Baseball a game of failure

Take Note Sports World, The MLB Got It Right With Domestic Violence


-David Strobach-

Commissioner Rob Manfred made his first domestic violence stance since the new policy was implemented in August.  Closer, Aroldis Chapman, of the New York Yankees was punished and accepted a 30 game unpaid (will lose $2 million) suspension starting Opening Day for his abusive actions back in October, 2015.  Chapman allegedly pushed and choked his girlfriend and fired gun shots into the wall of his garage.  No charges were filed, but that didn’t stop the MLB from stepping in swiftly to lay down the law and send a powerful message to the MLB.  Manfred’s statement below:

Manfred did a good job conducting an investigation and acting quickly, within four  months, to discipline Chapman.  Aroldis denies he harmed his girlfriend, but in his statement he said he acted inappropriately:

“Today, I accepted a 30 game suspension from Major League Baseball resulting from my actions on October 30, 2015. I want to be clear, I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening. However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to certain actions, and for that I am sorry. The decision to accept a suspension, as opposed to appealing one, was made after careful consideration. I made this decision in an effort to minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause the Yankees, my new teammates and most importantly, my family. I have learned from this matter, and I look forward to being part of the Yankees’ quest for a 28th World Series title. Out of respect for my teammates and my family, I will have no further comment.”

 

The MLB, MLPA, and Rob Manfred have my approval and respect for their handling of this domestic violence issue.  They created a new policy, stuck with it strongly, and sent a message to the league.  There will be no appeal, which is thankfully avoiding more conflict with the commissioner and arbitration.  If Chapman would have lost the appeal, he could have ended up having more games added to his suspension.  30 games is a good time length because if the suspension lasted 45 games or any longer, it would have prevented Aroldis Chapman from becoming a free agent due to service time.  Hopefully,  Aroldis will use this time to reflect on his actions and perhaps receive some counseling.   The message that domestic violence will not be tolerated in professional baseball by any means was well sent.  The whole situation was not a “circus” and it was handled professionally, unlike similar issues in the NFL.  Other sports take note, the MLB got it right with its domestic violence stance.  Let’s hope this step in the right direction continues across all sports.

Stay tuned for possible decisions on Jose Reyes and Yasiel Puig in the near future.

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Baseball Mirrors Life


-David Strobach-

There is no sport that truly shows all aspects of life like the game of baseball.

Baseball is one of the only sports without a clock, but always has an end.  There’s no telling how far the end could possibly be for a baseball game.  This can also be said about life.  We know we are living, but never truly know when the game of life will come to a close.  Throughout the game of baseball, you may miss that fastball down the middle,  your golden chance at success.    In life, there are times you may have a great opportunity, but miss it.  “Strike 3,” calls the umpire as you have your walk of shame back to the dugout after failing.  You may sometimes have that bad day in life, but don’t worry, there is always another at-bat, there’s always another day.  In life and baseball, it’s important to embrace our mistakes and failures, learn from them to make us all better for that next opportunity, that next at-bat. Go up to the plate after being 0-3 and take advantage of your next at bat, make contact or better yet, smack a home run. Don’t go down just “looking.” Flunk that test or bomb that job interview?  There will be another. Go prepare, practice, and kill it when the next opportunity presents itself.  Be proactive and don’t go down looking–with opportunities passing you by. Create an opportunity on the baseball field and in your life. You never know when the time will come, but always be ready.   After all, baseball is a game of failure….and so is life with many unpredictable variables—But that’s what makes it exciting!  Life and baseball can be disappointing and hard at times. So, take responsibility and action through practice, pushing yourself and trying new things.  Play every game and live every day to the fullest because you never know when the last game or day of your life will come.

In baseball, a sacrifice bunt or sac fly can be difference makers in a game.  In life, let’s say you have that big test Monday, but want to go to the football game on Friday.  Maybe money will be tight for you and have to chose whether you spend money on those new shoes or save it for your family’s well-being.  There’s always decisions to made about when and how to sacrifice something, in both life and baseball.  You could look like a big shot with those Jordan’s and look like the hero hitting that game winning three run homer.  Saving that money you spent on those J’s may help your family out a little bit, but you feel no pleasure or status since you don’t have those shoes.  Laying down that sac bunt helps the team win games and you may not get any notice or love for it.  You sacrificed a chance and your personal stats to look the hero for the sake of the team. Sacrificed those  J’s that you think would get all the ladies in order to help  your family.  Sacrifices may not be easy, but in the end it’s what will make all the difference allowing many to benefit.

