Tebow Continues To Inspire Us All


-David Strobach-

Tim Tebow’s first spring training is officially underway!  Recently in a press conference, he responded to a reporter with an eye opening statement…

What a beautiful statement…

This press conference reminded me to keep things in perspective.  In our world today, we are often so self absorbed, spoiled, overindulged, and happy to be rewarded with participation trophies. The result is that we are often overly sensitive allowing the slightest correction or criticism to offend/hurt us.  In sports,  we feel so defeated about matters that mean nothing in the long run like making an error or being in a slump.  How can we feel so pressured, so worried about ourselves when there are so many people suffering? There are people without clean water or shelter and we are worried about selfish superficial “1st world problems” like purchasing the latest cleats or high tech bats.   There are much bigger things to worry about than my baseball games or being angry when my team loses in the playoffs.  So much of our life is just a game filled with noise and stuff – it’s a social media profile.  Life should be more than a stat line and likes/views on a post.

Let us all try to follow Tebow’s words as wanting to be a person that brings “faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.” The world is so much bigger than us and we must keep things in perspective. So let’s do better! Get out there and be someone’s home run while helping the less fortunate. It will result in the most rewarding stats of your life.

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Jeter’s 10 Life Lessons


-David Strobach-

In The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieveing Your Dreams, Derek Jeter lays out his top 10 life lessons.  These are wonderful guidelines that can apply to everyone. Here is my take on each of Jeter’s life lessons.

Image result for derek Jeter top 10 life lessons

1. Set Your Goals High

Always set your goals high.  If you don’t dream big and set goals to accomplish your dream, then you will be disappointed. The quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,“A goal without a plan is just a wish,” applies perfect.  Derek does not want you to wish for things.  He wants you to make that wish a goal and work for it.

My goal is to be a journalist covering baseball one day.  I hope my plan of creating a name for myself through this platform can help me accomplish my goal.

2. Deal With Growing Pains

The road to success will never be easy.  There are always bumps on the road.  Derek Jeter had numerous slumps throughout his career, but he dealt with them and got back on his feet. Mistakes carry value.  It’s where we learn, build upon ourselves, and get better.

People are always going to doubt you.  Sometimes they are threatened by your potential. Harness that doubt and negativity into positive energy.  When someone doubts me, it only fuels my fire to become a better player,  writer and person.

It’s all about the attitude we posses when confronting our growing pains that ultimately helps us deal with and overcome them.

3. Find Role Models

Role models can be crucial to one’s success.  They are someone you can always go to for advice and help.  Some people may not have any role models they know personally in their lives, so they may look up to their favorite star as a role model.  This is why I feel it is of utmost importance for “stars” to lead by example.  We are all watching and many follow in their steps.

Some huge role models of mine are my parents, coaches, friends, and siblings.  They are my number one fans and will always be there for me through thick and thin.  Another role model of mine, a friend I made though my platform, is Tom Pipines of Fox News.  He has taken me under his wing and I’m grateful for his mentorship.  Pip is always there for me.

4. The World is Not Always Fair

The worst of things can occur to the best of us.  Only focus on what you can control and strive to be the best in it.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Who better to tell us this than a superstar in the game of failure? If all we did was succeed, do we truly know what success is?  Our worst of times, bring out our best.  Failure is a constructive obstacle that makes success more fulfilling.  Failure is our opportunity to learn, improve and challenge ourselves.

6. Have a Strong Supporting Cast

I have never been forced to like or do anything by my role models.  I have been able to discover my identity on my own with the unconditional support of people around me.  You can’t reach your dream by yourself.  It takes a village to raise a star.

Another way to look at a strong supporting cast is competition.  Look at others in your prospective field as friends, but also as competitors to challenge you.  Most importantly, STAY AWAY FROM THE HATERS!

7. Be Serious, but Have Fun

If you want to be successful in whatever it is you want to do, it has to be taken seriously. Work harder than anyone you’re competing with.  Understand the task at hand and do everything you can to accomplish it.

If you have a true love and passion for what you desire, the fun should come along with it. Nothing is more fun for me than baseball practice everyday and writing countless number of articles to share.  Everyone has heard that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life and it has to be true.  However, as soon as the fun is lost, everything goes down with it.  Work becomes a chore and motivation is lost.  You start to “go through the motions.”  Maintaining that fun, love, and passion is crucial to a happy successful life.

8. Be a Leader, Follow the Leader

Showing the traits of leadership will help you rise in the eyes of others as well as the ranks of your job/task.  This certainly includes, but does not have to mean a vocal leader.  Actions speak louder than words.  Coaches will always notice heart, hustle, and attitude and they will eventually be rewarded.  Derek Jeter was one of the best “lead by example” types out there.  Not once did I ever see him not hustle and his heart was always undeniably in the game.

