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The World of College Recruiting

Have you ever been told you have a 72 hour window to make a decision that’ll impact the rest of your life?

Welcome to the world of collegiate athletic recruiting.

At the age of 17, I took a tour of a university I was interested in. I met with the baseball coaches, some of the players, and saw the facilities – and then we immediately got down to the business of it all. The university offered a scholarship and, needless to say, I was elated. You might assume that I was then given a few weeks to think it through – to really mull it over – to discuss the pros and cons with my family and friends, teammates and coaches – and to ultimately make a calculated, informed decision.

But that wasn’t exactly the case. After the university made the initial offer to me as I stood on that particular campus, they told me it would remain on the table for only 72 hours. Seventy two hours! That’s three days – three days to make one of – if not the most – important decisions of my life up to that moment. At 17 years old, many people would be easily pressured – and I, too,  would have been if not for the fact that my parents had made the trip with me and understood what was going on more than I did, in all my naivety.

In general, the world of recruiting is tough on an athlete. Every year, athletes ages 15-17 have to make decisions on not only where to attend school for the next four years of their lives but also where to live and breathe their sport – whom they want to represent. That is not an easy task. That is not a three-day task.

You want me to come to your school, play baseball on your team, and represent you – but you’re only willing to give me a 72-hour window to say yes? It is no wonder why this sort of rushed set-up leads to many athletes transferring after their first year. The pressure athletes face when given ridiculous “deadlines” to make these important decisions is so great – and many athletes cave and just say yes without fully thinking it through. And you can’t blame a 16-year-old kid for having clouded judgement – especially in this day and age with social media and other influences pushing kids in so many different directions.

I understand the belief that certain student athletes “just know” or “ fall in love” with a certain school. If that is the case, a student will let the coaches know, and a timetable of a few days shouldn’t be necessary. When a student  athlete knows, they know. But if he or she doesn’t know, putting a time restraint on the decision-making process is not right and pressures them to make a decision they are not ready to make.

The decision should be well thought-out by the athlete and his or her loved ones and mentors. Nobody else should have a say in the decision. After all, a lawyer doesn’t make a case alone, and a doctor doesn’t cut someone open without a whole slough of assistants. But in the end, it is the athlete’s life, and it’s the athlete who should have the final say.

In my opinion, it is better to have the student athlete at the “wrong” school if they make the choice then it is to have someone else make the “right” decision without the student truly wanting to be there. In baseball, we pitchers are taught that it is better to make the wrong pitch with conviction, then the right pitch with uncertainty. I believe that lesson can be used in this case, and many others.

The best advice I can ever offer to an athlete going through the recruitment process is this:

Opinions only matter if they belong to people who matter.

Family, CLOSE friends, and people you look up to (mentors) are the only people who should have any sort of influence on your decision.

Coaches and recruiting coordinators need to understand how big a deal it is when they offer a scholarship to an athlete. It represents an incredible opportunity and a humbling honor, but also a weighty responsibility. And no university/college coach should ever pressure an athlete regarding a decision on where to attend college. If you have to pressure a student athlete to attend your school, maybe he or she shouldn’t be there in the first place.

For any coaches reading this, take it from someone who has been through it… Pressure is a turn off, and if you do pressure a kid and he or she accepts your scholarship offer based on your pushing, then shame on you. Pressuring a teenager to attend your school solely because you  want his or her talent and ability to benefit your team is plain wrong. Realize the stress these kids are already under, and appreciate their need for some time to weigh their options with their support network and really think it through. Give students a respectable timetable.. not 72 hours. Show them the school, give them all the information they want, and, simply, let them make an informed, un-hasty decision. To put it in the most simple terms, just imagine it was your child that was going through it. Would you want them making a decision due to the pressure they felt? Or would you want them to make decision based off where they feel comfortable and will enjoy the next four crucial years of their lives. Act as if it was your own child.

And yes – being given a scholarship is a privilege, and perhaps those presented with such a privilege should not be complaining. But the thing most people do not realize is that these athletes are not given scholarships; scholarships are earned. You earn the scholarship through hard work, sacrifice, and being relentless in your craft. So when you get a scholarship, it is quite rewarding and you should be able to make appropriate decisions without added pressure.