A popular saying is that it takes a village to raise a child.  Well, it takes a team to win a championship.  In baseball and life you can never be successful on your own without anyone helping.  A strong supporting cast is always needed. So when things are going badly, reach out to your teammates, family and friends.

In life, you can never have full control of what’s going on.  There are always roadblocks.  When you go up to bat, you have to go with what pitches are thrown and make the most of it.  In life, you have deal with the cards you’re dealt and make the most of it as well.  Life and baseball can be incredibly frustrating.  Sometimes you can do everything right in both and STILL fail.  Sometimes things look like they’re going well for both, but change drastically in a matter of moments.  From hitting a line drive straight to the CF, missing a home run by inches, having your bat break, or getting a bad call – baseball is unfair.  In life, you may be doing great at your job and still get laid off.  Everything in your family could be going well, and suddenly tragedy hits.  It’s not fair.  It’s how you deal with adversity that makes you who you are and how you will eventually succeed.  So, get up to the plate, take action, and make something happen.

 

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Bleacher Boy’s Best Writings


-David Strobach-
I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas! This year has by far been Bleacher Boy’s best year! Thanks to my growing and loyal audience,  I have shattered every personal statistical record.  I was even recently ranked a #2 MLBlog  as well!  My biggest accomplishments were being featured on Fox News and getting a children’s book ready so that I can proceed with publishing it!  In honor of the New Year and my 200th post, I’d like to share my best writings of the past and hope that the future is bright for all of us!  I’d also like to give a huge THANK YOU to my family, all of my viewers making up Bleacher Boy Nation, and those that have helped mentor me –  none of this would be possible without you all.  I am grateful and blessed to be able to share my baseball thoughts with all of you.  Have a JOYFUL, HEALTHY and PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!!! Spring training is right around the corner…….

The 3 Winning Principles


-David Strobach-

“Show class, have pride, and display character.  If you do, winning takes care of itself.”

-Paul Bryant

Above is a fantastic quote that applies to not only sports, but life in general.  Class, Pride, and Character are more important than any athletic talent in the world.

Something that I always preach is to exemplify class and good character.  Some might say I’m the “Preacher Boy” as well as the Bleacher Boy! 😉  Always respect the umpires and coaches no matter what.  An ump may call a strike that skips to home and a ball that was surely down the pipe.  That skipping strike was called a strike, so the umpire is correct, not the batter barking back.  If there is a problem, it’s the coaches job to deal with it.  Take that called strike back to the dugout with a head held high, respecting the call.  Let’s face it, we all get mad at awful calls, but the call is the call, and that margin of error is part of the game.  Go back next time and succeed! When errors or strikeouts occur, never slam any equipment or throw a temper tantrum – trust me, you look like an idiot. These mistakes happen to the best of us…even Mike Trout!  Stay up, keep a positive attitude, after all, baseball is a game of failure. If other players are melting down, support them, don’t push them down.  If someone is getting crap from his own teammates about a mistake he already feels bad for, how is he supposed to recover for the next one?  Not all players agree with the decisions of the coach either –  which is fine, but never talk back or bad mouth your coach or the opposing team’s coach.  It is completely reasonable to voice an honest concern or question about the team in the appropriate place and time with respect – but NEVER during the game.  If your team is getting pounded, don’t take the frustration out on your opponents in any way, other than winning.  Yes, they may be crazy waving cowbells and blowing fog horns after everything (trust me I’ve been through this), but if someone barks at that team, it makes them no better. Don’t give away the game by showing the other team that they have gotten in your head.  Also, please DON’T be that cowbell team!  Have pride in success, but don’t shove it down their throats. Like the great Vince Lombardi once said, “Act like you’ve been there before.”

If these three qualities are shown, respect will be earned.  Abiding by these three principles will allow winning to take care of itself.

Always remember, when you are playing you are not only representing yourself and your team or school, but also your family and what they stand for. 

