You Can't Help But Root For this Guy

this is what it takes, folks

The difference between being committed and just being involved is like a bacon and eggs breakfast. The chicken was involved but the pig was committed.

Once you experience real commitment, you realize it’s something that can’t be faked. It’s either there or it’s not and it’s apparent to everyone. In my opinion, that’s how it works. Therefore, you can’t help but root for this guy.

Here’s a healthy dose of reality for anyone thingking of going this route:

The man, at this point, now has a firm grip on the business end of this industry - he’s DOA, it’s as simply as that.

However, at this point he contradicts himself - his training has failed him big time becasue there shoiuld have never been a second time, in addition claiming he has knowledge - not an once.

No - there is no story, that’s honesty. Yes - a dream. No - the big’s is not.

The exchange that I gave above is the stark reality of the Independent Professional Baseball Leagues - ALL OF THEM. The man’s situation is all too common and will have lasting impressions on his quality of life from here on out. A second time around with any kind of medical attention with this kind of scope and serious depth, tag’s 99% of any ball player as damaged goods. In the Independent Leagues, a man already has a long line to wait in trying to make it. An injury, any injury, just puts a man in a different line - like a collection of old trade ins on a car dealer’s back lot.

I sincerely feel for this young man, I really do.

The exchange that I just gave here, is given more times than you would believe, to men that really have no other skills in life.

So, if you have plans to go for this life as a professional - go in with both feet, stay healthy, and take care of number one - you. Forget everything and anyone who can’t help you make your mark. Develop your ability like a med student prepares to enter medical school. Understand the risks, the big risks, the time of your life that will rob you of your childhood, famiy, friends, any that doesn’t promote this profession. Even then, you could be posting an article on a web site, making comments like this man.

Coach B.

Coach B. has got the street cred to point these things out. Similar to a parent putting up signposts for their kids…“hey, I’ve been this way before, this is what you can expect…now chose which way you will go.”

Courage and commitment are characteristics of a man/woman not validations of their objective.

On July 3, almost 150 years ago about 12,500 courageous and committed men advanced across a mile of open fields exposing themselves to artillery and rifle fire so intense that fully 50% of them would become casualties. Their commander had prepared a plan. A full out frontal attack on the center of the enemy line, prefaced by an artillery bombardment of that line and supported by a cavalry distraction at the rear. The second in command disagreed with the decision to proceed with the charge after viewing the ineffectiveness of the artillery. This to no avail, and with a nod of the head, the charge was set in motion. Courage and commitment were never in doubt.

Of course, the famous charge was the disastrous attempt to break through the Union line at Gettysburg by the Confederate Army during the Civil War. It was a lofty goal. By all measures it was a goal very few men in history would ever dare to undertake. It was a costly goal.

Choices. We make them weighing out the cost vs. the reward. Each one to his own satisfaction. There are some things in this world I am driven to do even though the possible negative consequences seem all too certain.

Just prior to the ill fated charge described above, a commander pointed out the probable outcome of it:

A man faced with these decisions is an unenviable man. Therefore, I root for him even after he falls.

Dino, everytime I read or hear about Picket’s charge or similar events, I remember an experience I had that I put to paper - big mistake on my part. Lost a stripe and then some. Any who, here it is:

With his pose against the morning rise,
straight and tall did not disguise,
any fear or thoughts of plight,
of that morning’s business, that morning’s fight.
Three clicks out, we could hear them stir,
as they gathered themselves, unaware where we were.
As I glanced at their numbers, the ordnance they had,
this was going to be messy, for they were dug in bad.
Auto’s and pikes and barbed wire galore,
like they just got back to the devil’s own store.
As I slunk back into my hole that I dug,
and griped my carbine and gave it hug.
I thought of this ground we took just last week,
this same piece of mud, of that day that was bleak.
How many we lost, of guys that I knew,
some friends I made in boot came, and some that were just new.
One troop got a Dear John, before that ordeal,
it made him careless, not caring,
where life had no appeal.
As I raised up my canteen, touched my lips, to quench all my thirst,
I looked at my platoon leader, and without any hesitation I said,

Great post Coach B and Dino thanks for the history lesson, had no idea about that.

In your opinion, at what point in one’s pitching career does this type of committment become necessary. Is it HS, College, or younger?

Lanky, you have a PM

Turn 22, your question is worth a posting all by itself.

How does one take a PROFESSIONAL pitching career to task. What goes into the planning, time tables, discipline, and so forth.

I’ll cover this at some length, from my observations as a coach who has witnessed a wide spectrum of prospects who have traveled up to and through an Independent League. That League and teams that I was with are now the way of the do-do, bankrupt. But nevertheless , my observations hold water in any league - Independents or Affiliates.

Coach B.

Thanks coach, I’ll look forward to your posting

Coach B -

It’s sad that you recommend against people “going down this route,” referring to my recovery. You clearly don’t grasp that I have nothing to lose. Creatures with nothing to lose are capable of special things.

