I played 12 years in the major leagues.
I had great years and I had not-so-great years. All of it made me who I am as a player.
When I look back at my career, the best memories include the time spent with the teammates and coaches. That group of 25 players along with the coaching staff become your family over the course of a season. That sense of team and camaraderie is unforgettable. I had the opportunity to play for a World Series, which is what you dream about as a kid. There’s no other feeling that could even come close to competing for a World Series championship with your family on the field and your family in the stands.
But it wasn’t just the good stuff that made me who I am as a player. I was sent back to the minors in each of my first three major league seasons and – each time – I learned from different coaches with varying philosophies who collectively helped me see a different way to overcome the struggles I was facing. I had to figure out how to better myself by studying the game, figuring out what was going to work best for me, and what worked best for others. Those adjustments are what led me to having a long career.
I was led toward coaching after I retired. My boys were in Little League and I experienced travel baseball for the first time. I didn’t like it at all. Youth baseball had turned into a collection of kids out for themselves instead of playing as a team. I didn’t like what many coaches were doing and many of the players were downright disrespectful. There was no structure.
I started to worry about how the game was evolving. By the time our kids get to the minor leagues, the state of baseball could be in bad shape. That’s what brought me to want to change things in the youth sports world, from prospects all the way up through to the major league level. We need to make better players to make the game of baseball better.
That’s what Silver Glove Baseball is about.
As a coach, I want my players to be looked at as great players, but – perhaps more importantly – as great teammates and great human beings. Even though we hit for ourselves and field for ourselves, baseball is about the team. It’s one of the best lessons to learn in sports and in life.