As the 2009 minor league season comes to a close, it is never a bad idea to evaluate where you are as a player and start to think about the adjustments you need to make for winter ball and ultimately, for the following year.
But first, a quick update on my condition. The past week has been filled with 7 a.m. wake up calls and lots of rehab at our spring training facility in Clearwater. I am currently swinging, running and throwing again and I get the opportunity to take live batting practice
in the next couple of days so needless to say I am excited about my progress. Whether or not I will play anymore this year remains to be seen, but I am scrambling to get healthy and have the ability to play if the organization feels it's appropriate.
Now, as for my 2009 season, I cannot help but feel like I have learned as much about the game and myself in the past six months as I probably had during any similar time period in my baseball career. I was thrust into so many new game
situations and different environments with a myriad of varying personalities, that I was forced to make several personal and professional adjustments. That is such an underrated part of what makes players who are successful have successful careers.
It is so hard to describe the mindset of a baseball player - especially a minor leaguer - because there really isn't a job like it. By that,
I mean there are a unique set of challenges that make the lifestyle rewarding and soul crushing all at the same time. First and foremost, it's a game that is centered around failure and the failure is centered on individuals.
Certainly amongst the major sports, but I would argue all other sports do not have the burden of having to find a way to deal with day in and day out failure. In baseball it's the biggest line item on the job description. Can he deal with personal and public failure everyday? In this game if you succeed 30 percent of the time you go to the Hall of Fame. Can any other sport boast about that type of percentage? Can Kobe Bryant shoot 30 percent from the field? Can Tiger
Woods make 30 percent of his putts? Can Tom Brady complete 30 percent of his passes? Can you imagine any of those scenarios? Any player who
plays this game has to accept that if he is great, he will fail 70 percent of the time!
Now that might be acceptable if you went three for every ten over the course of the season but that's not how the game works. You go through periods of extreme success and extreme failure
and it's crucial to be able to stay even keel in each instance. As you climb the ladder and the competition gets tougher, as players are weeded
out, you learn more about how to deal with failure.
For me, this year the veterans I have played with have provided unique perspectives and I have tried to hold onto their insight as I continue to try and learn from the experiences that bog you down.
As I read back through my thoughts, my thesis may have been too broad, so I'll expand on some of these thoughts as I go into the offseason and into winter ball, when questions are scarce
and topics elude me.
So right now, I'm going to answer the only question I got this week (see what happens when you stop playing for a week, you're forgotten and this is another great lesson on perspective, lol)
The question I got this week came from Mike Dugent and it had two parts;
First, He asked if the Phillies gave me the opportunity to be the fourth outfielder next season, would I prefer that over returning to Lehigh Valley and playing every day.
Simply stated Mike, you would be hard-pressed to find any professional player who wouldn't choose the Majors over the minors in any scenario.
Next, Can I play left field?
I play both left and right, yes. But I also can play short or anywhere else, if they asked me to play it in Citizens Bank Park.
Thank you for reading my thoughts.
Remember, if you have any thoughts or comments for Michael Taylor, he can be reached by e-mail at MTaylor@PhillyBaseballNews.com. And watch for Michael to answer your question in an upcoming blog entry.