Good Parents Make All The Difference


-David S.-

Recently I wrote a post about how good coaches make all difference for young ballplayers.  Now, the other side is  how parents make all the difference for their kid.  This can apply to all sports, not just baseball.

A huge issue I see with youth baseball are the parents that ruin the game for their kid.  Mike Matheny,  former MLB player and now Manager of the Cardinals, talks about how parents should be a silent, constant source of support for their children. (The Matheny Manifesto.)  I agree with this statement and have been very fortunate that my parents are like this for the most part.  I have seen so many parents ring their kid’s neck if they make a mistake, error, or poor at bat, causing them to literally cry.  I have seen parents leave the field in disgust if their precious player gets benched for any reason. I have seen decent players doing well and enjoying the game until their father arrives and stands behind the plate to “help” them — and then the meltdown begins. I have even seen parents punishing a kid when they didn’t do well as well as bribing them to do better.  I have felt sorry for certain players that have to ride home with angry parents. When a kid literally fears his parent during each moment of the game, why bother playing if it’s this stressful?  Baseball is supposed to be fun! Mike Matheny also tells parents in his book not to even say things like, “You got this. Get a hit here bud!”  This only will add stress for a kid as well.  It is fine for parents to coach their kids in their free time, but don’t over analyze it  to a point where your kid gets frustrated and doesn’t enjoy playing with you.  Your kids are NOT in training, they ARE in their childhood.  Some of my best memories are going to the park and hitting balls with my Dad and watching my mom who is an ace at shagging balls in the field.  My dad will say something when he sees something wrong, but not constantly correcting everything wrong. Statistically, your child’s baseball career will end in high school, if not sooner.  So, parents cheer for your kids when they do well, but please let them just play their game and don’t live your dream through them! This is not about you……

Let the coaches coach.  We all know that helicopter parent that always talks to coach about EVERYTHING.  The parent may be questioning decisions the coach made, complaining about playing time, position, and spot in the batting order. Doing this in front of the players undermines the coaches authority.  Coaches and kids hate these types of parents. I have noticed that these types of parents tend to have either the cocky jerky kid, or the super shy self conscious kid.  The cocky one thinks he is above all players and is often uncoachable, and the shy kid will cower with embarrassment,  feeling uncomfortable with his parent constantly offering their two cents.  If you need to speak to the coach, do it privately, not right after a heated game.

Parents, I know most of you mean well and have the best intentions. But the “wrong” type of “helping” will often have the opposite of your desired outcome. Instead of helping, you are often planting seeds of doubt. Your coaches can correct their swing and their throw, but may never be able to remove their doubts. As parents, you can contribute to your player’s mental framework by offering a positive atmosphere to support their passion for the game.  Make happy memories……..

Thoughts? Comment below or……

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The 3 P’s of Baseball: Patience, Persistence, and Paying Your Dues


-David S.-

This spring I was busy everyday with a brand new experience, division 1 high school baseball. In all my years playing baseball,  I would start at third base, bat somewhere in the middle of the lineup, and play the whole game.  High School baseball, however, would be something totally new and foreign to me.  After breaking my back last year, my initial goal was to make the team where many guys end up being cut. Mission accomplished – but it was bittersweet. Seeing 19 freshman and sophomores on the roster,  I knew instantly that playing time would be rough. I had two complete “studs” blocking me at my two positions, first and third.  They were older, stronger and simply better and deserved to be played ahead of me.  I recognized this and asked coach if I could move to the outfield, but he wanted to keep me where I was to develop me for next year.  As it turned out, I would not start this year and barely saw any playing time.  I learned how frustrating baseball can be when you are blocked by someone ahead of you.  Most importantly, I learned how to work through it with patience, persistence and paying my dues.

Patience/Paying Your Dues

Patience is vital to a ballplayer to stop frustration from creeping into your head if you are not seeing playing time. An opportunity has to come eventually for you to show what your worth.  No one wants to sit the bench, but you can’t sit and pout about it, and for God’s sake don’t have your mom complain to the coach.  You must simply understand that the person that is playing instead of you is better and it is not personal. You just have to accept it and pay your dues.  This is just another part of mentally handling the game in a way I have not experienced before.  Be patient and the time will come for you to prove yourself.  It may not be next game or the game after that.  It could very well be next year when your shot comes.  I know mine is next year because my coach came and shook my hand at the end of the season and said, “Next year will be your year Dave.”  While you are paying your dues on the bench take time to observe and learn more about the game.  Don’t sit and watch the game aimlessly. Analyze counts to predict the next pitch, understand the situation going on in the field and the possible outcomes so when you do get in a game you’ll know what to do.  Patience will pay off if you stay persistent.