My route is rehabbing because, well, why not?

My route is experimenting on myself to see what could possibly happen, to find new methods to develop more velocity, because, well, why not?

I have a thriving business, with plenty of skills where I’ll be successful should I fail. I’m not trying because I need to.

And, though there’s clearly a long line in the minor leagues, I bet I can get a chance sitting in the Upper-90s. What if I threw 99mph? That’d give me a shot, I guarantee it. There’s not enough guys who are capable of that in any MLB organization. But, I could sit at 96 and still get shunned because of my injury history. I’m not stupid. Regardless, I can shoot for the stars, again, because I have nothing to lose.

But, regardless of whether I reach that height, and regardless of whether that earns me a shot or not…

…I’m going to try anyway.

Because my life has been defined, made rich and made enjoyable on rising to challenges. Win or lose, realistic or not, I’m going to try. Because here’s the point: is it truly impossible for a guy at age 27 with two elbow surgeries to make it to the Majors? Truly 100% impossible? No. Someone could see enough in me, as it only takes one scout. And even if the chances I fail are 99.999% I want to try to be the one in a million. If one in a million could do it, I’m the guy with the resolution and resources to be that one.

You’re the guy who tells guys like me that we can’t. I need guys like you to push me, so I have someone to rebut with my success. If no one tries, no one will.

And lastly, it’s downright ignorant to claim that my training failed me. Not all injuries are preventable; a man in the baseball world has to understand that. My training made me; my body failed me. Look at Mark Prior - fabled work ethic but couldn’t stay healthy. David Wells drank and played with a beer belly - and pitched for a decade. Clearly there’s more at play than just training.

To anyone out there who has a dream - go for it. People have slipped through smaller cracks…you could be the one.

And Ben - I appreciate your faith in me, but leave me off here next time. I don’t have enough energy through all this to write these stupid comebacks. I just don’t want any youngsters to be turned off from improbable dreams.

What’s sad, is sitting down and giving a man like yourself a ticket home, to the nearest relative, or watching him check out with no were else to go.
You’re 27, still young engough to build a life- baseball isn’t it.

I’ve sat with more people like yourself than I care to remember. Your gutsy guys who have a lot going for you. Your drive and desires say a lot about you - inside, what makes you tick.

I’m a messenger in your eyes that’s getting slamed for reading you a message you know, yesterday, you got but refuse to open. Don’t punish yourself. This busness has no feelings, it has no humanity, it has nothing but hollow space that’ll use you big time.

Go home, or where good people live. Talk to them and help you find a good life that won’t demand your quality of life, your health and your very soul.

And your right about men like me - we’re the worst possible crap on the planet. We will tell you that you can’t do this and you can’t do that. Why? Because we’re not about to risk our own necks working with damaged goods - nothing personal, strictly business.

Son, I’ve worked with guys like you most of my professional life. I honestly want you to suceed, be happy and enjoy making a living. I’m also a realist who knows when to walk you to the gate, shake your hand and wish you well - while walking to another gate and shaking the hand of your replacement. It’s that simple. It’s business.

Don’t go this route. You’ll be lied to, used to push some other guy to do better, and left to fend for yourself. Even worse, given the go ahead just to fill a spot right now, hurt yourself beyond repair, suffer agony for the rest of your life and worse. I’ve witnessed good men find comfort in the bottle and other worthless ventures to compensate. No saying you will, but think it over.

Think of it this way - you have a son who is in your shoes right now. Would want to see him go through this?

Regardless, I honestly wish you the very best in your career choices. Please don’t take my advice here as crude or not carig. I’m not built that way - been there, done that.

Coach Baker


Anyone who chases a professional baseball career at 27 years old is a damn fool.

I’m betting Dan knows this and couldn’t care less :wink:

Go get 'em, Dan. Let me know if you want to exchange ideas on post-rehab throwing.

Love the idea of “why not.”. Who cares if you make it, it’s more important what you learn and able to share with others.

I know its a longshot, but what if this kid from my home town said the same thing?

Dan, I don’t think anyone had expectations of you answering the post Ben made…I think everyone here respects a person who goes for it…let the chips fall old boy…enjoy the run.
Conversely, it isn’t a stupid thing John did there…quite the opposite…we are talking about a man who has dedicated his life to the art and helping where he can, I myself appreciate his honesty, I have a son, 5 years younger than you with the same dream. His boss also is in pretty much the same spot…only he is 30 with 2 kids and a wife…he’s made it to the triple A level in the Jays org and is facing the reality of age and the difficulties associated with getting past his former spot…made doubly hard because he is a varsity HC and teacher now also…so he sees prospects and is “in the scouting process”. My boy was scouted by Brent Strom (Cards) and also the Rockies…he’s trying to get past some very extensive shoulder/arm work and get past “well-meaning” family who don’t understand why he won’t just “get a job and get past it”…Coach B gave him/me the same info…will it stop my son??? Heck no…he’s a driven soul just as you are…but he at least has no false impression…he knows at that level…he’s meat…thats all…if he is going to make it…his skin needs to be thick…
I’m sorry you thought you had to respond to him the way you did…you are quite right…no time to listen nor argue with anyone…we look for inspiration around these here digs…your story IS inspiring…my hopes are that you get where you want…I know Coach believes the same way.
Please do keep participating here, you have valuable experience and expertise.

