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ex-Angels reliever Darren O'Day retired today (A look back at his 2008 Spring Training Journal for AW)


Chuck

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Congratulations on a good career and your retirement, Darren.

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Back in 2008 Darren O'Day did a couple spring journals for AngelsWin.com (a few other Angels players/prospects did this later on as well). 

Here's a look at Darren's submissions. 

Darren O'Day Player Journal (2008)
 
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(AP Photo)
 
Darren O'Day is in the midst of his rookie season pitching in the Major Leagues with the Angels. The 25-year-old submarine-throwing reliever has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the big leagues, making his MLB debut in only his third professional season.
 
O'Day went undrafted despite a solid college career as a reliever at the University of Florida, but the Angels wisely signed him as a free agent. And 21 months later he was in the Angels bullpen.
 
Today O'Day begins an occasional column sharing his thoughts along the way of his first season with the Angels.
 
Hey, Angels fans. Chuck has asked me to share some the excitement I've been through the last six months with you. Hopefully, if he is persistent enough to remind me over and over to write these, we can make this a regular thing. I am writing from above the Grand Canyon, flying comfortably on the team plane, headed for a ten day East Coast swing against Baltimore, Boston and New York. The wild ride that has led me to this cushy seat, my own row, and excellent food started in February, on a plane with markedly less comfortable accommodations (middle seat and peanuts), heading the other way from Jacksonville, Fla., to Phoenix for my first big league spring training.
 
As a minor leaguer, an invite to big league camp is about the most exciting news you can receive in the off season. Spots are very limited in camp, and to be one of the few selected means the front office and coaching staff thinks very highly of you and your skills. It is not only a reward for what you did the year before, but an opportunity. It is a chance to test your mettle with the best players in the world, and show these coaches and players what you can do. I found out in mid-December that I would be attending and immediately started training harder than I had ever before. Our organization is so flush with talent that I knew my only chance to hang with these guys was to take it to another level. So, I packed up my belongings, said goodbye to the hometown crowd and moved an hour and half south to live with my brother, Kyle, in Gainesville, Fla., where I played four years of college baseball for the University of Florida.
 
Kyle is three years older than me, and as most little brothers do, I idolized him when I was little. He started playing teeball when he was 5, and of course I couldn't wait for my chance to get started. If my counting skills at the time weren't limited to how many fingers and toes I had, I probably would have started a countdown of days until my first game. I give Kyle (and my dad Ralph) the credit for getting me into baseball. As my flight accommodations came full circle above, so did Kyle's involvement in my baseball career.
 
Kyle trains Olympic caliber sprinters in Gainesville, and along with help from strength guru Rana Reider, he adapted their workout for my baseball needs. It was the most challenging regimen I have ever done, but far and away the most rewarding. Everyday I would leave the track, weight room and baseball field feeling defeated and weak, but knowing in the back of my mind that this is what I had to do to shine in spring training. I firmly believe that my hard work and Kyle's program is what put me into position to take advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves in spring training, and ultimately got me to the big leagues. He is also a massage therapist, who specializes in soft tissue work, so not only did he spend many mornings putting me through his program, but many afternoons putting my body back together after he destroyed it! So he did all this and has still yet to receive compensation for any of it. What do you think says "thanks for getting me to the big leagues"???
 
When I started there, it was just me training alongside the sprinters, but as the winter wore on I had two training partners join me: Flint Wipke (playing at high-A Rancho) and Devin Thomas (a Tigers farmhand). It turned into a little training camp of sorts. Kyle and I agreed that we should try to do something formal in the coming years, so we can share the routine and up the intensity even more. So lookout for Camp O'Day, or baseball bootcamp, or maybe I'll let him pick the name.
 
This entry is getting long, so maybe in the next one I will talk about Big League camp itself. Hope you guys enjoy it, and thank you for reading.
 
- Darren O'Day
 
Darren O'Day Player Journal (2008) Vol. 2
 
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Hey everybody,
 
I come to you this time from my couch in Salt Lake City. I was optioned to join the Salt Lake Bees a week ago, and luckily I went from one pennant race to another. Although you don't see us on Sportscenter every night, we still play some good baseball down here. I had a blog entry prepared regarding our east coast road trip, the signing of Tex, and Lackey's bid for a no hitter, but when I was reassigned it was lost in the shuffle of trying to reorganize my life for a bit. This is the reality of being an up and coming player in such a talent laden organization. Chuck went ahead and created an email address for you guys to send me questions. Feel free to email me at angelswinoday@gmail.com, so you can point me in the right direction. The one condition is that there will be some clubhouse questions I can't answer. The locker room is a sanctuary, and some things must be kept sacred. Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from all of you.
 
