidence is still high.

"I have no doubt that I'm going to do what I need to do. I hope that I bring a bit of veteran experience to the team. I've been on a lot of winning teams in baseball, won some championships and been in multiple all-star games and I think I can bring that winning mentality on a day-to-day basis."

Blackwood said the early season hitting challenge is almost predictable.

"Getting used to the league, how they're pitching, working out a few kinks in my swing," he mentioned, listing the factors. "My numbers don't show it but I've been hitting the ball hard. Lined out twice last night. Not terrible at-bats for the most part. Just hitting a lot of 'at-'em' balls right now. That's part of the game."

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 28, 2014 C2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.