Today we had a scheduled practice session at the same place we trained on our first day in Panama, but as we arrived the Italian national team had just begun their practice. When we got off the bus we all spotted Mike Piazza, who is regarded as one of the best hitting catchers of all time. We shared the field with them for a little while, as they were on left field line and we were on right field line but they ended up only throwing and running which gave us the field to take batting practice.
Once we got back to the hotel we all jumped in the pool again for a recovery session then had lunch at the hotel restaurant. Clayton and me decided to try the sporting goods store one more time, and this time it was a great success, they were actually opened! I was able to buy some Under Armour and a pair of shorts, so I was quite happy.
We didn't have much time to relax at the hotel once we got back from the sporting goods store as we had to pack our bags because we were moving to a new hotel after the Opening Ceremony. We packed all the bags onto a truck which took our bags straight to the hotel while we attended the Opening Ceremony. We got to the stadium quite early and instead of standing out in the heat, we all just stayed on the bus in the air conditioned comfort, but we sat there for about an hour and everyone started to get restless and we all jumped off the bus.
We had to stand around for about 30 minutes so I went for a walk hoping to find my Minnesota Twins team mates, but team Germany and and the Netherlands were nowhere to be found. I did in fact see one of my old coaches from my time at the Phillies so it was nice to catch up with him. Once the Opening Ceremony started it was quite a show. From what I've been told by guys that have been to previous World Cups, this Opening Ceremony was very extravagant compared to the others. There were at least 13,000 people in the stadium and there was music, fireworks and live performers on the field. It really felt like a celebration. I was actually quite overwhelmed by the crowd as I have never been on such a stage like that, but I could definitely get used to it.
After the Opening Ceremony we hopped on the bus and began what we all thought was a 3 hour journey. It ended up being close to 4 1/2 hours, including a 30 minute stop off to get dinner. On the bus we watched the movie Horrible Bosses and by all the laughs on the bus, it seemed everyone enjoyed it, then we put one of Carl Barron's stand up shows on, and I can safely say everyone was in stitches from laughter. No matter how many times I watch a Carl Barron DVD I always laugh at the same jokes.
We eventually arrived at the hotel well past midnight and we all pretty much got our keys and headed to our rooms. When Clayton and me got to the room the air condition wasn't on so it was quite unpleasant to be in our room for a little while but it eventually cooled down to a comfortable temperature, good enough so we won't be sweating in our sleep. Speaking of sleep it's time to get some since we open up our World Cup campaign against Cuba tomorrow afternoon.