One of the most coveted things about the grind of a long season where you try to balance travel, harsh diets and differing living conditions with performing everyday is that occasional time off you get when your manager rests you or you make it to one of those sparse off days.
Every player relishes a little time off but as I move into the second week of being away from the game, the needed time becomes unwanted time off.
Part of the season is being able to deal with adversity. Prolonged personal slumps and team slumps are among the biggest challenges but I think the most frustrating thing for a player can be a time-loss injury. When you are struggling at the plate or the team is struggling to get victories everyday, you can take steps towards trying to get out of that. When you are banged up most times your activity is so limited that you just want to be able to get out there and do something, even if you know that the best remedy is simply rest. That can be a tough pill to swallow because you are so conditioned towards being proactive in situations where you are unhappy with what’s taking place.
Every player wants to be patient but it’s difficult to get where you want to be, as a team and personally, if you can’t even get on the field. That’s why every player says, “there is always tomorrow” because the next day brings the opportunity to add a victory, a homer, a run scored, an RBI – anything really – to your personal and team resume. If you can’t be out there you are really going backwards and that can be frustrating.
Ok, so I received a wealth of questions so I will try and attack them:
Questions from Larry M.
1.) That day in March when you got sent down to minor league camp, what was going through your mind that Saturday? You and Chris Carter were jumping back and forth between the A games getting in some extra at bats.
Honestly, I was just excited about the opportunity to get some consistent at-bats and get myself ready for the season. I wanted to see some pitches and catch up as fast as I could so as to be ready for the start of the regular season in a few weeks.
2.) While in the Phillies organization, and playing in Clearwater, what did you think about BrightHouse Field? I have been to that park many times in the spring and during the A season, and I love Frenchy's in Left Field.
It is a great facility and I enjoyed my time there in High A. It’s always nice to be able to show up at the ballpark at a place as nice as BrightHouse. Great weight room, plenty of locker room space, nice cages. As a player you really can’t complain about that.
3.) What baseball scholarships did you have and why did you pick Stanford?
I worked extremely hard in school so I had a lot of options when it came to attending a university. I was also lucky enough to play baseball in Florida, at a great high school for baseball and against a lot of great players, so I could be seen and evaluated by college and professional people alike. I had the option of going to a lot of different schools; in the end Stanford was the best combination of athletics, academics and weather. Plus if you spend any time there you realize rather quickly how special of a place it is. It was maybe the easiest decision of my life.
4.) I have a two-year old son. I played JC ball until I hung up my spikes, but I want to start getting my son involved in the game, which we do watch the Cubs game together, as we are from Chicago, and go to Kane County Cougar games and tell him what is going on so he starts to understand the game. What do you think is the most important thing for a beginner that is learning the game needs to know first?
Wow, well I’d start with the basics obviously, but if you are ever going to get your son involved in the game, the best lessons I would want to pass along are: its just a game, you will fail a lot, and steal as much fun from the game as you possibly can.
From George C., Davis, CA
Thanks for writing this blog! You mentioned Mother's Day in your last post. I was wondering what influence your mom had on your career?
Mom was always there to support whatever it is I wanted to do with my life. I was very lucky in that my parents never pushed me towards any one pursuit. They just always insisted that whatever I chose to do I put forth my best efforts. That’s a great way to approach life.
My name is Jeff and I'm on my high school baseball team. When you were in high school, how did you get scouts from colleges or MLB to notice you? Was it nerve-racking to be scouted?
Yeah, there were always scouts around my high school. I was a teammate of Zach Grienke, so early on in my career there was anywhere between 30 to 50 scouts a game watching him. But it can be nerve racking but you will get use to it and I’ll say this – no matter who you are, or who you will end up being in life, much less the game of baseball, most people who see you play will have varying opinions on how good you are, and how good you will be in the future. What’s most important is enjoying your own efforts and trust me, whatever is supposed to happen in your life, will.
I'm a regular at the River Cats games and I have noticed that you seem like one of the more friendly players, always signing for fans and chatting before the games. Is there a time that you don't like to interact with fans?
The only time it gets difficult is when I have friends or family in town. Those are moments when I just want to get out, get showered and hang out with loved ones. Other than that, there are occasional moments when I am having a bad day, either on the field or personally where you may be less cordial but for the most part I try to interact and keep a smile on my face. It’s just a game.
Thanks everyone for your questions and I look forward to next week.
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