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Robby Rowland MLB Blog: Pirates Prospect Discuss His Transformation, Trade and Much More

Friday October 5th, 2012

Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present the return of Robby Rowland, Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Prospect. Robby is back on MLB Reports with his latest MLB Blog. We have been very fortunate to have Robby appear several times on MLB reports, in interviews and MLB Blogs prepared by Robby in his own words. One of our fave alumni returns with thoughts from Robby’s World. Robby looks at his transformation as a pitcher, trade to the Pirates organization and much more. Get ready for a special treat. Robby Rowland is real, funny and informative. We know you missed him…as we all did! Get ready to fulfill your Robby Rowland fix!

Robby Rowland-  Guest MLB Blogger:

For those of you who have followed my journey through these blogs, I apologize for taking so much time to write this one. I would like to say thank you to MLB reports for having me on once again. For those of you who are reading one of my blogs for the first time, I want to apologize ahead of time for the writing style. I have so much that I would like to touch upon and I may not always use the proper commas or periods that some English major would… or something like that, I’m not sure. One more thanks is to my computer class teacher, who taught me how to type without looking. I’m glad I can use this skill in my baseball career, unlike all the other subjects in school that seem useless now. I also am known to ramble on a little bit, so bear with me here. Hopefully you will enjoy reading this as much as I did when I wrote it.

As I sit here, listening to a country music Pandora station, I try to think of some things that you guys would like to read about. I’ve heard some good topics via twitter and I will try my best to write about those and try to pick out topics that I can elaborate on. I will try to make this blog entry as entertaining as possible because I know how boring reading can get… if what you are reading doesn’t interest you. I had to do it ALL 4 years in high school… well, I had to read the sparknotes of whatever, which were still boring when they didn’t have anything to do with sports!

I will first talk about my transformation of becoming a “sinker ball pitcher” just over a year ago. Then I will talk about getting traded at the beginning of the season. After I have covered those 2 subjects, I will go on to write about lighter topics. Hope you enjoy and I don’t bore you! Read the rest of this entry

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Robby Rowland Guest MLB Blog: Inside the Life of a Minor League Player

Monday February 6, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen: Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect, Robby Rowland and his 2nd Guest MLB Blog. After a little bit of arm twisting, we were able to get Robby back on the Reports. Just kidding. Robby is a super guy and was very gracious in agreeing to return. For his latest Guest MLB Blog, Robby took in some suggestions from his followers on Twitter to come up with different topics to cover today. From all his entries, Robby chose to discuss life on the road, springtime and pre-game rituals. Exclusively on MLB reports, Robby Rowland is back with his latest blog entry:

Robby Rowland-  Guest MLB Blog:  Hello all! I am honored to say that I have been welcomed back onto the Reports. Once again, I would like to thank Jonathan for having me on here. It truly is an honor to be asked to share my experiences with the world. For those of you who have not met me in person, you should know that I just love to talk… I got kicked out of a lot of classrooms in my day because I love to chat. That’s why I am honored to be on here- because I am allowed to express my love of talking… but just on paper. I have some great topics to discuss with all of you today. The way I like to prepare my blog entries is by asking my twitter followers about subjects they would like to hear about. I like to first write them down on paper and later type in my blog. And once again I apologize if everything is just thrown down with no sense of proper writing. Boy would my english teacher in high school be upset if he/she read these…

So without further adieu, I would like to discuss several of the topics that you have all brought to my attention!

Read the rest of this entry

Chris Swauger Blog: Swags’ Baseball Gear

Tuesday January 17, 2012

Chris Swauger-  MLB reports Blog (Swags’ Hotspot):  I was given an idea for this blog and I tried to run with it.  I ended up plowing headfirst into a brick wall.  The idea was to write about how I choose my equipment.  How do I decide on what gear to arm myself with to go into baseball battle?  I started thinking about it and writing about it… when I realized something: it doesn’t matter.  As a minor leaguer grinding and struggling my way up the food chain, I will take anything I can get.  I don’t care if I have the latest batting gloves or the newest cleats.  There are no style points awarded in this game.  Any and all equipment provided for me is acceptable.  If I don’t have to pay for it, that’s a huge plus.  One of my teammates and I came up with a saying, “FREE is in the budget.”  Truer words have never been spoken.