Another part of this lesson from Jeter, is to follow the leader.  This can be taken two ways. One way is to follow in the footsteps of a role model.  Another is, until you are at the very top, there is always someone above you to look up to.  It is always very important to respect a superior.  It will pay off in the end.

9. Think Before You Act

Every action has a consequence, good or bad.  Ask yourself, is this good for me?  Is this going to help me accomplish my goal in life?  If the answer is no, it’s probably something to avoid.  We must all control our impulses and focus on the bigger picture.

10. Life is a Daily Challenge

Every day we are met with challenges.  There will always be good and bad days.  Life is not easy, but we if we attack it with the right mindset and work ethic, we might just be up to the challenge.

 

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Header image from Jordan Derek Jeter tribute ad

A New Start for Bleacher Boy


-David Strobach-

If you are a frequent visitor to this site, you probably barely recognize it!  Over the past few months I have worked on recreating Bleacher Boy as well as securing my own official domain,   BleacherBoy.com!  You can also find my new fresh logo in the top left of this site too as I am now able to brand myself!  If you are a new viewer, WELCOME!

So let me reintroduce myself…

My name is David Strobach, the 16 year-old author/owner of this site. Baseball has been my passion since I could hold a bat.  I have been writing and maintaining “Bleacher Boy” since I was 12.  My goal is to write professionally one day, and hopefully be able to report on baseball. Over the past four years, Bleacher Boy has grown and is viewed in over 100 countries!  I have been a Top 100 MLBlog every year on MLB.com since 2013 and  have been featured on Fox News! To get a feel for this site, check out a few of my top posts.

Bleacher Boy is a platform for me to share my personal views and report on all things baseball related.  As a young teen, student athlete,  I bring a very unique perspective to the table.  I tend to focus my writing towards coaches and young athletes sharing my take on various aspects of the game that effect young athletes to professional players.  I often like to discuss the mental game for example.  It fascinates me how a game of failure can be used to mirror our life in so many ways.  Sabermetrics is also a passion of mine – don’t run in fear, I promise not to bore you with math – but I will share some interesting analysis of how numbers play a factor in the success and failure of a team or individual.

Thanks for helping me jump start Bleacher Boy as I begin an exciting new era! I hope you will continue to join me as I share my passion for the game and life.   As always, I welcome any comments and advice.

Looking forward to the future with you all!

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New Orleans Baby Cakes


-David Strobach-

*WARNING: Scary big babies below.  Viewers may experience nightmares*

The Miami Marlins Triple-A affiliate’s named has been changed from the Zephyrs to the Baby Cakes…Yes, that is correct.  Let’s take a look…

The nightmares…It’s like Mardigra Chuckie with a baseball bat and a crown.  I wouldn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night and see this big baby.  Maybe that’s how they are supposed to intimidate opposing teams?  I mean if I saw a team of big Chuckie babies, I am GONE.+

Aside from the fact that the  mascot is terrifyingly hideous,  I get it.  I do love how this name applies to the New Orleans area and their religious traditions.

So, if a player goes through the Marlin’s Minor League system, they    get promoted from a Jumbo Shrimp to a Baby Cake! #GOALS

What are your thoughts on this new logo?

Baseball – THE CASTRO CONNECTION


-David Strobach.-

There is no Hall of Fame where Castro is going……

Fidel Castro, the cruel and harsh Cuban dictator, may have had an opportunity that could have altered the path of Cuba, history and his own life.  Fidel Castro was a star pitcher at the University of Havana.  It was always rumored that Fidel tried out for either the Washington Senators or the New York Yankees.  So…what if?  What if he had made the team?

This is more than baseball…this is world history.

Castro, one of the most cruel dictators in the world; could things have gone differently?  He ranks among the inhumane ruthless dictators in history.  Let’s review:  Castro, a communist, lived in an obscenely luxurious palace, ruled with violent military force, while his own people would average an income of about 19 dollars a month.  Human rights were being stripped from the people including: freedom of choice, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.  Embargos left the people hungry and without employment. Whoever would oppose him was imprisoned, many “disappeared”, and thousands were forced to flee Cuba.  So many innocent lives and families were affected.  Sadly, numerous people were tortured and killed.

