Greetings from Grand Rapids, MI …
I will be calling Grand Rapids my home for the next six months or so, and with that, I will be enjoying its full array of attractions and activities. This is the area I was born and raised in, and by coming back here in the offseason, it allows me the opportunity to give back to the community that was so awesome to me.
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So, I find myself still attached to baseball as much as possible, even though we have been done now for a week. On a regular basis, I check our other affiliate sites for playoff scores, I check the D-backs site for scores and I also get a round up of how everyone else is doing. I’m not sure that I’m doing it to stay in touch with baseball; simply because that feeling never seems to go away. Rather, I feel as if I am following so intently because I want to know how other guys are finishing up.
As the season winds down, players start to pay closer attention to their stats and what numbers they are going to finish with. Now, numbers are not everything that goes into the decisions for next year, but they do play a big role in the process. Thus, with my numbers being solidified, I am trying to figure out where I land in the pile at the end. Realistically, I need to be paying attention to guys ahead of me and behind me, but, optimistically, I usually only follow guys ahead of me.
Many of you already know that baseball is anything but a perfect science; so just because my numbers or someone else’s are better than another’s that does not equate into a promotion next year. Nonetheless, seeing all the numbers, and then factoring in league appreciation (i.e., Cali & PCL are hitters leagues), all of us minor leaguers start trying to project where we will start the following season.
First order of business is to get invited back to spring training. From there, it’s trying to do all that is possible to move up. This is where the internal battle begins. We all want the organization to be successful because that means we are part of one of the best organizations in baseball; however, the other side of the blade within strong organizations is that the promotion and development process tends to be a tighter, slower trend. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want all the guys I play with to fulfill their potential, but at what point do we want that to interfere with our own potential?
Hopefully, you are starting to see the picture being portrayed here. The common axiom of human nature — survival instincts — kicks in and the battle is on. Almost every player deals with it in a different way, much as all of you do in your work environments. Needless to say, though, our window of opportunity diminishes with every September. Some guys fall by the wayside, some guys fight back and some guys just ride out the storm. I do not know the right or wrong answers, but perhaps a hybrid mentality would reign supreme.