Baseclogging With Jeremy Barfield: Resilience
A sore elbow didn't stop Barfield.
A sore elbow didn't stop Barfield.

Posted Feb 10, 2012


The journey to the major leagues is rarely an easy one and Oakland A's prospect Jeremy Barfield knows that struggle as well as anyone. In his latest player journal entry, Barfield discusses what it means to be resilient.

Resilience is defined as the ability to recover readily from illness, depression and adversity. I've been asked plenty of times the best word to describe myself as a ballplayer and as a person. This is the perfect word for me.

Illness: My file with the Athletics' training department is even thicker than Rich Harden's. I have undergone three surgeries on my left knee, one on my right knee, two on my left ankle, two on my right wrist, and one on my right thumb. I've fractured my pelvis and left foot. I've also strained my left ulnar collateral ligament in my elbow. I have been hospitalized staph infection and recently had mononucleosis as well. Also worth mentioning is the fact I was born six weeks premature and almost died at birth.

Depression: I suffered from depression starting in middle school. Following my Grandmother's death I lost it. She was my best friend on the earth and I had never felt so alone in my life. I was medicated for several years and eventually recovered.

Adversity: It's well documented my massive blunder and trouble with the law following my 9th round draft selection by the New York Mets in 2006. Also, the last three seasons I've had more outfield assists every single season than anybody else in professional baseball (Majors & Minors) yet according to a certain national baseball publication, I don't have the strongest outfield arm in my leagues or even the Athletics organization.

The beauty of resiliency is that it's not the problems that define it, but the ability to recover. It's always an ongoing process for me, but that's to be expected. Eminem's most recent album was titled Recovery. It was about his personal triumph in his recovery from addiction. It is his best selling album to date. My goal is to make this 2012 season the best I've ever had. I want to make as much of an impact off the field as much I do on the field. I'm always looking for a way to get better as a person and a ballplayer.

This is a game of failure. If a player succeeds thirty percent of the time he is an all-star. Being resilient will help a ballplayer recover from the failures. [New A's hitting coach and former Major Leaguer] Chili Davis recently told me something very valuable. He said, "This is a game of peaks and valleys. The peaks don't define you, neither do the valleys. It's about how you respond when you're in between."

Staying positive amidst failure is key. If I learn to handle failure then it will be much easier to handle success and what comes with it. With these mental adjustments that I'm starting to make, the physical preparation, and mechanical tweaks to my swing, I'm poised for a huge 2012.

Follow Jeremy and send comments to him on Twitter (@Baseclogger)



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