Think about this.  What would’ve have happened to Cuba if Fidel Castro made it to the “Bigs?”  Would so many lives still have been ruined? Would another ruthless dictator just have taken his place in history?  How would the Cuban missile crisis have turned out?  Would it ever have happened at all? Would Cuba be communist?  If not, would they have been our allies?  Could the Cold War have ended differently or at least the threats?  Could world history have been totally different?  What if headlines read, CASTRO THROWS NO HITTER! instead of CASTRO KILLS PROTESTERS????

Image result for fidel castro baseball

It’s amazing to think . . . what would have happened if he had only made the team and been part of something awesome, like BASEBALL !?!?!?

PERHAPS NOW, AFTER HIS PASSING, RELATIONS WITH CUBA WILL CHANGE……AND IN TURN, WE CAN ENJOY BASEBALL TOGETHER!

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Pic from: http://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/fidel-castro-and-baseball

 

 

Living Strong


-David Strobach-

In honor of the anniversary of my brother Zach kicking cancer’s butt, I wanted to post our story.

 

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I was sitting at the kitchen table one afternoon, in early October, 2005 drawing a picture.  My sister Delilah was at her friend’s house, my brother Zach went to a car show with friends, and my twin, Sophie, was home with me. The sun was shining, trying to add warmth to the crisp cool fall day.  And, there I sat, carefree, enjoying the pretty fall colors, drawing leaves with assorted crayons of red, yellow, and orange.  Then, my mother received a troubling phone call from one of Zach’s friends.  His friend, Nate, with a sickening worry in his voice told my mother that Zach was having intense pain in his groin and lower back.  He couldn’t even walk.  I saw my mom put down the phone, knowing something was wrong from the look on her face.  Even though I was only five years old, I could sense something wasn’t right.  That was when the darkness came.

As soon as Zach got home, my mother rushed outside.  I never actually saw Zach and that’s when I knew that it could be more serious.  She told me she had to take Zach to the hospital.  That’s when I flipped my picture over to draw something else.  I started to draw a picture for Zach of him in an ambulance.  I was hoping everything would be okay.

Looking back, I remember my mother telling me that she thought Zach may have just torn or popped something in his groin or lower back because he was a skater and may have fallen.  She thought some movement may have made it “out of whack.”  Zach had a slight pain for a little while before the car show day.  He even went to a chiropractor for some physical therapy.  This was a very reasonable and a logical thought.  She was very wrong and the darkness stayed.

Mom transported Zach from his friend’s car to our car and rushed him to the hospital.  There, they found a mass on one of Zach’s testicles.  My mom heard a vague comment about Lance Armstrong, but was confused. They wouldn’t tell her anything other than to come back the next morning to see a specialist.  They decided to do immediate surgery even without a biopsy.  A biopsy was too risky because there was a risk that trying to extract this suspicious mass would cause some cells to fall into the bloodstream.  If some cells fell into the bloodstream, it could spread throughout his body.

After surgery, the doctors reported to my parents that Zach had cancer for sure.  It was called testicular cancer.  They told her it was the most aggressive type of cancer cell.  The doctors did say that they believed that they extracted all of the cancer.  Zach was sent home and everything was thought to be okay.  They also found nothing in his blood cells to detect cancer.  They didn’t know Zach was “marker negative,” which means the cancer cells would not come up in blood tests.  My mother thought it was strange that he was just fine.  Maybe it was just the darkness, but she had a gut feeling that something was wrong.
Just to be sure, my mother wanted a second opinion.  She took Zach down to Rush hospital in Chicago.  The doctor they saw was a trained specialist in this field.  He worked under the doctor that treated the famous biker, Lance Armstrong, who also had testicular cancer.  After Zach was checked out, the doctors brought back terrible news.  The cancer had already spread to parts of his abdomen and lymph nodes. It would be awhile before the light and laughter would return to our home.

It’s so weird how life can literally change in an instant.  Before this, Zach was on top of the world.  He had just turned sixteen, had a girlfriend, got a driver’s license, and he got a sharp little sports car.   He had just started his junior year at Walden H.S.  Then it came all crashing down on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  The clouds and the darkness came in the form of cancer, an uninvited stranger in our home.  If left unchecked, the cancer would have progressed to the lungs and to the brain.  Zach again needed a very complicated and immediate surgery.  If my mother didn’t trust her gut and didn’t bring him in for a second opinion, the doctors said Zach would have died within six months to 2 years.