Contemplating this equipment idea led me to two alternatives.  The first was I could talk about the brands I use and prefer, and possibly galvanize any other company into belly-laughing the next time I or my agent called them to talk about supplying me with gear or a contract.  So that was out.  Then I started thinking about the fact that I have used so much different equipment over the years.  So many different gloves, batting gloves and cleats.  So many different bats. So many different models.  Why?  I concluded that I was looking for an edge.  I’ve been searching for the next best thing to make me better.  I constantly adjusted and changed until I found tools that were comfortable and useful to me and my skill set.  I realized that all the time (and money) I’ve spent playing guinea pig and copycat with my coaches’ and teammates’ gear suggestions mirrored my playing career.  It’s all about adjustments.

Adjustments are the main reason I am still playing.  While I would never be so ignorant as to say I have no talent, I will say that I was not a 26th round senior-sign for nothing.  I have always been a productive player everywhere I have gone, but that is definitely not because it has come easy to me.  Any success I’ve had has been because of hard work and adjusting to what I see, feel, and hear on the diamond.  I believe in and repeat my routines daily, but I am not scared to tweak them and look for alternatives based on what I feel that day.  I try to be consistent with the bats or gloves that make me feel confident on the field, but if something is not working- then it’s time to adjust.

I would estimate I have used about 20 different bat models in my four years playing professionally.  Sometimes I had to change out of necessity, because I have a penchant for buzz-sawing bats faster than factories can ship them to me.  Other times, it was because I got curious what works for other players.  Maybe their “magic sticks” could work for me.  While I’ve never been one to completely throw my hands in the air by blowing up everything I have been working on and radically change my approach, I will shake things up when I think it is necessary.  I have never been accused of being superstitious, and I think that is because of my willingness to change anything and everything to be successful.  I am consistent in what I do and stick to what works. But when it stops working, I grab my gear and move on to the next idea.

That concept is not exclusive to my preparation.  Once the game starts, I take the same approach to each play, each at-bat, each pitch.  I try to have a solid plan going into the game, but if I feel it’s necessary to adjust- I will.  Brad Pitt has a great line in the movie “Moneyball” where he says “Adapt or die.”  I love that.  There is a constant chess match being played on the field between the managers, the hitter and the pitcher. Between the offense and defense.  Falling behind in these tiny point/counterpoint contests usually decides the winner and the lay-HOO-zay-herrr (thank you Ace Ventura).  So when I get in these situations, I’m not afraid to flip my game plan based on what the opposition seems to be doing to me or my teammates.  No one on the field is going to change just for the sake of changing.  Until I prove that I can adjust, players are going to continue to attack me the same way and be successful.  Once I evolve, I get the edge and the pressure to change falls back on them.  Casual observers don’t always see it, but this happens every pitch.  That is why baseball is so fun and interesting. Especially if you pay attention.

I appreciate all of my readers’ attention. If you would like to give me even more of it, follow me on Twitter (@CSwag8).  I hope everyone enjoys my insights as much as I enjoy giving them.

Until next time,

Swags


***Chris Swauger (AKA Swags) is an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals system.  Swags played for the Springfield Cardinals (AA) in 2011.  With his own Blog Page on MLB reports known as Swags’ Hotspot, Swags provides a behind the scenes look into the life of a professional baseball player.  One of the funniest guys we know, these blog entries are a MUST read for every baseball fan! *** 


Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Chris Swauger MLB Blog: My Offseason (Part 2)

Tuesday January 10, 2012

Chris Swauger-  MLB reports Blog (Swags’ Hotspot):  A minor league baseball season lasts about five and a half months from start to finish.  Add in anywhere from a month to six weeks for Spring training and playoffs and the total time playing adds up to about seven months.  Seven months of grinding out games, bus rides, and late-night meals.  Days are filled with early work, extra work, batting practice, bullpens, conditioning lifts, rehab, pre-hab, post-hab, and so on.  Free time is a precious commodity and soreness is an epidemic.  However, when September rolls around, all of us are left with five months to do…absolutely nothing.  After days upon days planned to the minute, what am I supposed to do when I don’t have anything planned for months?

I have worked the part-time jobs (Team Sports Associate and near-Employee of the Month at Dick’s Sporting Goods).  I have worked the awful jobs (landscaping). I have worked the desk jobs (best receptionist EVER at Sportscenter Tampa Bay). I have done the internships (at the University of Tampa). I have given batting lessons.  I have coached AAU teams.  In all my experience trying to fill the time between the end of the season and Spring Training, I have done some crazy things and met some strange characters.  Still, the two things that I have enjoyed the most in the off-season are playing winter baseball in Latin America and substitute teaching.  I have played two seasons in Colombia for Los Caimanes de Barranquilla, as well as this past offseason in Panama for Los Caballos de Cocle.  In the interim, between seasons I have substituted grades K-8 in my hometown of Tampa, Florida. These are two very different activities, but they both have some interesting similarities.

