As you may recall, Delino DeShields has agreed to check in from time-to-time throughout the season. It's been way too long since our last chat, but I talked to him over the weekend about The Futures Game, commuters and how his season is going.
WTH: Tell me a little about your Futures Game experience.
DD: It was a great opportunity for me and it was something that you dream of. It was one of my big goals coming up through the minor leagues. To be selected for that, it's a great honor and I was real blessed. It just showed how all the hard work paid off and I went up there and had fun. It was my first time visiting New York. I enjoyed the two days I was there. It was fun.
WTH: I don't think most minor league fans understand how tough "commuters" are, those out-of-town trips deemed too short for an overnight hotel stay. Now that you've experienced almost a full season with Lancaster, what do you think about commuters?
DD: They're terrible. You get on the bus every day and drive an hour and a half on a hot bus, getting home at 2:00 [in the morning] and have to get back on a bus at 2:00 in the afternoon. Getting home at 2:00 in the morning and having to shut it down, [and then] wake up and do it all over again. It's tough, man. It's really tough, but everybody has to go through it at some point so you just wear it.
WTH: You recently went through a 26-day stretch with no days off. How do you get through something like that?
DD: That was a long stretch, but we did the best we could to stay healthy. Our Manager did a great job of keeping our bodies fresh and not wearing us out. That was a long stretch, but we got through it and it was all good.
WTH: You had an extraordinary month in July (.349/.407/.500 with 19 stolen bases). What has been the key to that terrific stretch? [Note: DeShields has carried that over into August, hitting .556/.600/.944 with three doubles, two triples and three stolen bases in the first four games of the month.]
DD: I don't know. I guess I figured some stuff out. I'm seeing the ball really well, being more aggressive at the plate and on the bases, probably putting a bit more pressure on defense. I'm just continuing to go out there and have fun and enjoy the game that I love to play and not worrying about what the outcome will be at the end of the day. Just going out there and [playing] hard. Play hard and things will work in your favor. That's all. It's the same game as it was yesterday or 10 years ago or 60 years ago. It's the same game. You've just got to be consistent. Go out there, enjoy yourself and great things will come. Great things will happen.
I have no doubt that we will continue to see many great things from Delino before the season ends. Thank you for your time, Delino, and the best of luck as you head toward the playoffs.