Another thing some people do not realize, is that, just because you are going to school with a sports scholarship, that does not mean you are going to walk out of there with a professional contract. As fans, we see them on ESPN and National Television and assume they’re all first round draft picks in their respective sports, but that is not the case. One of the reasons I chose to write this blog was because I saw an interesting stat floating around social media. Here it is:

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That chart just shows an example of how important a decision this is for a student athlete to make. This is bigger than who has the best sports program or most fans. College is a crucial 4 years for any student and a clouded, pressure induced decision shouldn’t be pushed on a student athlete.

I completely understand that coaches’/recruiting coordinators’ jobs are not easy and they need answers and commitments as soon as possible. They must move on and recruit another student athlete if you don’t accept their offer.. But be respectful of the student athlete and give a respectable timetable. Whether that student attends a specific school, that school will still field a team, and fill that scholarship offer. The student however, if they make the wrong decision, it can impact their entire life and future.

The easiest way for this to happen is to be open and honest with each other. Athletes, do not lead coaches on for weeks on end if you are not truly interested in attending that school. Give them a chance to move on. And coaches, be respectful of the decision making process and if a timetable is needed, make it reasonable.

After all, it is the athlete’s life we are talking about. Let him or her decide what to do with it.

Some things are bigger than sports.

Please remember, this is my point of view and opinion. This was an example of something I went through and figured if one kid can relate, then it was worth writing. The recruiting process is not always like this and not all coaches and universities pressure athletes. However, this does happen, and I am sure student athletes are going through this as you read this. So please understand, this is not the case with ALL universities and not the case with ALL student athletes. This is an opinion and also my advice for student athletes going through this or that will go through this.

The Business of a Game

Upon entering professional baseball, I was told by numerous people that it’s a business first and a game second. As a high school draftee, I did not understand what these people meant. I thought they were crazy. Baseball is a game and it is played by kids throughout the world at every age level…What can the big difference be? Why all the warnings?

Now I understand.

Baseball is not just a game. Baseball is a business – a billion dollar industry. Baseball players are employees of an organization just like any other employees of a company. Occasionally it feels like we’re pawns in a chess match.

Just a few days ago, I was on the bus after a series win versus the Brewers High A team in Florida. Around midnight, I got a phone call from a Cardinals representative regarding a trade I was involved in.

Thirty seconds into the phone call, I discovered that my time with the St. Louis Cardinals was over. Just like that, my career path was re-routed. I had literally a few hours to pack my stuff and say my goodbyes to my teammates, coaches, trainers, before I was scheduled to leave that next day. Simply put, I was no longer affiliated with my first professional team, all in the matter of a few seconds.

Does that happen at other types of jobs? Where you achieve a goal with your coworkers and immediately afterwards, you’re told you must pack all your belongings, say goodbye to your colleagues, and head elsewhere to work for a competitor?

Unique as that process may be to sports professions – i.e. being told you’re switching employers as opposed to choosing to do so – what it comes down to is that baseball is a business. Teams have needs and different plans for the future and the present. Imagine trading lawyers for lawyers? Or teachers for teachers? Sounds crazy, but this is the career path we athletes have chosen. It’s part of the job description, so we can’t say we didn’t know it could happen.

We have a few options on how to handle this situation: sulk and ask questions or simply, move on. The latter is healthier for your career.

But yes, baseball is also a game – hence the phrase, “Play ball.” But don’t assume it’s all roses and rainbows with no consequences or hardships. It’s not; it’s still a profession and a business in which winning comes before almost everything. And that responsibility is not just on us players, but the entire coaching staff and front office as well.

Just a few days ago, I was a player residing in Palm Beach, FL representing the St. Louis Cardinals. Now, I am a Cleveland Indian, playing in Lynchburg, VA. That is the result of something that is way more than just a game.

This happens every year to countless players. Players take it differently and have their own opinions on the matter. And by the way, it’s not just us players who have to deal with the change – it’s also our families and friends, who have developed allegiances to our former teams and now have to change them at the drop of a hat. That’s not easy for many people to grasp… After all, for people who aren’t immersed in this lifestyle every single day or who don’t understand the business aspect of the sport, it can feel like your former team is throwing you out to the curb and trading you in for something shinier and new.

But in my opinion, that is absolutely not the case.

At the end of the day, it’s all about how the player himself handles the situation. And I believe in handling the situation, instead of having the situation handle me.

