Touring with Taylor: ‘Tis the season … for scary and unsure thoughts

A lot of questions bounce through head of a minor leaguer during the offseason.

Greetings from Grand Rapids …

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all, and I hope this most recent post finds you doing well and thoroughly enjoying the holiday week. It always seems like from the third week of November through the first week of January there is a sense of harmony and happiness in the air across the nation. Now, I realize that this is generally because of the holiday season, but I wanted to take a second and point out some concerns that run through our, the players, heads this time of year.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the holiday season and getting festive, but there are some thoughts that start to creep into the backs of most players’ heads around this time. The first being whether or not you are going to get invited back to spring training for the upcoming season. For those of you who were not sure, minor-league players sign contracts; however, it is a year-to-year conditional contract pending an invitation back to spring training. Thus, I find myself writing this and beginning to think more about if I will be invited back. I start wondering: Have they signed more guys at my position that show more promise? Will I be shopping around for a new team?

Okay, so those are heavy thoughts that can really damper the season, but then there is the thought about starting back into the preseason throwing program. Generally, at the end of the season, organizations tell players to take time off from throwing to give the arm a rest before picking the ball up around December or January. I will admit, my first year, I followed protocol more so than I do now, but not throwing until December or January after throwing every day for six months is nerve-wracking. When you pick up that ball for the first time, the idea of “is this going to work again” is right there in your thoughts. I mean, if you were to do something that required such precision and repeatability daily for half of a year, and then stop doing it for three months, would you be 100 percent confident of it coming back? Personally, to help ease this anxiety, I try to maintain some sort of tossing program on a very basic level throughout my “down” time just to prevent that thought from coming back.

There you have it, basic but scary thoughts that us minor leaguers are thinking about this holiday season while everyone else is running around trying to find the best holiday deals and making fruit cakes for days. Please forgive us if you find us in moments of “space” as we may be succumbing to the negative thoughts that exist for all our careers. On that note, I would like to wish you a wonderful beginning to a holiday season and the very best to you and all of your families.

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