Guest Blogger: Chris Valaika

     Hi everyone, this is Chris Valaika coming to you from the Arizona Fall League.  A little chris_valaika.jpgabout myself, I am a 23 year old shortstop from Santa Barbara, California.  I was born in Santa Monica, moved to Valencia where I spent my childhood.  There I was the oldest of 4 boys and a sister.  Those were some interesting times growing up with that many people in one house.  I then played my high school ball at Hart High School.  Where my brother Patrick is currently the shortstop.  After high school I was recruited to play at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Where ironically, my brother Matt is currently the shortstop.  I guess we are a package deal.  After my third year at UCSB I was fortunate enough to be drafted in the 3rd round by the Reds.  Let me tell you that was an amazing day.  To hear your name called over the internet and know that all the hard work you have put in has payed off and gave you an opportunity to play professional baseball, what a feeling.  I am currently finished with my second full season of pro ball now and have played in some pretty amazing facilities such as Dayton and Chattanooga.  I look forward to next year where I hope to get a chance to play in Louisville.

     
     Well, enough about me.  The Fall League thus far has been outstanding.  Being able to be around such quality players day in and day out has really been great.  Getting consistent at bats against the some of the best pitchers from other organizations is really going to help me in my development as a young player. I get the opportunity to play 40 more games and work on my skills not only at shortstop, but all around the field.   As you all already know from Drew’s blog, I am living with 6 other Reds players and that tends to be some fun times.  Last night, Justin “Red” Turner and I drove down to Tucson to see the USC Trojans take on Arizona.  We sat in the USC section right behind the band and watch the Trojans try to give Arizona the game.  All in all USC pulled it out and made the drive home for us a little more pleasant.  Fight On.  Also, earlier this week all 8 of us Reds here had a great dinner with Walt Jocketty and the entire front office staff.  That was a great dinner and very cool to have such high ups in the organization befriend you and plan a night just for us.  I know we all appreciated that night. 
    
     It is Sunday, so I am going to wrap this up so I can get down to the pool, watch some football, and start the barbecue.  Hope I can talk to ya’ll again soon.
 

5 Comments

Hey Chris,
My wife and I were married in Santa Barbara. It’s a great place to live.
I’m glad you’re getting experience all around the infield, and not just at shortstop. You never know where the greatest need might be, as you move up through the system.
We’re all encouraged by the great wealth of talent in the Reds system. It’s been a long time since we had such highly regarded prospects. I hope this translates into a pennant contending team in the near future. Considering what the Rays did this year on a slim budget, we can only hope Walt Jocketty finds a way to make it work for Cincinnati.
Good luck to all you guys.

Dennis
Groton, CT

Nice to hear you guys are enjoying your time in AZ. Playing on a winning team helps I’m sure. I’ve heard reports that you might be better suited for another posistion, have you considered that? The reds could use a left fielder lol! Interesting that your brothers are SS as well,coincedence? or following in your foot steps.
Anyway,keep up the good work all you guys hope to see you in Cincinnati soon.
Also glad to see another reds fan in CT. maybe we could meet someday, that would be fun.
Bob
Oldsaybrook, CT

Chris,

My wife and I enjoyed watching you play in Dayton. We seen you play against the Tennessee Smokies in August 2008 when we went to TN for vacation and got some things signed by you before the game. I’m sure you remember us as we by far have to have the largest memorabilia collection of yours! We cant wait for you to get promoted to Louisville, a little closer of a drive for us! Hope you are doing well and hope to see you at Redsfest this year, do you know if you will be there?

Nate
Dayton, OH

Hi Chris!
As new members of the Reds family, we Mudcats fans are learning all about your team. It helps that you are well-versed in barbecue and already say “Ya’ll”!! We’ll be online watching your success and ready to see you if you are headed to Carolina.
Pat Logan, Wilson NC

Life is a foreign language; all men mispronounce it.
http://www.nicetick.com
Air Jordan

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