Hi everyone, this is Chris Valaika coming to you from the Arizona Fall League. A little about 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.