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“When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game.” Joe DiMaggio

Before any game begins, an umpire must utter the famous words “Play Ball!”

The definition of play is defined as “engaged in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.”

We are told to play with a ball.  Play the game and have fun.

It doesn’t matter the level that you eventually play at.  Careers are usually ended with the phrase, “I just wasn’t having fun anymore.”

That level of fun can sometimes be determined by our successes and failures. We obviously have more fun when we are finding success.  But the idea of playing and having fun needs to remain a fixture in all ballplayer’s minds and hearts.

We play shortstop.  We play first baseball.  We play centerfield.

We don’t work shortstop.  We don’t work first base.  We don’t work centerfield.

Play leads to fun and fun usually leads to increased success.  Whenever we enter any situation looking to have fun, the results are usually improved.

Yes – there will be times when the game will beat you up and take some of the fun away from you.  There will be times when it is more difficult.  But we need to remember that we are playing a game.

Never forget to have fun on a baseball field.

Your career is often too quick to spend anytime dreading the negative.  The best who have ever played this game looked like they were enjoying the game and that enjoyment turned into a love.

I hope you will always remember the words uttered by every umpire and instill that level of play into this game.

Go out and play –

Until Next Time,

Baseball is truly a team sport:

In order for a ballplayer to have a successful career, it is important to remember all the exterior factors that go into that success.

Multiple World Series champion Curt Schilling stated that “baseball is not a game you can achieve individually.”

The game requires minimum of 18 ballplayers, one umpire and eighteen parents, grandparents or caretakers who made the trek to the ballpark.

If you take those simple numbers and times it by a thousand, then you will have 37,000 people who have affected and allowed you to play this game from the time you were six until college.

So many people invest so much time into this game that it can never be looked at as an individual game.

This game must be played for those other players on your team.  This game must be played for the parents who have sacrificed so much with the hope that you can find success in this game.

We owe it to ourselves to play this game for all of them and never for ourselves and our own purposes.  Play the game for your teammates.  Play this game for your family.  Play this game to challenge your opponent.  Play this game for the past ballplayers who have made so much progress and allowed us to play this great game.

Baseball is truly a team sport that demands individual achievement.  But we cannot get lost in our own achievement because so many people have given us the opportunity to play the game.

Respect your opponent always.  By them showing up and putting on the uniform, they are giving you the opportunity to play the game.

Make sure you take time to appreciate of these factors and hopefully you can be outwardly thankful for all of them.

Until next Time

Take advantage of your opportunities

Legendary Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell stated that “Baseball is a lot like life.  It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs.  You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.”

Ernie Harwell like any person who has been involved with the game for an extended period of time could tell you story after story of opportunities taken and missed by ballplayers young and old.

Baseball will give you the opportunity.  Because our game is played so often, the opportunities are increased.  We have to be ready for the next opportunity.  The next opportunity might come on the next play or the next day, but it will always come.

Ballplayers this weekend might be playing in a tournament where they might play up to 30 innings.  Each inning and each pitch allows an opportunity.  You will have your ups and downs during that time period, more importantly you will have many opportunities.

A common complaint when a young player does not succeed is the lack of opportunity.  I rarely believe in this complaint because every player gets many opportunities.  We cannot let one missed opportunity or one bad day get in the way of our next opportunity.

Helen Keller once said “when one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one what has been opened for us.”

Continue to be ready for the next opportunity.  It will come and it is up to us to take advantage.

Be the ballplayer that at the end of your career you can state that you took advantage of your opportunities instead of the ballplayer who complains about the opportunities that you were not given.

Until Next Time

The importance of getting your uniform dirty on a baseball field

A game played in the dirt.  A game so engrossed in getting dirty that old time visiting baseball uniforms were originally dark colors that would hide the dirt because when players were on the road they could not launder their clothes.

Thus we have home whites and road greys.

Original baseball uniform decisions were based on dirt!  What a wonderful way to make decisions.  A baseball player is meant to get dirty.

Major League Baseball’s all-time stolen base leader Rickie Henderson believed that “If my uniform doesn’t get dirty, I haven’t done anything in a baseball game.”

He was famous for his head first slides into second or third base.  My childhood memories are filled with visions of Rickie Henderson’s dirty jersey and clay filled pants.

There are so many opprotunities to help your team when a ballplayer is willing to get dirty.

* Diving back into first base can only occur if you were aggressive enough to take a big enough lead.

* Sliding into second base, third base or home.

* Diving for that ball in the hole to try and help your team.

A simple goal for every young player is to say that “I want to leave this field dirty.”

If you leave the field dirty then you had a successful day. You were involved in the game.  You were on base.  You were trying your hardest to make that play in the field.  You dove for that fly ball and filled your legs with grass stains.

This is a simple game.  Get dirty and play in the dirt.

Give me a player whose uniform is dirty after a ball game rather than a clean uniform.

Yes – kids – You might have to learn to do the laundry at an earlier age because your parents might be sick of cleaning your uniforms and practice pants, but it is all worth it.

Play this game the right way and get dirty every time you are on a baseball field.

Until Next Time

Problems with rushing your sons’ or daughters’ progress:

Presenting challenges to young players is essential towards them reaching their pinnacle in any sport.  If we do not continue to challenge, then a young players talents can start to stagnate.   A push in recent years has been to play your son or daughter up in age level to challenge them.  It has become so normal where an 11-year old and under team might be filled with nine and ten-year-olds.

Although the idea of this process seems understandable.  Parents will state that their son or daughter will receive more challenges and their son or daughter will rise to that level.

But there are fallbacks to this idea and many young player’s abilities might stagnate even more if they do not find success.

Success is key in this game of failure.  We need to find success at every level before we move up the ladder.  Essentially by moving your son or daughter up a level or two, we are skipping that level of success that might be essential towards their progress.

The idea is “sometimes it is okay to be a big fish in a small pond.”  Because that success that we might attain will be essential to compete at a higher level.

When a young player skips a step and they constantly compete against older and many times better kids, then they might start to doubt their own abilities.  They forget that they were good enough in the beginning for a step to be skipped.

If you choose to play up a level or two, make sure your son or daughter is finding success in some way.

It is important in every avenue of life to have success and it is essential for a young mind and body to find that success.

Baseball is not a rush to the top.  It is a lifelong process and it takes time.  Make sure the proper care and time is taken and not overcome by a rush to push and push up the ladder where we might not find success and then regret the decisions.

Until Next Time


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