During the draft or in the process of a trade, an opportunity to play (or to continue to play) professional baseball has been presented to you. Someone believes in you and is knocking at your door… What can you do but gratefully answer?

My family and I have received hundreds of texts, tweets, calls, messages, etc., regarding the trade – including so many from Indians fans and also Cardinals fans – and I want to express how thankful and appreciative I am of all the support. It will not be a breeze to “start over” with a new organization, but the support makes it much easier to swallow.

I even want to thank all the people who sent me negative messages regarding the trade. Your negativity will only make me want to represent the Cleveland Indian Organization even more. Look — I had a fantastic experience with the Cardinals for which I will be absolutely forever grateful. They taught me and trained me and cared about me beyond…. and I can only show them my appreciation. But now I am a member of the Cleveland Indians, and I couldn’t be any more excited.

And my family and friends in New Jersey are now officially die-hard Cleveland fans. And yes, it can happen overnight. Our flags, gear, and the stickers on my families’ cars are all already changed. It’s a part of the game and the business.

At the end of the day, the mound is 60’6 and the bases are 90’, and every fifth day, I am competing in a sport I love. That is awesome, no matter what city or state I may be in. The opportunity given to us athletes is something that can’t be explained…it is a privilege. The business side will work itself out, and in the end, it revolves around a fun past-time – a fun game.

Again, I’d like to thank the St. Louis Cardinal organization for a great couple of years. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the entire organization. Thank you for the life long relationships, the life long lessons, and the opportunity to play professional baseball. In 2013, 27 teams passed up on me to play out of high school, but you gave me a chance. For that, I am forever grateful.

And to the Cleveland Indians: Thank you for the great opportunity. I am extremely excited to be a part of the organization. Thanks to all the Cleveland fans that have been so welcoming, it’s appreciated. Also, thanks to my teammates that I’ve met these last few days for making me feel welcomed and making this transition much easier.

Can’t wait to get to work.

Bus Rides and PB&J’s.

Draft Day.

You get drafted, you sign a contract, and you get started on something not many people can comprehend. You can’t even really comprehend it.

Friend/Random Person: “Hey, I see the Cardinals are on ESPN tonight – are you playing?”

Me: “Yes, I am playing tonight… but not on ESPN, and not in front of 50,000 fans… I’ll be playing in a tiny town in the middle of Iowa, in front of maybe 150 fans if we’re lucky, with no TV coverage, and after I eat my third peanut butter and jelly sandwich of the day.”

Okay, let’s back up. I can’t deny that being drafted is one of the best days of your life and that the opportunity you’ve been given is absurdly rewarding. However, it is your welcoming to the real world, and time to get to work. Once you’re given that team uniform, you’ve officially been invited on an adventure where you actually get to play out the dream you’ve been chasing since you were a kid. You instantly get chills. What most people do not understand, though – and what many don’t even know about – is that there is such thing as the Minor Leagues – the pit-stop before the Majors.

Scratch that – it’s no pit-stop – it’s many stops (some exceptions) before the Majors. There are many different levels of the Minors, each with its own challenges and struggles. The Minor Leagues are a physically-demanding, thought-provoking, and sometimes grueling but an always unique experience all at once. The Minors are humbling; indeed, they are where you earn the right to potentially play in the Majors. You have to pay your dues and earn your stripes, just like all the current Major Leaguers had to do before you.

Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, and Miguel Cabrera all came up through their respective farm systems and ended up in the Majors. None of them signed their contracts, hopped on a private jet, and met the big league team wherever they were playing that day. They all had to hone their skill sets in order to be able to have a chance to compete and dominate in the Majors.

What many people assume after you sign a contract with a Major League team is that you immediately go and play for that Major League team. In reality, as a new draftee, you sign a Minor League deal with a Major League team. You begin your professional career in either the backfields of your respective organization in the lowest of the Minor Leagues, or if you’re fortunate, in a Minor League stadium somewhere across the United States. (Most, though not all, players begin in rookie ball or A ball). Players coming straight out of high school, like myself, typically begin in the lowest of the levels – which is precisely what I did.