What hazing type incident did you have to do as a rookie? As a new bullpen addition?
 
- Bruce N.
 
I haven't really endured any "hazing" as of yet. There is however a yearly tradition of dressing the rookies in embarrassing costumes in September. Hopefully I am with the team so that some of you get to see me in a skirt or something similarly ridiculous. The veterans get to choose the outfit and we are then paraded in front of the fans in the parking lot and at the airport. Last year the Yankees did a great job dressing their rookies in Wizard of Oz costumes......I thought Joba made a great cowardly lion.
 
I'm sure some of you might be familiar with the famous bullpen snack bag. It is pink or purple, with the most embarrassing theme possible. We fill it with gum, seeds, and candy to tide us over during the three hour games, and the bullpen pitcher with the least amount of MLB service time is responsible for its upkeep and transportation. You can imagine the attention it gets in places like Boston, Seattle, and Philly.... My first bag was a My Littlest Pet Shop rolling backpack in neon pink. On opening day, I was told to roll it all the way from the locker room to the bullpen in the Metrodome. Minnesota might not draw the crowds we get in Anaheim, but on opening day it was packed. My rolling form was so outstanding that Sportscenter even featured me (and my bag) in it's opening clips that night (picture seen below). That, along with a couple articles and blogs featuring my stylish luggage, was enough attention for Hasbro to notice my free advertising I was doing for them, and send me a nice letter and care package. The letter thanked me for choosing My Littlest Pet Shop and it came with a lunchbox, and couple t-shirts, a pail and shovel, and tons more pink stuff. I was pretty surprised when it showed up in the clubhouse, and we all had a few laughs about it. Franky did a good job picking that one out for me, and since Arredondo's arrival he has been sporting a purple My Little Pony backpack.
 
I intended to answer a couple more questions, but I have to be up early for a flight to Sacramento. Hopefully I will get to a couple more while I'm there.
 
- Darren O'Day
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  • Chuck changed the title to ex-Angels reliever Darren O'Day retired today (A look back at his 2008 Spring Training Journal for AW)

I wasn’t following transactions closely back then, so I’ll ask this and see if anyone who was can answer…

How/why did O’Day get taken in the Rule 5 draft from the Angels?

Most Rule 5 picks have never appeared in the majors before, but he did in 2008 before getting picked in 2009?

He was pretty decent in 2008, so how did he even end up off the 40?

If someone was gonna take him in the Rule 5 draft, why didn’t they just claim him on waivers (which he must’ve been on, otherwise he couldn’t have been taken off the 40-man roster)?

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3 hours ago, Trendon said:

I wasn’t following transactions closely back then, so I’ll ask this and see if anyone who was can answer…

How/why did O’Day get taken in the Rule 5 draft from the Angels?

Most Rule 5 picks have never appeared in the majors before, but he did in 2008 before getting picked in 2009?

He was pretty decent in 2008, so how did he even end up off the 40?

If someone was gonna take him in the Rule 5 draft, why didn’t they just claim him on waivers (which he must’ve been on, otherwise he couldn’t have been taken off the 40-man roster)?

Angels were pretty stacked with talent back in 08-09.

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27 minutes ago, happybat4 said:

Angels were pretty stacked with talent back in 08-09.

I remember that being the case as to why he was released. He had such a tremendous ST and came out of nowhere that spring to make the club as a reliever on their 25-man roster. 

Hoping the same thing happens for one of Ingram, Torres or any of our other relievers out of AA and AAA. Would love to see Luke Murphy, Ben Joyce and Daniel Davis up with the club at some point in 2023. 

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So I looked back, and I guess the question is what were the Mets doing?

O’Day was placed on waivers— free for anyone to claim— and all 29 other teams, including the Mets, passed on him.

But then, a few weeks later, the Mets took him in the Rule 5 draft (where he’d have to stay on the active roster all season in order for the Mets to keep him). So why didn’t the Mets just claim him when he was on waivers?

Maybe GMs are just way smarter now than they used to be, but that makes zero sense.

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