The strongest bond that Winter Ball and substituting share is they are both utter chaos.  Be it a locker room full of fired up Latinos or a classroom full of sugar crazed 3rd graders, someone or something is bouncing off the walls. Not that I am the calmest person in the world, but these people make me look like a Zen master on adderall.  It takes one bikini clad chica to walk across the television screen (which happens about twice every second on Latin American TV) to send every native player into a fist-pumping, chest-bumping, eardrum-thumping frenzy.  It takes just the mention of recess, lunch or PE to whip a room full of elementary school students into gymnasts; chairs are flipped, tables are hurdled and cartwheels are performed.  I can honestly say that if the world was filled with my teammates and students, I would rule it with a Maxim and a jungle-gym.

Not far beyond the realm of complete disarray are the absolutely absurd questions, answers, and statements I have heard in Winter Ball, as well as in the classroom.  This past season in Panama, we were short an infielder on our team because of an injury.  Our coach came to the cage and asked, “Hey [nameless player], can you play third base?” He responded “Oh yeah!” I responded, “Dude, you’re left-handed.”  He replied, “Well yeah, but if I was a righty I’d be better than like, Derek Jeter.”  I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe and ended up with the hiccups. This same player also told his teammates that a pregnant waitress would not be serving tonight because she was on “fraternity leave.”  Once again, I couldn’t breathe.  I similarly busted out laughing this year when I opened up the floor to questioning in front of a group of 8th graders.  I said they could ask any question they wanted. The first question I got was “Do you have a girlfriend?” The second was “How much do you bench?”  Such simple minds… and I love it. 

One other question I got from a 5th grader was “If you are a baseball player, how come I’ve never seen you on TV?”  Yeah…about that…well I am just a minor leaguer right now so I don’t play with the big league Cardinals yet.  “Oh so you suck?” was the response.  Leave it to an 11-year-old to give me a nice dose of reality; just when I thought I’d gained some status around the elementary school campus.  However in all seriousness, he was right.  I have only begun to prove myself and in the big scheme of things, I am still just an Internet-streaming broadcast minor league player.  It is great motivation to get better and stay humble.  The same can be said for Winter Ball.  Taking an 0 for 4 or making an error can give a quick ego check and a nice reminder that I still have a lot to prove.  There is still much work to be done in my career.

The one thing that has been consistent throughout my career is that I have loved every minute of it.  The pure joy that I get out of playing this game is only matched by the happiness that I experience seeing a student light up when he solves a problem- or a concept clicks.  When the kids get excited about learning, I am reminded out how I feel when I get a hit or make a good play.  It’s that same feeling that keeps me going.  I have come to think of professional baseball as a roller coaster: I am just enjoying the ride so far, during the season and out of it.  The journey itself has been the reward.

Follow me on Twitter (@cswag8) if you would like to get a daily perspective and interact with me.

Until next time,

Swags

 

***Chris Swauger (AKA Swags) is an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals system.  Swags played for the Springfield Cardinals (AA) in 2011.  With his own Blog Page on MLB reports known as Swags’ Hotspot, Swags provides a behind the scenes look into the life of a professional baseball player.  One of the funniest guys we know, these blog entries are a MUST read for every baseball fan! *** 

You can catch Part 1 of Swags’ Offseason report by clicking here

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Robby Rowland Guest MLB Blog: Welcome to Robby’s World

Saturday December 31, 2011

MLB reports:  Happy New Year everyone!  On this New Year’s Eve, we get reacquainted with an old friend.  Earlier this month, we featured our interview with Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect, Robby Rowland. After getting to know Robby and staying in touch, Robby has been gracious enough to prepare a Guest MLB Blog, exclusively for the Reports. Fans of the game love to interact with its favorite players. But there are fewer bigger rushes that being able to get inside the mind of a player. Today on the Reports, Robby has opened a window into his mind and soul.  We get to meet Robby and learn about his story. From growing up as a 2nd generation ballplayer, to signing with the Dbacks and his experiences during his first two professional seasons. What does a ballplayer do during the offseason to spend his time?  Robby lets us know…and the answer may surprise you.

Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect, Robby Rowland and his Guest MLB Blog:

Robby Rowland-  Guest MLB Blog:  First and foremost, I would like to thank Jonathan from MLB reports for giving me the opportunity to write this blog entry. With that being said, I would also like to add as a side note  that I did not go to college. So if the writing in this blog is a little off, then just blame my high school teachers…

For those of you who donʼt know me, I would like to take this time to try to give you guys a clear understanding of who I am. I know when I was growing up, I was always so curious about professional athletes and what they were like. I would always look at each of them as an idol or someone famous. But in reality, us professional athletes are just everyday people. Yes, we might get some media attention and be on TV.  But at the end of the day, we really are just normal people like you. I have always admired the professional athletes who, after big games or TV interviews, would still stay humble. Thatʼs one thing that my parents taught me at a young age. No matter what happens, you have to stay true to who you are.

And once again, I apologize if everything is just thrown into one paragraph. I have so many good ideas on what I want to discuss today and quite frankly, my writing skills are not as good as my pitching skills!

Now to the part where I tell you fans a little bit about myself. Let’s see… I was born in Toledo, Ohio on December 15, 1991. I bet you are wondering why a California kid was born there. Well, my dad was also a professional baseball player before me. He was playing for the Toledo Mud Hens at the time and that year we spent the offseason in Toledo. My dad played parts of 6 years in the big leagues, with the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Giants. After I was born, I spent the next several years traveling from ballpark to ballpark. I was very young, so I donʼt remember everything about my old man’s playing days. But I do remember some of the ballparks, especially Fenway! I have some old pictures of my brother and I getting to run the bases at Fenway, but I donʼt quite remember the experience. I do remember getting to go into the clubhouses after games and wait for my dad.

We did end up moving to Cloverdale, CA in 1998. Why you ask? Because this is where my parents grew up and went to school. Cloverdale is a very small town, with a population of about 7,000 people. It has only 1 high school with about 400 students total. It definitely doesnʼt have a variety of restaurants to choose from or many of the big city amenities. I love the small town atmosphere. Everyone knows each other and the people all come to support you in the local high school sport games. It very much enjoyed growing up in this supportive and tight-knit community.

In June 2010, I was drafted in the 3rd round (88th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks. What a packed month, as during that month of June I graduated high school, got drafted, made my professional debut and got a girlfriend… talk about a roller coaster ride! I spent my first professional baseball season in Missoula, MT- the Rookie affiliate for the D-Backs. I got to spend that whole summer with my brother, who signed with the D-Backs the day after I did. It was one of the best summers of my life. And a little bit of a blur to say the least!

It is now almost 2012 and I am in my second official offseason. So now the big question: What do Professional Baseball Players do during their time off from baseball? Well this question would be answered differently by a lot of players. During the season, all the players say that they canʼt wait for the season to be over, that it has been such a grind and they just want to rest… or whatever. And once the offseason hits, these same players say: ”Ok, now I got my rest time. Itʼs been great… for about a week. Wow, what am I supposed to do for the next 4 months!” Let me tell you what I do during my offseasons. I am a guy that can never sit still. I got kicked out of a lot of classrooms because I was so restless! So for me to be on my offseason, I am just plain miserable! I love being active to the point that when a day comes that I have nothing scheduled, I just donʼt know what to do with myself! Last offseason, I basically worked out, ran, watched movies, played video games and just chilled. I could not do that again this year. During the current offseason, I forced myself to get a little side job splitting and delivering firewood (editor’s note: what is this guy, Rocky?) that helped out a little bit. But my other job resulted in a broken truck window… I also help with the local boys varsity basketball team. So between all that, working out and running almost every day, this offseason has been a lot better.

Reflecting on my first two seasons in pro ball, things have not gone the way I planned. Actually, the complete opposite. But just because my seasons may not look great on paper and perhaps maybe my ERA doesnʼt show this, the reality is that I have improved a great deal since I started. It is a big adjustment coming from high school to professional ball. Every pitch here counts, whereas in high school, I didnʼt really care where it (each pitch) was going. I just knew people werenʼt going to hit me based on my abilities. I have learned so much during my two years of professional baseball. Not just from a physical stand point, but from the mental side as well. This game can be great to you… or it can tear you apart.  It all depends on how you approach the game.  You have to be mentally strong and bounce back from setbacks to ultimately make it in baseball.