I began my career in the Gulf Coast League in Florida. I signed in mid-June 2013 after being drafted on June 6th of that year, and my career began soon thereafter. After signing, I had to pack all my stuff over a few day span, leave my family and friends and everything I had ever known behind, and head to Jupiter, Florida to begin my dream. I had a general idea of what the Minor Leagues were like, having been friends with a few Minor Leaguers over the years. But stories can give you only so much to imagine, and until you plant your feet in your new life and experience the grind of a Minor League season, you soon realize that no one else’s story could have prepped you for this new exciting, challenging, and sometimes wearisome world.

In my opinion, the Minor Leagues teach you to become a man. As someone who did not attend college, I’m sure college does something similar. The only difference, baseball-wise, may be that when you are playing ball in college, you have weeks off at a time – you have time to go home, and most importantly, you have things to get you away from baseball. You have class, you have a social life, you have friends to take your head away from the game. I’m not saying college is in any sense easy; I’m saying it’s different. (Undoubtedly, taking 15 credits at school while playing a sport can’t be an easy thing to conquer.)

We Minor Leaguers are away for six months straight (some of us may get to go home for two days for the All-Star break). We see our families sparingly, only if we are lucky enough to have them visit.  Professional baseball is just that: professional baseball. Baseball quickly becomes all-encompassing – it becomes your job, your education, your socializing, your passion, your struggle, your journey, your triumph – your life. And your teammates… Well, spending days on end with those guys – countless hours on the field, in the dugout, in the gym, in the locker room, in the hotels and apartments, on those unending bus rides through corn fields and nothingness – those guys quickly become like family.

To date, I’ve played at three different levels of the Minor Leagues: the Gulf Coast League (rookie, after draft), the Midwest League (Low-A), and my current post in the Florida State League (High A). All three have been great learning experiences for me. From my hours on the field, I have acquired knowledge, experience, tons of practice, and a much stronger sense of discipline. But I absolutely cannot overlook what I’ve learned from my hours off the field: how to live away from home, how to cope with failure, how to learn from other players and coaches and also from my own mistakes, how to sign my own lease papers and pay my own bills… etc.

The Minor League lifestyle is not an easy one, but it’s what we signed up for when we signed that contract. We signed up for 12-hour bus rides, being away from familiarity, living out of suitcases – just like the MLB players before us did. The guys we all looked up to – the Ken Griffeys, the Cal Ripkens, the Derek Jeters – they all did what we are currently doing. So who are we to complain? The greats had to go through this same exact grind – and if you asked them, I can almost guarantee that each and every one would say he’d do it 100 times over again.

The Minor Leagues have matured me and made me become something more than what I was. I could not be more appreciative of every experience that I’ve had – every roadblock I’ve faced and been coached through, every obstacle my teammates and I have overcome, and every goal we’ve achieved together. I’ve – and we’ve all – come a long.

And at the end of the day, there really is only one thing to do in the Minor Leagues if you’re unhappy: play better.

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For anyone interested, here is what a typical day looks like for me, a Minor League pitcher. ( As a kid, I was always curious what a day in the Minors was like, so figured I’d share my experiences)

Sides-                        3:00 PM

Stretch-                      3:30 PM

Long toss-                  3:45 PM

Shag batting practice-4:00-4:45 PM

Out of clubhouse-       6:05 PM

Game-                        6:35 PM

Depending on our lifting and conditioning schedule, we will usually head in to lift around 11 or 12, get something to eat, then head back to make it for stretch. One of the unwritten rules of Minor League baseball is to be there an hour before stretch. ( I learned that the hard way in Peoria, IL in my first full season in the Minor Leagues)

Usually the schedule looks something like above, but that is just the mandatory times we must be at the field. Most of us get to the stadium at around 1:30 ( if we don’t have a lift ) and get things done regarding arm care and personal routines to prepare for the night’s game.

After a peanut butter and jelly (Minor League must) or a stadium hot dog, we head out to compete in the game.

When we are on the road, the schedule will be similar, the only difference is the bus will leave our hotel around an hour to and hour and a half before stretch and we will get situated in the visiting clubhouse then complete our day.

Failure

Failure
May 30, 2015

For better or for worse, I am a competitive person. Odds are, I am one of the most competitive people you will ever meet. Whether it’s Ping-Pong, darts, Madden, or on the mound, I want to win – and I will do almost anything to succeed. But constantly chasing success means inevitably coming face to face with failure….and that is what this blog is about: how to deal with failure.

