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It truly is only over when you say it is.



Image credited to Noah Brennan, edited by Calvin Marley

Noah Brennan

Knowing the other side of not being able to follow my passion is what drives me most.

Out of high school, I wasn’t a highly-touted prospect. I was just a kid that threw kinda hard, with no control, and no off-speed pitches. 

This landed me at a junior college in Pasadena, California. 

I, being a naive eighteen-year-old, felt like I was entitled to more than this. I was unhappy with my situation and thought I should be in pro ball, or at least at a D1 program. So I treated my coaches and my teammates like I was better than them, and before my first college season even started, I was kicked off the team. 

That was it for me. 

I was bitter toward school and baseball, and I gave up. 

I decided I was just going to start working.

I worked a lot of random jobs at first, but I settled into sales.

I was at a small dealership in Southern California called Crown City Motors for a few years. I made good money, and my peers thought it was cool what I did… that kept me going.

I tolerated it, even though I knew something was missing. I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing since I still had this disdain towards the game of baseball.

One day though, about a year into me working at the dealership, we repossessed a car because the owner had missed a few payments. On the dash of the car was a baseball, and one of my coworkers turned to me and asked, “Hey, didn’t you used to play in college?” I said, “technically,” and he said he wanted to see me throw. 

I asked him what he wanted me to throw at. He said he didn’t want to see me hit a target, he just wanted me to throw it as hard as I could. 

So I looked down our lot and across the street.

There was a seafood restaurant called Cameron’s. I bet my coworker I could throw it on the roof of Cameron’s. He said “no way.” I took off my blazer, dug into the asphalt with my dress shoes, took a little jog into a crow-hop, and chucked that ball my absolute hardest.

I didn’t throw it on top of the restaurant’s roof… I completely cleared the restaurant and hit the wall of the next building over. In a split second, all of the hate I had for baseball melted away, and I was in love with the game again. 

From that day on, I sat at my desk every single day from 9-5 miserable.

I felt like a caged animal.

I knew I still had it, but I wasn’t doing anything about it. 

This lasted for about a year – until I was just so overwhelmed that I didn’t feel like coming into work one day. It was going to be just one vacation day, a mental health day. I told my boss that I had car troubles and I wouldn’t be making it in. He wouldn’t allow it though. He said he’d send someone over to pick me up. At that point, I was fed up, and even though it was nothing that my boss had done wrong, I snapped and I told him emphatically that I quit.

I didn’t care that I now had no job and that I wouldn’t be making rent that month. I was going to do what made me happy. 

I moved out of my apartment, moved into my car, and walked on at Los Angeles Valley College. 

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to possibly afford an apartment if I was going to make this comeback and be in school and baseball full-time. I was willing to make any sacrifice that I had to. 

Living in your car is embarrassing; being a 21-year-old freshman is embarrassing; playing horribly because you haven’t been on a field in three years is embarrassing, but all of that was still better than what was on the other side. 

I would do anything to escape the mundane life of that 9-5 that I had no passion for. I was willing to live in my car through the coldest of winters and the hottest of summers, as long as it meant I got to chase my dreams. 

My freshman year wasn’t the greatest. 

I put up below-average numbers – but I didn’t care.

I was back doing something I was passionate about. I did strive for more though. I didn’t want JUCO to be the end of the road for me. I wanted to play at a university, and I knew I needed to throw harder to stand out. 

I found a facility in El Segundo, CA called Beimel Elite Athletics, which uses Driveline-like approaches to build velocity. For those of you who don’t know, essentially this means training explosively. 

I went from throwing 84 mph to 88 mph, and I was so excited to go into my next season. 

My college coach was an old-school guy though, and he wasn’t a fan of the new-style training methods I was doing. 

He gave me an ultimatum: that I either stopped training there or I didn’t have a spot on the team. 

I took a leap of faith and said I’d find another school to play at. 

Luckily, another school in our conference, West Los Angeles College, emphatically took me in.

Some players on the team already knew me and vouched for me, and I didn’t disappoint. I played the best fall of my entire career and was told by my coach that I’d be the staff’s ace. He told me I’d start on opening day. 

Everything was falling into place – until our last inter-squad before the season. 

Pitchers don’t normally play the field or hit, but our 3rd baseman got injured a few weeks before and our coach asked me to fill in from time to time. I was happy to help out. 

In my first at-bat of this particular inter-squad, I walked and found myself on first base. Being somewhat quick, I decided I’d steal second base. I got a good jump, and the shortstop was standing at the bag like there was no throw coming in. I thought I had the stolen base standing up, so I started to slow down. I was wrong though, and the throw did come in. It was too late to slide, but I tried anyway. In the process, my cleat’s spike got caught in the bag and I twisted my knee.

I partially tore my ACL. It wasn’t bad enough to where I’d need surgery to repair it, but it was bad enough to where I wouldn’t be playing that season. 

I was devastated. 

Everything I worked so hard for was now taken away from me. 

The old me would have gotten overwhelmed, upset, and given up, but now that I knew what was waiting for me on the other side, I refused to let anything stop me. I wasn’t going back to that 9-5. 

I did my rehab. I didn’t complain or feel sorry for myself for a single day. 

I had my eyes on the prize. When I started training at Beimel Elite Athletics again, my velocity had dropped down to 78 MPH. Again though, I wouldn’t be broken. I trained my hardest because I knew I was racing against the clock. I only had a few months until college baseball season started up again – and I was going to play at a university. 

Nothing would stop me. 

