I was born in Lihue, Hawaii, but that's because they had the only hospital on the east side of the island. I really grew up about nine miles from there in a place called Koloa.
I've never really pictured myself living anywhere but in Hawaii. I've become very used to the lifestyle and I truly miss it during the baseball season.
That said, I'm very happy to be playing Major League baseball. I can always go back to Hawaii during the offseason.
The lifestyle in Hawaii is very laid back. There aren't any freeways. Many of my days are spent waking up, going to the beach and coming home to relax. Now, I have a house with a couple of horses and a small pasture. I like to hang out with them.
I like Atlanta, too, and I've become comfortable there. It's just very different than what I grew up with. Everything is so relaxed and beautiful in Hawaii that it seems less stressful. It's something that everyone should experience at least once. It's a peaceful place with a small population.
Surfing, obviously, is pretty big back home and I love surfing, but I wouldn't say I'm a good surfer. Every time I go back during the offseason, I get back to "above average" status, but then I take a couple steps back during the baseball season when I don't get the opportunity. When you don't surf for a while, it takes time to get back into the swing of things.
There's nothing in my contract that says I can't surf in the offseason, and I consider it a great workout and I like to use it as part of my offseason conditioning. It's great for your back and shoulder muscles. My first month back in Hawaii, my muscles are always burning after a day of paddling. It takes some getting used to.
Paddling on a surfboard is similar to the motion of throwing a baseball. It works a lot of the same muscles.
When I was growing up in Hawaii, I was a big fan of Oakland. The Bash Brothers were very popular. I loved watching Dave Stewart pitch for Oakland. It was kind of a proximity thing for me. I was able to watch some Braves games because their games were on the TBS Superstation, but there was a significant time difference and the games were usually on early in the afternoon.
Hoping to play professional baseball while growing up in Hawaii is a tough proposition, though. It's difficult for scouts to come out there due to the travel requirements. I think it's only been the last five years or so that teams have made an effort to go over there and start seriously scouting.
For most of the young guys playing baseball in Hawaii, trips to the Mainland are a showcase. That was your chance to get noticed. If we did something well then maybe a scout would follow us home and watch one or two more games.
The athletic level in Hawaii is just as good as anywhere else, but speaking strictly of baseball, the talent level is a little below that on the Mainland. In Hawaii, we don't play baseball year-round. We switch to other sports as the seasons dictate.
Tyler Yates, 30, first came up with the Mets in 2004 before being acquired by the Braves. In 2007, he made a career-high 75 appearances and recorded two wins, two saves and 13 holds.
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