Persistence

Once I realized that I wouldn’t be starting, I knew I would have to work extra hard.  This means, you go to practice every single day after school and bust your tail.  By practicing everyday, I have noticed that I have improved more this year than ever before without playing much.  In high school, I have noticed coaches value hustle and heart over anything else.  Show your coach how much you love the game by giving it your all. Get there early! Stay late! And work your hardest even when the coach isn’t looking.  Always sprint to anywhere you are going on the field.  Believe me, your coach will start to notice you more if you persistently hustle and work hard.  I could tell my coach saw hustle and heart in me because he took me off to the side multiple times to tell me that I was doing everything right and that he couldn’t get me in because of the stud in front of me who will be on Varsity next year.  You can be persistent in the off season by practicing and getting stronger.  In addition to playing ball all summer, I signed up to go to a weight lifting and conditioning camp  every day this summer to become stronger and be in the best shape I can possibly be in by next year.  There is no way I want to be beat out.  You need to work harder than your competiton.  I hope this time next year I am talking about how I won the starting job, hit dingers, and had a great season.  I would then credit my patience, persistence and smile, knowing that I paid my dues.

 

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Are You Coachable?


-David S.-

 
"Be humble enough to be coachable. But be confident enough to dominate your position."

“Be humble enough to be coachable, But be confident enough to dominate your position.”

Above is a philosophy that I strive to apply to myself and challenge others to be open to this concept.  “Be humble enough to be coachable,” means that you are not perfect.  You need to accept your flaws.  Once you understand that you aren’t perfect, you can be open to constructive criticism.  First, you must throw your ego out the door!  Next, let someone help and improve your game.  I don’t care who you are, this applies to players from little league to the pros. Coaches will be able to actually coach you and help you, and ultimately your team.  It will not only help you improve your game, but demonstrates character to your coaches and others.  We all know “that one kid/player!”  Before a practice even starts, you can often tell who the difficult diva, uncoachable kids are, especially when the coach is talking.  They aren’t making eye contact. Usually they roll their eyes, and make some wise crack comment, thinking that none of this coaching/guidance applies to them, because they are so awesome. They drag their feet if they don’t get to play “their” position . They usually never stick around to help clean up after practice and scream “unfair” when not selected for an All Star team – because after all, they are so awesome….. Well this behavior shows lack of good character.  When a coach coaches you, you have to understand that it is not an insult to you personally, as so many take it.  No matter how good you are, there is always some way to improve, whether its your swing, your fielding, your speed, or your IQ – there’s always room for improvement.   I have seen time and time again  teammates of mine with a boatload of natural talent, but they aren’t coachable.  The natural gift  is there, but they will never reach their potential.  They seem to peak by high school and then when they enter a “big pond” of competition, they become a “small fish” and don’t excel. Being coachable takes practice, start early and show your coach respect for their help and knowledge.   If you are not the most talented one on the team, but have good character, practice hard, and listen to coaching, it will show.  Coaches will view you more positively and take you more seriously than the “stud” with poor character.  So check your ego at the door, let your coach help you, and be a good team mate.

“But be confident enough to dominate your position.”  Once you are out in the field, have confidence in your abilities.  It means to be able to tell yourself, “I can and will do this!”  It’s the time when you need to put faith in your training and skills without thinking you are above others.  If you are not confident at your position, it shows, and success may elude you.  Baseball is a mental game.  Being confident, not cocky, can give you a little edge over the competition.  When you think that you are better then everyone and then that error is made, mentally, you come crashing down since you think you are so great and are not supposed to make mistakes.  Or….you blame others.   Coaches and scouts are very aware of, and appreciate the player that recovers after an error rather than crumbles.  That player is humble, confident, and makes corrections.  As I wrote in a previous article, baseball is a game of failure and the mental side is crucial, it applies here as well.  Click HERE to read that article.  Once you believe, you will achieve…Do I get points for that corny cliché? It truly applies.

