Baseball season has come to a close for the Cobras of the Midwest Suburban Baseball League. It was a tough year for the team as we struggled to get enough guys to show up to every game and struggled with pitching on double headers. We also made a lot of fielding mistakes. Personally, I finished with the best offensive stats of my amateur baseball career, at 29 years of age. I batted .372 (AVG) with a .557 on base percentage (OBP). I was tied for 5th in the league in walks (BB), with 16. And, just barely missed the top 10 in OBP.
I feel pretty good about the season. I had a pretty decent slump in the beginning of the season, where I was batting .154 at one point. I brought the average up slowly, as I kept going to the batting cage and gaining confidence as a hitter. I got doubles from both sides of the plate, which I’ve never done before in a season. My strikeouts were also down compared to last year. And, I made the single greatest diving catch of my entire life. I joked that I should retire after that game.
Baseball is a sport that will challenge your confidence as a man and bring up every insecurity you have ever had. When you’re hitting like crap, it can really dig at you like a scarab under your skin. It can invade your dreams and mess with your sleep. Anyone going through a tough time at the plate may have seriously negative thoughts creep into their head. You may think, “I fucking suck!” Or, “I should just stop playing this game.”
You can’t stop! You have to believe in yourself. You have to trust in your abilities. You have to put aside your insecurities and focus. You have to drown everything else out.
Anxiety is a total killer at the plate. You have to stop thinking as much as humanly possible. You can’t be thinking about how weak or tired you’re feeling. You can’t be worried about what pitch the pitcher is going to throw or how fast he throws. You need to be prepared and focused. You need to breathe and bring down your heart rate. Be in flow with the pitch and be one with the bat.
Granted, you are still going to fail most of the time. Batting .372 means that if I had 1,000 at bats, I would fail 628 times. It’s impossible to get a hit every time you go up there. That’s what’s nice about getting a walk. With patience, I was able to earn 16 walks and was hit by 2 pitches (one on the butt cheek). Overall, I was a pretty tough out for a pitcher. I got in a lot of full counts, and battled back from early strikes. Walking a batter is one of the more demoralizing things that can happen to a pitcher.
My game is scrappy. I’ve never hit a home run and may never hit a home run. But, I get on base a lot and piss off pitchers. If I can frustrate a pitcher psychologically, he may make a mistake and allow our team to score runs.
I love this game and can’t wait for next season. I feel like I’m in my prime, despite being a little slower than I used to be. I’m not good enough to go pro, but that ain’t stopping me from playing!
Follow your dreams and your passions, even if you’re not the best. I’m definitely not the best. I’m not even in the most competitive division in this league. There is no hope of me going pro. This is my passion and I don’t give a shit. I’m addicted to the shindig!