"See that fellow over there? He's 20 years old. In 10 years he has a chance to be a star. Now, that fellow over there, he's 20, too. In 10 years he has a chance to be 30." - Casey Stengel
Today was one of the hardest days of the year. Today was the day that, as baseball players, we realize our career mortality. 5 of my good friends/teammates were released from their minor league duties this morning before i had finished my morning coffee. One after another were called into the office (yes, just like high school) to receive their baseball death sentence. Each one emerged in classic baseball player bravado with their heads held high, chests out...and dreams unfulfilled. Not to say each one of those men didn't give their best every day in hopes of reaching the big leagues, but the truth remains, as Casey Stengel put it, not all of us get there.
We grow up seeing our baseball heroes on the field all spring and summer long playing as if they were born to do it. After watching John Smoltz pitch as a kid I just knew that I, too, was born to play that beautiful game. Year after year I worked on my pitching so that I could get to the BIGS. Little league turned into middle school, high school turned into college, then I arrived at Pro ball with a sense of accomplishment and relief. "I Made It!!" I said. Then just as quickly as I got here, I'm on the chopping block again; earning my way from level to level. Still even as the competition increases, I hold onto the hope that there is a manager waiting to call me into his office to send me up. What I try not to think about, however, is that the same manager is capable and often obligated to call guys like me into the office and say "I'm sorry kid. It's over."