Sunday, November 7, 2010

Off season dynamics

Alas, baseball is over for the next 5 months. (That's what you think...)

In reality baseball as we know it never stops. It's a year-round journey to continually improve your game, your body, and thus your chances. I always give myself a break from the end of the season until sometime around the world series. This year, as my 9-5 work has increased, my break lasted until the end of the Fall Classic, which means I'm already behind. Most ballplayers these days train day after day, in season and out, just to get that tiny competitive edge that separates them from the rest. Every team makes changes over the off season whether it be international and domestic free agent signs, late draft signees, or in the Mets' case, front office turnover. All of these factors make it increasingly more difficult to feel secure in your status within the organization. Guys take on physical trainers, stick to rigid diets, and work on their skills because the reality is that no one is safe.

I try (in reference to my last post) to keep some sort of balance between real life and baseball life. The line between the two gets pretty hazy sometimes though. Expenses necessitate that I have a full time job to support my wife and I, but baseball necessitates that I train 5-7 days a week. There are only 24 hours in a day, and finding time for everything seems like a puzzle (I hate puzzles).

Believe me, I know that right handed pitchers who throw what I throw are a dime a dozen. I know that there are guys who get picked up every year with better stuff than me. But I also know that the Bigs are filled with guys like me; guys who make a living (a pretty good one at that) getting guys out consistently with that same stuff. I just finished a season where I threw more innings than any other season, stayed healthy the whole way through, and learned more about myself as a pitcher than ever before. As much as I want/need to throw harder & get faster, better, stronger (thanks Kanye) I have faith in my abilities. Three years into it, I know what my body needs and what it's capable of. Not to say I'm slacking off or content with where I am now, but I'm not pushing it. I'm not gonna blow out a knee doing agilities every day, nor peak too early by starting a long toss program in November. I plan on being methodical about my improvements. As Josh Hopper (college pitching coach) said, "don't work harder, work smarter." Drinking one extra protein shake or doing one extra crunch will not get me into the Bigs any sooner, but staying healthy and sticking to my routine will.

March 6th I will be ready, not a day sooner nor a day later. As for now, I gotta go eat...maybe I'll mix in some vegetables. Don't wanna get sloppy.