What irked me enough to force my response was the little insults he hid among his “well-meaning” message. He stated my training failed me, and that I have “not an ounce” of knowledge. This, from a man who doesn’t know me, doesn’t know how many kids I’ve helped, and how I earned my three professional seasons, working endlessly, just as Ben is, to transform
From a 78-81 pitcher as an 18 year old to a 92-94 guy this season. My body failed. So be it. I don’t take cheap shots at strangers. He doesn’t know me.

He is also forecasting that I’ll be riddled with excruciating pain and resentment as a 40-year old, with fractures and severe arthritis in my arm. It’s funny how the Reds’
Medical director doesn’t share this opinion. It was a very bizarre PM I received from “Coach.” I’m not sure if he would be claiming I’d have such future pain if I was 22 and in AA ball. I have a great pain tolerance, anyway.

thanks for coming back on…

I’d like to know what you think his motivation was for posting…really.
The reason I ask is that we know this man ;

I invite you to pull and read his postings…he’s not some bs dude who comes on an internet forum for his ego…he is someone who is reporting what he’s learned from his lifes work…do you think he’s less disgusted by these folks he’s telling you about? He has taken a paycheck from them for likely longer…no not likely…he’s been taking a paycheck from those same folks since before you were born…It’s a devils dance he plays…he has to look guys with life and hope in their eyes and smash it like it doesn’t matter…I want to tell you with all the honesty my writing can possibly muster…this man cares…about you…about all those guys…he knows that IF you have IT…that modicum of desire that it takes to overcome this unreal challenge…nothing he says matters a twit…not a friggen iota…you’ll overcome and be there…but if he can save one look…one conversation that breaks a heart like you’ve never been crushed…how the hell can you blame him?

JD, I respect your attempt at diplomacy, but ultimately I’m not interested in delving into the work of a man who criticized me before delving into mine.

I realize 95% of what he said was true. But, like I said, he added criticism of me - he implied that I caused my first surgery to fail, that my training failed me, and that I have no knowledge whatsoever; that’s where it became an attack rather than advice.

If he doesn’t think I have knowledge, fine - he can have that opinion, to which I disagree. If he had a conversation with me, or done any research about what I’ve been doing for the past 4 years since my first TJ, he wouldn’t criticize and wouldn’t dare look in my eyes and tell me that my work ethic/training is the reason I’m again on the operating table.

Rather, my training the only reason I’ve been able to play long enough to have a second TJ - if I didn’t train the way I have, I wouldn’t have been playing pro ball. I’m thankful to have been able to put myself in the position to be injured a second time, as backward as that sounds. If I was sitting in a cubicle, I wouldn’t have torn my UCL again.

Maybe 10,000 players have had one TJ (purely a guess). Maybe 100 have had two? He’s implying that my work ethic is in the bottom 1% of ballplayers. I disagree. If he wants to posit that, he should at least be informed about what I’ve done. H

I stay off forums for two reasons:

  1. I’m busy. It doesn’t rank high on my list of things to do in my very limited free time. That’s just my personal valuation of it.
  2. People are emboldened behind a computer, and are more likely to attack, when a diplomatic conversation could first be had. And, when in an internet argument, we revert back to reason #1 - I don’t want to spend my free time engrossed in defending things that I find success with in my real life.

I’m glad there are people who take time out to help others on forums like this. I’m just not in a position to be one of them. I also don’t seem to have positive experiences.

Dan B , I owe you a big apology.


You’re right. I don’t know you personally. I should have never offered advice that was taken as judgmental, nor insulting. After all, you know you better than anyone. You know how far is how far. You’ve played pro ball all those years, treated right, trained right, looked after by doctors and trainers, pitching coaches that tended to your repeated appearances, been at the attention of rehab specialist, paid good money indicative of your professional ability, savvy to the business end of things, a supporting family.

And you have crossed bigger bridges before, I assume, and came out swinging regardless of how many times others said you couldn’t. At 27 years of age, a wealth of time in grade and accomplishments are on your side.

And my PM to you was wrong. There is no evidence what’s so ever that you’re only thinking of yourself, not those around you. There is no evidence that you are a candidate for creeping arthritis, calcium deposits or bone fractures at the elbow, medications that literally rule your existence, and a life of constant pain and second guessing every reach of the arm. I can see no real reason to even assume, in your case.

I was totally out of bounds to be so opinionated.

There is no sarcasm or belligerency here. You will go on to make your best effort to succeed on the field.

Coach B.