All baseball players know that this is not an easy game. But I refuse to ever give up. What doesnʼt kill you, will only make you stronger. I love this game with a passion. I live and breathe baseball. My favorite saying is “Baseball is life, the rest is just details.” I know that I am so fortunate to have received the opportunity to live the life of a baseball player. There is nothing I would rather be doing right now. So just because I had a couple of slow seasons, it does not mean that I will give up. I will continue to battle and work hard until I have thrown my last pitch. “I have the opportunity to make my dream become a reality.”

Well I hope this wasnʼt too much of a mess and you guys got to know me a little bit better. If any of you have any questions at all, please feel free to tweet me. I love to interact with fans! If you guys donʼt know this already I am a very sociable guy. Thanks for your time. Hope to be back soon!

Robby Rowland


***Robby Rowland is a pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks system.  A big thank you to Robby for his time in preparing today’s Guest MLB Blog!  Please feel free to leave any comments and feedback at the end of this page.  You can also reach Robby anytime on Twitter (@RobbyRow_12)*** 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Ryan Tatusko Guest MLB Blog: Reflecting on 2011 and Preparing for 2012

Thursday December 29, 2011

 
MLB reports:  We welcome back to MLB reports: Ryan Tatusko, pitcher for the Washington Nationals.  It is a special moment for us, as Ryan prepared the first ever Guest MLB Blog for the Reports.  Now he’s back, to give us his insights on playing Winter Ball in Venezuela and preparing for the 2012 season.  Ryan and I talk on a frequent basis and I have to admit, the man is 110% committed and focused on his goal: making it to the big leagues.  After completing his 2011 season in AAA pitching for the Syracuse Chiefs, Ryan is one step away from achieving that dream.  In his own words, we are proud to feature Ryan Tatusko and his Guest MLB Blog:  
 
 
 
 

Ryan Tatusko-  Guest MLB Blog:  It seems like VZL winter ball just ended and already we are talking about Spring training and how that is just around the corner! I had an absolute blast of a time in the VZL and I learned a lot of things, although my numbers really don’t show it. I was able to work on some things with the help of a pitching coach that has never seen me before; and thus he was able to look at me with a fresh set of eyes and help me out. What was great about still playing that late is that not only did I get to hear those suggestions, but I was able to use them in a game situation right away and test them out and continue to work on them. I am extremely thankful that I had that opportunity as I think it is going to be vital for me going into the 2012 season.

Alas, another season approaches and I am extremely excited for 2012 and to put 2011 behind me. For me, 2011 was a season that was filled with a lot of learning and going through new experiences and dealing with a lot of adversity and failure on the mound. I did have my bright spots and I really feel like I started to make a turn around the corner when the season was coming to an end. So I am eager to get 2012 started. I spent most of the year last year as a reliever, and I believe that is what I am going to do this year as well, although I am not too sure. Preparing to be a reliever is not much different from being a starter for me. I have my routine and what I like to do in terms of lifting weights and running. But when it comes to throwing, I might have to tweak it a little bit.

After the season ends, the Nationals send all of its players a manual it really wants us to follow in terms of running, core work, lifting, and a strict throwing schedule. This is extremely helpful in terms of them making it a step-by-step program for the players and easy to follow. Right now, I am taking some time off from throwing since I technically just got done with my season about 2 weeks ago. I will pick it back up once the new year starts, but that doesn’t mean the other aspects of my training have stopped either. I feel like if I stop running, it will be really hard for me to get to get back to where I currently am before spring training starts. 

My mindset right now is to do everything I can to make it to the next level in 2012. I really feel like I lost myself a little bit in 2011 and tried to do too many things and over think myself. I just didn’t allow myself to be as successful as I was in 2010. I learned a lot about myself and my own mental game down in the VZL and I think that will pay dividends for me this year. What I personally need to do to get to the big leagues this year is to attack the strike zone more and stop nibbling around the plate. I had a horrible tendency to try to make a perfect pitch every time and I wound up falling behind in the count and getting hit or walking people. When I walk people is when I truly get into trouble. I was able to work with Calvin Maduro with the Baltimore Orioles down in Venezuela and we just talked about the mental aspect of pitching. Just being able to do that and get a new view on things really helped me.

Overall, I am very excited for the 2012 season to start and to get ready for spring training. Although I am technically just starting my “offseason” right now, I have a few more weeks of letting my body rest. Then it’s back at it for about a month and a half before its time to report back to Florida!


