Sunday, April 10, 2005

It Is Not That I Have Confidence

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - When Maya Angelou wrote, "It is not that I have confidence, but I believe if I fail, so what? Now I have the chance to try again." I do not think she had baseball in mind however, I believe the quote fits. Baseball has its own historic records just waiting to be broken. Those records were achieved only after someone tried to do something incredible, failed and kept trying until they got it right.

If anyone watched baseball last season you witnessed evidence of this with the Boston Red Sox. The way they came back from defeat to win the World Series, 1918 is behind them now for certain. All the Sox fans who hung on and had faith that one day they would be able to make it had heart season after season until that magic came together like it was written in the stars.

In life, like baseball, you are presented with opportunities. In baseball, your opportunities occur with each pitch, at bat or awesome play on the field. You have to learn, practice after practice how to hit a fastball or see a curve ball a split second before you try to make contact with it. In that split second this game can change in someone else's favor. In my opinion, baseball is an art form. You have to have skills, speed, agility and a trained eye to succeed in this game. More importantly, you have to have heart! I hope this season overflows with heart from the fans and the players of the MLB and the Independent leagues.

In Minnesota, we are already seeing evidence of mass fan support for the home team with the 40,000 person turn out for the Twins home opener on Friday night. The MLB season is off to a good start and in a little more than a month, the Northern League will present everyone with incredible opportunities for game wins, new RBI's, new ERA's, and most of all a chance to share the wonderful heart this game has. I am looking forward to the 2005 season, and I hope you are too. Remember Mark Twains advice when you are rooting for your favorite team this season, "It's not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog."

Monday, April 04, 2005

That Feverish, Familiar Season Is Officially Here

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - That feverish, familiar season is officially here bringing with it many mixed feelings from fans and players alike. Between debates over steroids and the historic defeat of the Yankees in 2004 (with the Yankee, Sox rivalry as prevalent as ever) this season is going to stand out in the record books.

In my opinion it is difficult enough for a ball player or any athlete to maintain the confidence and drive it takes to compete. Many of these athletes are heroes to us because they have the guts to put themselves on the line mentally and physically to follow their dreams. They face challenges most of us will never dare face. Heck, some of us have a hard enough time facing our Monday morning coffee. Still, these guys go out day, after day, after day with the hearts of lions trying to achieve what most of us never dare.

The fact remains, some athletes make choices to use substances and write about using them adding to the circus of public gossip which makes it a more difficult arena to compete. After the weeks of speculation and years with blinders on we're re-educating ourselves about how extensive substance use is in our culture. It has never been just an issue reserved for baseball. We're witnessing evidence of this in the most recent reports about substance abuse that remains in football after stringent policies were put in place. Hopefully by educating people and getting the problem out there we'll find a solution.

For athletes out there working their assets off to get to the big leagues on their own merits it has become more difficult to prove themselves. I commend those athletes for the heart it takes challenging themselves to go after what they want from life. Many people never have the guts to take those kinds of risks. Thank you for sticking with it!

As for the start of the 2005 season, many of the players we've been following have run the Spring training gauntlet again for the MLB. The results are in, the rosters have been released and the games are about to begin. While there are players on A, AA, and AAA Farm teams working this season, there are also those with temporarily broken hearts. Spring training is brutal, and as often happens there are only so many positions to fill. Sadly, that means some awesome ball players are cut. The dream doesn't have to end, there is an Independent baseball season to be played in a month and with that short season brings the promise of opportunities. Other MLB teams will recognize the courage and talent still available out there to become an MLB player. Regardless of opinions on who has the more astute skills to become a big leaguer, you cannot back down from your dreams, no matter what ball club tells you its time to wrap up your career. You cannot be a contender in the game of life if you do not get in the ring and fight for your future and dreams!

It's baseball season again everyone! A time of passion, dreams and transactions galore.