March 2022 ENewsletter: Hold the Ice, Bartender

One of my many jobs in life—and, no joke, I’ve probably had over 40 different jobs—was as a bartender at a very nice hotel in Woodland Hills. The Warner Center Marriott was, and still is, one of the nicer hotels in the San Fernando Valley. I believe the hotel opened sometime around 1984, and on the ground floor was an amazing nightclub called Tickets.

I’d just finished my baseball career and was beginning my life as a “regular guy.” My parents told me I had to get a job while still in school, and one of my closest friends, even to this day, had been telling me about working at Tickets and how fun it was. I kept bugging him about getting me a job there, and after about six months, I got an interview and was subsequently hired. I made an hourly wage, but the tips were good.

Eventually, after being what’s called a barback (I’d assist the bartender with whatever they needed to keep pouring drinks), I made my way up to being a bartender. The tips were great, and I had the time of my life there for over six years. It was very hard work, and the late hours really took a toll on my home life, but the money was good.

I got very good at pouring drinks: Long Island Iced Teas, Mai Tais, and every whiskey, scotch, vodka, and gin product with its own chaser. I remember one time I got to meet Kevin Cronin, the lead singer of REO Speedwagon. They’re a very good rock group who to this day still perform on stage for the over 50-year-old crowds. We were on friendly terms, but I always remember him saying, “Hey Jimmy, three fingers of whiskey and hold the ice, or I’ll send it back.” Being a good soldier, I poured his drink, but was confused. I asked him, “Why no ice?” Kevin said to me, “Jimmy, how am I supposed to get drunk with ice watering down my medicine?”  

This leads me to one of the constant questions I get this time of year with players deep into their baseball season. “Coach, my arm is sore. I think I’m going to miss our workout and just ice my arm. Is that what I should do?” The easy thing for me to say is, “Well, if the lead singer of REO Speedwagon doesn’t want ice, then why should anyone else?”

Icing might be the single worst way to take care of a player’s arm. I’ve talked in the past about it, but it delays recovery and lengthens the time of soreness, as well as affecting a number of other areas, which is not conducive to getting back to full strength.  

It’s just like canceling a workout to rest before a game. It’s another one of life’s travesties. You do NOT enhance performance by resting your body. Again, without going into a long diatribe, the human body is made to work and function. It has an incredible desire to get strong by continually working. Resting is what you do at night when you go to bed. Once you’re up and about, then your body is ready to go. Coming to a workout the day before a game or even a pitching outing is absolutely crucial to bettering your performance.  

I always tell players to come in and get their work done. You’ll leverage your chance of success 1000% by working on improving your body and your skill set instead of sitting on the couch and playing video games. I want my pitchers to long toss the day after their outing instead of “resting.” It’s what the body craves, and it’s time for more and more people to understand that this is based on science.  

No more ice, no more resting, and no more excuses. It’s time to get our players’ bodies moving and improving. You’ll thank me for it later! 

Until next time…

Jim