All people have experienced failure. I have let up many earned runs; my straight-A sister has gotten Bs and Cs; my siblings and I made a huge error of judgment when we randomly came home with a second puppy one day without asking our parents if it was okay. (True story…) People lead different lives, so “failure” will look different to each individual person, and it can show up in many different forms. But it’s how we rebound from failure that matters most.

As one of the younger guys on the team, I have a ton of teammates and coaching staff to look up to. Having such open and supportive teammates and coaches means I am presented with many opportunities to learn from those who have “been there, done that.” I try to take advantage of this by asking lots of questions – I love to pick their brains and form my own opinions on all topics. So I approached some of the guys on the team and some of the coaching staff and asked them for advice on how to handle failure. How can I face failure and move forward? How can I learn from it and grow?

As professional ballplayers, we are given such unbelievable opportunities to showcase our abilities and to get paid for what we love to do. Speaking on behalf of minor leaguers (at least the ones I spoke to about this topic), we never want to fail at our own game. Our job is to produce results day in and day out. But it is a long, 140-game season, and we have bad days – sometimes bad weeks. Sometimes we get in our own heads and it all just catapults into a downward spiral of negative thoughts. There are bumps in the road, there are stressors, there are frustrations along the way. We quickly learn that we need to find ways to live with these feelings, or else we would crumble.

There is a distinct difference between dwelling on failure, and staring failure in the face and refusing to let it own you. Failure is one of the best ways to learn. Learning what not to do allows you to learn what to do.

The other day, I had a rough outing. I got hit and did not put my team in a position to win. I failed at my profession. I found myself cursing under my breath, and after the game, I lost my cool in the clubhouse. We are human: we fail, we get angry, we lose our cool. It happens, and it’s okay. But if we keep things in perspective, it makes it easier on us and helps us grow.

The day of my poor outing, I found myself cursing, upset, not answering my friends’ and my family’s calls/texts – all because I had a bad day at work. Think about that. I let up runs and didn’t execute pitches, and I found myself ignoring the people that do not judge me based off a stat line. Upon reflection, I recognize that what I should have done was taken a step back and disect what went wrong, how to fix it, do everything in my power to not let it happen again, and ultimately, most importantly, move on. Was letting up a few runs really a reason to be so down and upset? Maybe for a little while. But I now realize that ignoring my family and friends and trapping myself in my own thoughts was not a productive way to handle the failure. In fact, it was counterproductive.

Baseball is a game of failure. If a hitter succeeds three times out of ten (30%), he is an all-star caliber player. In contrast, if a quarterback completes 30% of his passes, or a basketball player makes 30% of his shots, they are each looking for new jobs. Baseball is a game within a game. You literally have to learn how to accept being beat a majority of the time. Imagine that. Some of the most competitive athletes on earth have to be OKAY with being beat! Not possible, right? Wrong. Ask any big league hitter if they would sign up for failing 7 out of 10 times for the rest of their career… My guess is they’d sign on the dotted line without thinking twice.

The point of this post is to share my opinion on failure and how to handle and cope with failure. Most of the time, it is not life or death and should not be treated as such. I am not saying I am okay with failing. I often fall victim to overthinking and losing perspective… everyone does. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the theory of, “Remember, don’t be upset because it could be worse.” (Does that mean I shouldn’t be happy because it could be better?) But then again, perspective is key. When something goes wrong in your life, look in the mirror, dissect what happened, what went wrong, what went right, take away a few positives, and then move on.

Why dwell on the past? If you let it pervade your thoughts and dreams, if you let it eat you alive… nothing positive will come of it. Learning, moving on, and growing from failure is much more productive than being miserable because of a mishap. Adapt and overcome the adversity and failure that occurs in your life. Do not fall victim to people feeling bad for you or you feeling bad for yourself. Get up, face failure head on, and refuse to let it pass without learning something from it. Win the battle within your own head, and you’ll be right back on the road towards your next success.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from one of the most succesful athletes in history.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” –Michael Jordan

What Is Success?

May 13, 2015
Daytona Florida

​The other day, my buddy Austin was telling me about an essay he was writing for one of his college classes. The essay prompt was:
“What is success? What does it mean to you?” Austin, who knows I enjoy reading about success, successful people’s stories, and the common threads in such stories,
sent me his essay and asked what I thought.

