These aren't your father's (or grandfather's, or great-grandfather's) Boston Red Sox. After 86 years of humbling futility, the Sox broke "the Curse of the Bambino" in 2004 and won the World Series. Three years later, they were victorious in the Series again, and throughout the 2000s have been a regular in the playoffs.
This year's first-round sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels will only up the ante for next year, as the culture of the Red Sox has been dramatically altered in the past decade. Every year, the goal is lofty, yet now attainable: Beat the hated Yankees, win the division, advance to the Fall Classic and add another Commissioner's Trophy to the collection. No problem, right?
For those in the minors, high performance is essential to cut through the fierce elite-level competition and earn the chance to join the 25-man roster. Enter Peter Ruiz, a 22-year-old starter who was drafted in the 10th round in 2008 out of Santa Barbara City College, and has now played for two years for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in Fort Myers, Florida. He's working hard for the opportunity to step up to the big leagues, and is doing everything he can on the training and nutritional front to improve his odds.
Ruiz made the transition to pitcher after high school, where he primarily played first base. In just three years of regular mound work, the 6'2" righty has developed a promising curveball and a fastball with late movement -- both could prove to be extremely valuable against major-league bashers.
But that's not his only arrow in the quiver. "A teammate of mine with the Boston Red Sox introduced me to Supreme Protein bars," Ruiz recalls. "(He) let me try a bar and I was amazed with the taste and amount of protein (30 grams per bar). As a professional athlete, you need good carbohydrates and a protein-packed diet. The bars suffice for both of those needs."
"Supreme Protein bars help to give me the essential carbohydrates I needed to fuel me through a long day of baseball," Ruiz says, "while also giving me the large amounts of protein needed to help lose fat and keep muscle."When asked what was the most important feature of Supreme Protein bars -- the premium protein profile, overall nutritional content, the convenience of having a balanced meal you can easily tote anywhere, or the taste -- he was quick to answer. "All of the above," Ruiz says. "The nutritional value of the bars is great. In baseball you're always on the go ... bus trips, games, practice, et cetera. The convenience of having a healthy meal replacement makes it much easier to eat (right). And it's the best-tasting bar on the market. All of the flavors are incredible."
Would Red Sox pitcher Pete Ruiz recommend Supreme Protein bars? "Most definitely," he answers. "It's a great-tasting product with great benefits for anyone who is serious about his or her health and fitness."During his transformation, Ruiz did 45 to 60 minutes of cardio per day, put in a full day of baseball practice and lifted weights four times a week. "My overall goal was to shed the unnecessary excess fat that I had stored on my body -- I wanted to get down to right around 200 pounds without losing any muscle," says the California native. "The transformation took place during the season, so I couldn't lift as often or as heavy as I would during an off-season, making it more difficult to lose fat and not muscle. This is where the Supreme Protein bars helped out. My diet consisted of egg whites and veggies for breakfast, a Supreme Protein bar and a piece of fruit before practice, salad with tuna or chicken and cottage cheese for lunch, a Supreme Protein bar after baseball, salad and some kind of protein with veggies for dinner, and a protein shake before bed."
Next up for Ruiz, who hopes to play for either the Lowell, Massachusetts, or Greenville, South Carolina, affiliate next season, it's more training, more work on his arsenal of pitches, and one overarching goal. The last item on that list involves a patch of hallowed ground among the members of Red Sox Nation, as he gives a brief but telling response when asked where he sees himself in the next five years. His answer? "Pitching in Fenway Park."