I was you before I hung up my cleats and left my jersey hanging with a lonely drape in my locker.
In the last decade, I’ve coached many like you. In doing so, I always seemed to take on an unofficial role as explainer of adult life. Growing up is hard, and I always felt privileged to be there for boys and girls like you.
Coach is a unique position. We influence and mentor, occupying an unique space — not mom or dad, not your teacher, not your brother or sister. …
As I walked along the brick ballpark fence, my maroon jacket slung over my shoulder, fans leaned over with their arms extended. It was early in the season and the stadium buzzed with excitement. Turning a tinge of orange, the sun had just decided that it would, in fact, set.
Some days, I’d slap as many hands as were placed in front of me. This day, I stared vacantly ahead as I listened to two salty old baseball fans talk loudly about…me.
“Who we got pitching for us today?” The old coot asked his companion.
“This righthander. Man, he’s really been throwing well. 92–94 with a curveball from hell. It’s going to be a good day for us!” …
I found out that my first Tommy John surgery failed because of my doctor’s negligence. How did I react?
The true story of a pitcher who wanted more from himself and refused to give up.
Dear Baseball Gods,
He hustled and worked hard, played the game the right way. Why did this happen? It wasn’t fair.
Dan sat by a tree, staring at the ground trying to decide what he would do next. The doctor had just explained that everything he worked for was now ruined. A second Tommy John surgery? Does anyone come back from that? What team would want an injury-prone right-hander?
A Story About a Ballplayer
Beginning as a walk-on in college, Dan had to earn everything. Pitching on three hours sleep, living in the clubhouse, playing for a team that collapsed mid-season, fighting through more arm pain than any kid should. …
Little droplets of saliva spewed out as he rattled off more nonsense into the microphone. Just a few inches from his face, I stared up at his vacant, wobbly, drunken black eyes as I pulled furious breaths of air up through my nostrils. He was 6'3" 250lbs — a solid 50lbs heavier than me — but I was confident I could hit him hard enough to either knock him out where he stood, send him through the charter bus windshield, or at least crumple him down the winding bus stairwell.
My meditative bus ride was disrupted, my neat feathers were ruffled, my cool blood had boiled, and my gracious hands made fists. Though shaking with anger and intoxicated with adrenaline, I was still certain my calculations were correct — I would only need one punch to end the standoff. …
In American culture, we don’t really value strength of mind to the point where we put effort into training it. In stark contrast with Eastern European and Far Eastern sports and martial arts, American sports rarely stress mental training techniques that can make a huge impact on athlete’s success. This needs to change…
I use the term “we” because I played two decades as a baseball pitcher, one of the toughest positions in one of the most cerebral sports.
Baseball is difficult not because it’s an overly physical sport — it isn’t — but because the time-gap between plays is HUGE. Players have tons and tons of time to think about the magnitude of every single play, and get in their own way because of it. …
In this article I’m going to show you how to create articles that are clear, concise, easy to produce, and appreciated by those who read them.
I’ve learned the hard way how to mold my writing into something that people actually take the time to start — and finish — reading.
The internet has changed the way people consume content, and with it we as content-creators have to deliver our message in a format that is both useful and digestible. Otherwise, no one will listen.
At our core, creators want to be heard.
If you want to write just to purge feelings or submit a stream of consciousness without regard to formatting, get a diary or a private blog. …
I sat down on the edge of the turf pitching mound and stared at the floor. A drop of sweat rolled off my nose and I sighed a deep, frustrated sigh. I used to throw 94 miles per hour, and I was lucky enough to do it as thousands of people watched. On this night, however — tapping into every bit of mental and physical energy — I barely cracked 80 on the gun. I was broken, and I knew it.
I was broken, and I knew it.
I stood up. Schedule right after my own workout was a pitching lesson. One of my academy’s most talented pitchers was just about ready for a bullpen session of his own, and I had to quickly get cleaned up and put on my coach’s hat. …
Run expectancy in baseball is simple, and incredibly important, changing how coaches think about strategy, stealing, bunting, and the value of outs and extra bases.
Is bunting smart? Want to know why bunting is bad? Let’s start with a definition:
Run expectancy: how many runs we can expect to score, on average, given a specific base/out state.
Base/out state is also simple: it’s a situation, such as runners on first and third with one out. Every hitter comes to the plate in a base/out state; it could be 2 outs and bases empty, or no one out and the bases loaded. …
The duffle bag made a long journey, ending in a Dominican orphanage.
It was a huge catchers’ gear bag, big enough to handle a bunch of bats, a full set of gear, jerseys, gloves, pants — all of it. On the end was the #8, proudly embroidered in white with a red border. The navy-blue bag was team property but still felt special, an extension of the high hopes I held for the season ahead.
In February of 2011, I had been traded to a new team called the Lake County Fielders, an expansion team in a brand new conglomerate called the North American League. Other member teams were from Calgary, Edmonton, Yuma, and Maui to name a few, and because of their distance my squad — in the Chicago area — would be flying to all our games. …