Remember, lose the ego to have others help you improve, but have confidence in yourself when the opportunities on the field come!

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Best of Bleacher Boy


-David S.-

This is my 150th post on Bleacher Boy!  To celebrate this little milestone, I would like to share some of my favorite posts that I have written.  I haven’t posted for the last few weeks since I’ve been up north fishing and vacationing “unplugged.”

Bleacher Boy Top 10

 

10. Moneyball and My Twin Sister Sophie

In this article I explain the  importance of just getting on base by any means.  My twin sister Sophie is involved because of how she helped my team win.

 

9. Aggressive Hitters Vs. Patient Hitters

Part 1

Part 2

In this two part article I break down these type of hitters and their ups and downs.

 

8. Buying a Jersey…A Kiss of Death

The title explains it all, I don’t think I can ever buy another jersey.

Wait…it struck again!!!

 

7. What Am I Waiting For?

This one got reblogged on MLBlogs Central.  MLBlogs Central asked people to write an article like this and they picked mine to reblog!

 

6. Bleacher Boy Radio Guest – on the Rec Room Show!!

Listen to the recording of my first  interview on the radio show, Rec Room Show!!!! I recommend starting 14 minutes into the show.

 

5. MLB PED PUNISHMENT POLICY…MY TAKE

If  I were commissioner, I would implement this performance enhancing drug policy.

 

4.  Steroids Shrink What!?!?!?!?

This is my personal research paper outlining what steroids  do to you psychologically and physically.  Very disturbing results from my research.

 

3. Warning: Graphic Pictures of Why My Grandpa Says I Should Stick to Sudoku

Mr. Injury Prone here!  Want to see a horrific eye injury!?!?

 

2.  Baseball, a Game of Failure

You don’t beat baseball, baseball beats you.   This explains how truly difficult baseball is, and how to “get a grip”  when playing the game.  Mental toughness is everything!  Like Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.”

 

1. No Home Run is Greater Than His Sacrifice!

My favorite article!  It shows how God is involved with my life. I am blessed to be able to play ball and share my passion!  Credo – God, Family, Baseball!!!!!

 

Baseball, a Game of Failure


-David S.-

Baseball = Failure

As I look forward to Brewers Opening Day 2014 and my own upcoming baseball season, I am reminded that baseball is a huge game of failure.  Great hitters hit a .300 average.  Look at it this way, it means you FAIL 70% of the time.  That’s a huge percentage.  You are guaranteed to fail.  If while at bat, you advance a runner and he gets into scoring position, but you get out, do you fail?  Absolutely not.  Your batting average will be lower, which may look bad on the surface.  However, you are part of a team whose goal is to score runs.  Let’s say the winning run is on third and you crush the ball to the outfield and the fielder makes an amazing play.   You don’t fail because your goal is to hit the ball solidly and you succeeded.  You tip your cap to the defender and try again.  This unfortunately is a scenario that’s happened to me many times.  Another scenario would be if there is a full count and bases are loaded in the last inning.  You strike out.  Yes, this is failing, but it’s part of the game.  It happens to everyone.   No matter how hard you try, the game of baseball will always win.  So you will always face adversity, but it is how you respond to it that makes the difference between good players and great ball players!

Negative Thinking = Contagion

On my traveling baseball team, many of the kids get very upset after committing an error or not batting well.  ( Parents, it doesn’t help if you’re screaming or putting pressure on your kid.)  If this ever happens to me, I just try my best to be positive and to keep my head up as well as encourage teammates.  Otherwise, this can cause you to play horribly because you are not in a good mental mood.  If one person starts having a bad attitude, it spreads like a disease.  Everyone starts getting upset and frustrated and the team starts to fade. The other team smells this frustration and  takes advantage of it and then uses it against you.  They will crush you to pieces.  I’ve seen this happen to my team numerous times.  Kids crying, helmets thrown, missed grounders, bad throws -it’s ugly.  I’ve heard that scouts hope to see errors when looking at players.  They want to see how a player handles mistakes mentally and how/if they can recover.  My advice:  Let it go!  Don’t  mix offense and defense.  Leave the error on the field.  Leave the strikeout in the batter’s box.   Each player needs to find what works for them – so learn to forgive yourself and move forward!!!  And “PLAY BALL!!”

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