 

***Ryan Tatusko is a pitcher in the Washington Nationals system.  Ryan played for the Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) and Harrisburg Senators (AA) in 2011.  Please feel free to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of this guest blog.  You can also reach Ryan on Twitter (@RyanTatusko) as he loves to interact with his fans.  Please also visit and bookmark Ryan’s Blog (ryantatusko.wordpress.com) – Thanks Ryan and good luck in 2012!***

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Chris Swauger Guest MLB Blog: My Offseason, Part 1

Wednesday December 28, 2011

Chris Swauger-  Guest MLB Blog:  The winter months are an interesting time for a minor league baseball player.  When the season ends in September, we all exchange hugs, handshakes and well-wishes, knowing full well some of us will never see each other again.  It is a very strange feeling and it carries over into the off-season.  Some of us head home to relax and recover from 140 games or more.  Some get ready to showcase their skills in the Arizona Fall League.  Others, like me, sign up to keep playing in foreign countries.  Those of you who have read my previous blogs know about my experiences playing in Panama this fall.  It was a great experience and now I am back home, enjoying family, friends, and the holiday season.

While this is a time to have some fun, take a vacation, learn a new skill, and basically live the good life, it is also a time to become a better player.  There is not nearly as much communication between the organization (front office, coaches, staff, etc.) and players as there is during the season.  Other than an occasional health update, workout/conditioning check-in, or a friendly phone call, players are generally on their own during the winter.  It is the responsibility of the player to prepare himself for the spring and upcoming season.  This is absolutely the way it is supposed to be because we are all grown men and professionals who ultimately SHOULD be responsible for our own careers.  There is no one there every day checking to make sure we get our work in.  No one grabs us for extra early work or a quick film study.  It is on our shoulders to motivate ourselves and to get better every day.  And nothing motivates hungry minor leaguers more than opportunities.

A few weeks ago the MLB’s Winter Meetings took place in Dallas.  It was a crazy few days filled with transactions and speculations for the approaching season.  It was great for baseball.  Sports and social media were filled with reports about baseball, right in the middle of the NFL and NHL seasons and an ending NBA lockout.  The game of baseball and its following is as strong as ever right now and I am proud to be a part of it.  However I imagine that I, along with every other minor league player, watched and read reports coming out of the meetings with a different perspective than most.

When fans hear that their favorite team signed a huge free agent, lost a big-time player, or brokered a blockbuster trade, their emotions run the gamut from extremely excited to overwhelmingly unhappy.  But the players in the minor leagues think differently.  We look at everything positively.  We are trained that way.  It’s the only way to recover from an 0 for 4 or a bad outing.  Everything has to be taken with a shot of optimism.  Everything has to be looked at as an opportunity.  An opportunity to move up or get more playing time if your team loses a player.  An opportunity to make a great first impression if you are changing teams.  An opportunity to compete if your team adds a player.

My coach in college used to say that competition breeds winning.  That is every organization’s ultimate goal.  Win at the big league level.  The minors exist to mold players who can help that cause.  Every player knew this when he signed or learned it very quickly.  We compete on a daily basis against the other team, the game, and ourselves.  I have always felt that playing with other good players has made me better.  When someone new comes into our organization I have always made it a point to get to know them.  They may know something about the game that I don’t.  They may hold the key that unlocks MY potential.  I may be different from other players in that regard, but I think that has helped me and made me better.

I know for a fact that I am NOT different from other players when I say I want to be the someone who steps up when a player leaves our organization.  Be it free agency, a trade, or any other means, when a spot opens up every single player wants to fill it.  Even if it’s a bullpen spot, I am convinced I could get outs.  A chance to showcase my skills is what drives me every day during the season.  And the thought of getting that opportunity, or getting to compete for that opportunity, is what drives me during the off-season.

I genuinely cannot wait for baseball to start again.  I love the downtime and the chance to train and recover in the winter, but I already have the itch for spring training.  There I will be able to give hugs to those guys I left the previous September, and hopefully get to shake hands with someone new.

Follow me on Twitter (@cswag8) if you would like to get a daily perspective and interact with me.

Until next time,

Swags

 

***Chris Swauger (AKA Swags) is an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals system.  Swags played for the Springfield Cardinals (AA) in 2011.  A regular contributor to MLB reports, Swags provides a behind the scenes look into the life of a professional baseball player in his Guest MLB Blog.  One of the funniest guys we know, these blog entries are a MUST read for every baseball fan! *** 

 

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