His essay was great – many good points were brought up: success is never final, and hard work will lead to success, are two that stood out. But overall, my opinion differed from his – and since we are always honest with each other, I shared with him my thoughts. In doing so, I thought it would be an interesting blog post to get people talking. So as you read, please think about what success means to you – what it means, what it looks like, how you obtain it – and comment at the end.

So here are my thoughts. (And remember, this is my opinion)

​The word “success” is small, but its meaning carries substantial weight. The word is thrown around by people from all different corners of the world, as the desire to “do well” or “to achieve success” does not discriminate. Most people, when they think of success, probably think of positive end results: the student’s A+’s, the CEO’s seven-figure paycheck, the athlete’s awards. This is logical, because those grades and that money and that fame are all observable things – they are all goals achieved, boxes checked off. But what people don’t see – and what they sometimes refuse to see – is the work that produced those results.

To me, success is more than just an end result. Results are not coincidences; they do not materialize by happenstance or “luck”. I do not believe in ” luck”. The athlete who just got a multi-year deal? He didn’t wake up one day, roll out of bed, and land on a golden contract. The teacher whose class got the best results on the state tests? Not many people comprehend or appreciate the hard work and late hours he or she spent on helping those kids prepare. The end result is what people see and deem a “success”, but the person who strived for that result – who shed blood, sweat, and tears on the road towards that end goal – knows that a medal or a high GPA wasn’t an overnight victory. He or shes hard work, itself, is just as a great success as the end result is. Success is never final. Money and fame can run out but what was learned on the road to the achievement, can last a lifetime.

​As athletes, my teammates and I have been given an unbelievable opportunity. After all, we get paid to play a game – and a game we love. But then again, not many people see the 6:00AM lifts, the late night games, the ten-hour bus rides, the being away from family for six months straight, and the rest of “the grind” we all endure in order to attain what we, as athletes, want. We don’t want to be minor league players; we want to be major leaguers and to help our respective organizations win a World Series.

That being said, we are in no position to complain. We play our favorite sport and we get paid to do so – and we owe it to our organizations to work as hard as possible to reach the Big Leagues. That is our duty, and we owe it to many people – most importantly ourselves. The last thing any athlete wants is to look back in thirty years and have any regrets. That is what will make you lose sleep at night.

​In my opinion, success is a highly complex concept. The road to success is never-ending, and yet success can be fleeting. Not one single person can tell you what success is because success comes in so many different flavors. Success is in the eye of the beholder, and yet it’s too often measured in the eyes of the onlookers. What one person sees as success, another can see as failure, and vice-versa. That is the craziest part of this… Success is so complex, yet you – and only you – choose the meaning of it.

​What do you think success is? Would love to hear from whoever would like to respond. Appreciate your time.

First Post

Personally, I am not a big talker. I don’t feel the need to be talking 24/7. I grew up hearing the phrase “talk is cheap,” and that is what is instilled in the back of my mind. But while talk may be cheap, writing isn’t necessarily so. Putting pen to paper enables you to literally see your ideas in front of you, to reflect upon them, and to develop them further. I’m a huge believer in writing down goals and doing everything possible to achieve them. Speaking of writing things down, I always liked the idea of starting a blog – and I contemplated the idea various times over the past few years.  But truth be told, I’ve always been hesitant to start a blog because a part of me never wanted to risk having other people think I was trying to impose my beliefs on them; I didn’t want people to think that in publicizing my thoughts, I was basically saying, “My way or the highway.” But then I realized that if I were to start a blog, it wouldn’t have to be that way at all – it could simply be a place where I share my thoughts, opinions, and beliefs and invite others to do the same. It could be a platform for the exchange of interesting conversation as well as a place to learn from one another. And so this post marks the inception of my blog, “22sTwoCents.” In writing this blog, I intend to be honest, to share some of my own thoughts and ideas, elaborate on topics that are brought up, and ask thought provoking questions, while I’m on the road playing within the St. Louis Cardinals organization, and to provide some information into minor league baseball in general. One of my goals is to reach at least one person and have that person open his or her eyes to the fact that anything that he or she dreams up can be brought to life. I hope to share with people a little bit of my own story and –  though it’s not necessarily my intention – if people get motivated to go after their own dreams then that’s great. Thanks for following