SEPARATING YOURSELF IN THE SUMMER
Today is August 4th. Here in Greenville, South Carolina, we are 110 games into our South Atlantic League season, still with 30 to go… plus hopefully another couple of weeks of playoff baseball after punching our post-season ticket by winning the first half division title back in June.
It’s been a very long, but very productive year so far, dating back to the start of spring training back in February as guys began to descend upon our complex in Fort Myers. We have pretty much been going just about every single day for the past six months with very little down time. If the season ended today, our staff and players would be incredibly proud for the vast development and on-field success that has taken place within our clubhouse.
But we’re not done yet.
This last month-plus of our season will tell us as much about what’s inside of our players as what the previous six months have shown us on their outside. At this point in the season, everyone is on the verge of exhaustion, myself included. We invested so much time and energy into our year that we can’t help but be drained both physically and mentally.
But it’s the beginning of August, not the middle of September. We still have a ways to go; we still have to keep moving forward.
When everyone in professional baseball has very little left in the tank at this point in the year, this final push of the minor league season will provide an opportunity for players to separate themselves from the pack and prove they may actually have what it takes to continue to climb the ladder on their journey to the big leagues. It’s not a matter of if the physical and mental grind of the professional baseball season will hit, but rather when. Every single player will encounter the feeling of being spent, having little oomph to perform at night, and even less to work in the heat of the day before the gates open. With some 40 games left, they can’t even see that light at the end of the season’s tunnel that will re-energize them in the final few weeks of the long year.
And that’s why the next few weeks will say so much.
A player who can dig deeper at a time when just about everyone else is ready to drop their shovels is a player that has a mental fortitude and inner drive to take full advantage of his opportunity to get better. Whether it be one of my players on the Greenville Drive out for early work at 2:00 in the afternoon, a high schooler running on and off the diamond with April energy here in August in East Cobb, or even a little leaguer who just doesn’t want to go home at the end of summer baseball camp, coaches, scouts, and recruiters alike all notice the players who show their love for the game and their desire to get better when the elements aren’t always perfect.