*I'm not attempting to make this article specifically about me...I'm planning to relate to another player (of any sport) that lacks confidence and strives to do what they love.
Division 2 Baseball
It's no news that few baseball players get picked up and drafted out of a Division 2 school. Every college player knows that, and keeps that in the back of his head.
As it shows, I attended a Division 2 college...in fact I attended a Junior College prior to that. For two years, I spent absolutely dreading life. Playing for a Junior College team that I never enjoyed. Then took a year off, and transferred a to California State University of Monterey Bay. A solid 2,000 students or so. Nothing big at all. My first 3 years of college (in baseball), I believe my ERA was an average of about 7 or so. In baseball, that's not good at all.
In fact it's quite terrible. I hated it...and something had to happen my senior and final year of baseball.
So I made a move. I worked out with a very knowledgeable coach that just so happened to be an MLB trainer. Paul Cater is his name, along with his assistant Trevor Howell, who trains Triple-A players. They both got me to a point where I grew confidence. Not because they had me lifting a lot, but because they made me feel like a positive attribute to their fitness program. I felt wanted, and it in turn boosted my confidence.
That all translated to the mound. It became a game that was fun, not dreaded. I enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed running on the mound with my heart pounding and serving a solid fastball that the hitter could never touch. It was so much fun..
Senior year...wow. What a highlight. It seemed like people enjoyed me much more. Even outside of the baseball field. I felt like walking onto campus, people wanted to say hi as I walked by. It was a good feeling. Maybe Paul and Trevor helped with that, or maybe my attitude changed after spending time at their gym. I'll never know.
When January came around, both Paul and Trevor left for spring training, but their lessons stayed with me, and translated to the field. the 7.0 ERA pitcher was no longer here...I was a much different guy. I was changed.
I walked out of the season with a 1.03 ERA in 37 innings. Unbelievable...even I didn't have the confidence to believe I could achieve those numbers. I was in shock.
Then Post season came around...and the coach asked me to start (I was a closer all year long). I obviously took the opportunity to face the strongest pitcher in the league (Justin Donatella. Drafted 15th round, 2015 MLB Draft). I could not wait to face him. And the day came faster than I expected, and I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be.
In fact, I was more focused than I'd ever been. It seemed like it was just me and the hitters the whole game. 8 innings later and a tie game at 0-0, I gave up my first double. Coach asked me to take my time off the field, and that was the end to my senior year of baseball.
The Never-Ending Phone Calls
The next morning, in the hotel room, I woke up to a text message from a number i've never seen, asking for my personal information with a "-Tampa Bay Rays Scout" at the end of the message. I just about crapped myself.
My first ever questionnaire from a big league scout. How did he get my number...?
One more text came in...and before I could answer that one, a phone call. Then while on the phone, another text message came in. I checked my email, and I had two unread emails from two separate teams. I felt like a movie star..I had no idea what was happening but I was stuck on a permanent smile.
I contacted Paul Cater a couple days later and told him the teams that contacted me, and one of them was the Baltimore Orioles. He was a trainer for that team.
The 3-day MLB draft came up, and my heart was beating faster than it's ever beaten before.
The first day....nothing. I tried to call people and ask what's going on. No response
The second day...nothing. I thought I was done.
The third day, and 32 rounds in (out of 40 rounds), and I gave up. Put my phone down and contemplated what job to apply for (lol). Then 20 minutes later, I receive a call from the Orioles Scout, and what I thought was going to be an apologetic phone call, turned into a "Congratulations, you've just been drafted by the Baltimore Orioles...Go celebrate and we'll talk soon."
It was pretty crazy to be trained by a guy that trains MLB players, who I'd later be playing for.
Mindset and Confidence
The take away message from this article, I guess would be to keep your head on straight, and continue doing what you love. If it's something you absolutely cannot stand, don't continue on...no reason in spending your one lifetime doing something you don't enjoy.
If I had quit baseball, i'd be missing something key in my life. My desire and love for baseball has grown entirely since I was 2 years old with my first glove and bat. Even at the Junior College I knew I didn't enjoy, I still had a love for baseball and quitting wasn't an option.
Continue striving to be great. If your performance on the field is not getting better through constant practice, try a different avenue. Reading books for confidence, spending time with the right crowd that enjoys your time etc.
Be you, Be great! And always think BIG!
Baseball Player and
Owner of www.lifestylemerc.com