My mom and dad, understandably, had trouble dealing with the news.  They felt overwhelmed, depressed and shocked.  They couldn’t process and learn all the necessary information fast enough.  My sister, Delilah, was in fifth grade and adored Zach.  She was scared, but young enough to be a little clueless.  Sophie and I could sense something was wrong, but we were confused.  Cancer was like having an unwelcome stranger move in, where everyone is acting differently, and I tried to be on my best behavior. Sadness clouded our family.  We were scared that we didn’t know what was wrong.  There many hushed phone calls and sleepless nights for us all.  Zach was down mentally and physically, scared, exhausted, yet hopeful, and strong.  It was frustrating for him to have to rely on everyone else to do things for him.  Zach was used to being thought of as a good-looking guy and vanity wise, it began to hurt his ego.  He just wanted life to get back to normal.

In the surgery they removed all of the cancerous areas that were shown on the MRI’s.  Then, they ordered several treatments of chemotherapy to flush out all remaining cells.  He was out on a six month plan which was considered short, but still treacherous.  Chemotherapy is a variety of medicine that they put through an IV in your body to attack your cancer cells.  But in fact, it really is poison that kills the fastest growing cells in your body which include the lining of your mouth, your intestines, white blood cells, hair, nails, skin, and finally cancer cells.  So while you’re attacking cancer cells, you are attacking all of those other things.  A lot of people think chemotherapy is one thing, but each phase is different.  It’s specifically designed for each patient.  There is also some trial and error because too much can harm you and too little wouldn’t help at all.

Just when you think having cancer is bad enough, going through the chemotherapy results in devastating side effects.  When mom brought Zach to the chemotherapy section of the hospital she said it sucked the air out of her lungs and she couldn’t breathe.  Everyone around her looked like they were dying.  She realized Zach would look like this soon.  Zach lost his hair everywhere on his body.  He once said that you don’t realize how much you need you nose hair because when you bend over everything drains out. He laughed, a little bit of light broke through.  His hair follicles even hurt.  A vivid memory my mother still sadly tells me is when Zach was lying in the hospital bed and complained that his head hurt.  When he shifted, a huge chunk of his beautiful, black, thick hair was now part of the pillow and no longer a part of Zach.  It took my mother’s breath away and she was speechless as she started to tear up.  When Zach lost his hair I remember being terrified of him. Until then, the scars and gory stuff was buried beneath bandages and clothes.  Now, I could see the metamorphosis left behind by cancer.  Sunken, lifeless eyes and pale grey, hairless skin moved into my brother’s body. Zach was so weak, so sad that his little siblings, including myself, were scared of him.  He was frightened, not recognizing his own reflection in the mirror.

The darkness grew and black spots began to appear on his fingertips and toes.  It was the chemo burning his body from the inside out.  Also as a result of the chemo, Zach had painful ulcers in his mouth and intestines.  He experienced nausea and brain fog.  My mother tells me that one day Zach woke up screaming and peeing blood because of kidney stones caused by the chemotherapy.  To try to counteract some of the side effects they gave Zach steroids.  These at least provided some relief and gave Zach an appetite, but also resulted in a bloated look, further distorting his normal good looks. But Zach, my brother, my inspiration, was not going to be beat.

Glimmers of light started to appear and brighten our home and Zach’s spirits.  We were all going to battle to fight this!  Zach’s support from Walden was monumental.  Students and staff sent him well wishes and bought him a PSP video game to occupy his time at home. Many of his friends were always there for him.   At my grade school and church, St. Rita’s, we would pray for him every day.  We were fortunate to have many friends and family that helped make and deliver meals to our house.  The support and prayers from others helped us greatly as well. The doctors and nurses were amazing.  They all began to provide hope, and a light at the end of the tunnel that drove out the darkness.


About a year later, Zach was finally done with treatment.  It’s a bitter sweet, and somewhat fearful feeling that treatment is over.  It didn’t feel like an endgame, it felt like a waiting game to see if “it” comes back.   Zach wasn’t going to sit around and wait for anything, there was too much living to do. Zach went on to enjoy prom, graduate from high school and get a degree from Marquette University. He is happy, healthy, handsome again, and the bravest man I know.  And here I sit, nine years later, at the kitchen table, not drawing but typing. The sun is shining brightly, adding warmth to a glorious cool day.

“You beat cancer by HOW you live, WHY you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

-Stuart Scott

 

Bleacher Boy Logo Reveal


-David Strobach-

Today I have a big reveal for you all! I am totally psyched to share my new logos created especially for Bleacher Boy.  After some less than scientific surveys of fans, family, and friends, I am pleased to say we have 2 winners.  My primary logo, liked by serious baseball fans, and my personal favorite is…

Final logo

My secondary logo is a favorite of many of the ladies and vintage fans:

 

Logo 8

Look for the logos to identify Bleacher Boy as it grows to the next level.  Special thanks to my graphic designer, Andrea Stern, and to those who responded so enthusiastically!!!

Feedback is always welcome!

 

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