I got my velocity back into the mid-80s and I’d developed some really good off-speed pitches. This generated interest from one very small school in South Dakota. It was a step in the right direction, but I wanted more for myself. I continued training and kept getting better. 

One day a guy I trained with, Matt, told me that he thought I was good enough to where I should be getting more exposure. 

He created a Twitter account for me and posted my highlight tape. 

Overnight it blew up. 

It had been seen thousands of times, and I had over 50 offers in my email by the next day.

I was in shock. It goes to show that if you put in the work for long enough, eventually you’ll get lucky and have your shot.

The recruiting process was hard though. 

The fall semester had already ended, so I only had a few weeks to make my decision because teams were headed into their seasons.

Every day I was responding to emails, text messages, and getting on phone calls with coaches. One coaching staff stood out though. Of all the schools I spoke to, the only one said they wanted to fly out and meet me. 

The head coach, assistant coach, and pitching coach from Kansas Wesleyan University all flew in from Salina, KS to Los Angeles to show who they were and tell me all about their program. 

That dedication was enough to sell me. I was committed and signed within a week. 

When I got to KWU, I was so excited. 

I had finally made it. 

I liked all my teammates, the town, everything was perfect. I had one month to earn my spot on the travel roster, and I wasn’t going to disappoint. In all of my bullpens and inter-squads, I did very well, and when the time came, I found out that I would be going to Louisiana with the team. I had officially made it. 

After the 9-hour bus ride, we arrived and stopped at the field at about 7 PM to get some throwing in. 

It was casual, just a light toss under the lights. I felt fine getting off the bus, nothing had changed, but for some reason, on my first throw, my elbow hurt. I tried to push through hoping it would loosen up, but it just didn’t feel right. Back to the injured reserve I went.

Rehab every day, again. Unbroken determination, again. I would be back.

After 6 weeks of tedious stretching, exercises, and everything else imaginable, the tendinitis in my elbow had subsided. I was ready to come back. We were going to be playing USAO in two weeks. They were the #2 ranked NAIA team in the country, and my pitching coach and I had spoken about the possibility of me starting that game. 

Consequently, my hopes were brought up only to be tarnished though. 

Queue COVID-19. 

Our entire season was canceled in the blink of an eye. 

Not just me, but everybody was crushed by the news. I’d have to wait for next season, but I stayed positive because, for many of my teammates, that was the last time they’d ever get to play. Perspective is important.

When lockdowns and quarantines had ended, and school resumed the next fall, many of us were a bit out of shape and under-prepared – I was certainly no exception. 

Consequently, in our first inter-squad, I hurt my elbow again. This time it was a bit more severe though. I strained my flexor pronator and it was discovered that I had tendon degeneration throughout my flexor mass. I tried cortisone shots and stem cell injections and no matter what I did, whenever my arm would lay back in my throwing motion, it felt like my elbow was being stabbed.

I was not done with baseball though, I wouldn’t give up. 

I started experimenting with ways that I could throw that wouldn’t hurt, and I came across throwing the ball sidearm. When I threw sidearm my elbow didn’t have to deal with that violent layback with every pitch. I did some research and the medical literature backed it up too. 

Throwing a sidearm would take some stress off of my elbow. 

Relearning how to throw a baseball after you do it a certain way for 20 years is extremely difficult. It was my most frustrating challenge yet. I struggled with location all year and played the worst I ever have in my entire life. 

I had a game where I walked four guys in a row. In another game, I gave up the go-ahead grand slam. And even another one where I got blasted with a comebacker. All of that though, all of my worst days on a baseball field, were still better than my best days sitting at a desk selling cars.

I finished last season with a 21.60 ERA. 

That is astonishingly bad. 

18 year old me would not have been strong enough to handle this adversity. I would have never tried throwing sidearm, I would have just given up baseball when my arm started hurting again. 

At 25 though, I understand the important things in life, and I know now that even when I’m playing I need to cherish my time on the field because there will be a day when I have to go back to a desk and an office. I just plan on fighting that day off for as long as possible. 

I am not deterred after last season. 

I know my stats don’t reflect my abilities. I’m training my absolute hardest this off-season and I will be ready to dominate come February. I acknowledge that I may have more setbacks and disappointments in the future, but I’ve been beaten down enough to where it doesn’t even hurt anymore. I guess I’m numb and reckless. Or just a dreamer.

I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my dream alive. 

I told myself when I quit my job that I’d make sure I played pro ball if I was going to make this sacrifice. 

I don’t care if it’s overseas, independent, or anything in between. I will make it to the next level. College baseball is not my last stop. 

To follow this dream, I’ve been hurt and I’ve even been homeless, but I’ve never been hopeless. If you truly believe in yourself, you can do anything. Don’t let anything stop you from chasing your dreams, because regret hurts more than anything. Happiness and passion work together – do something you’re passionate about. 

Our lives, our culture, is all about being perfect. If things aren’t this way we instantly beat ourselves up because everything we take in daily is “perfect.”

I’ve learned from my journey that this stigma is nothing more than a disillusioned lie. 

Nothing about my journey was and still is perfect. But that’s what makes it so special.

No, my journey isn’t some atheistically pleasing IG feed or highlight reel. But I am proud knowing I’ve done everything in my power to continue forward and learned from the mistakes of my past.

I’m still going.



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Dealing with the Pressure of Your Family Name

The Grieves: A Family of Baseball




Baseball has always been the center of my life. When I was growing up at a young age, I never really felt the pressures of having so much rich baseball history in my family, but the older I got, the more people noticed my last name.

The pressure that came with my family name impacted how I treated the game. My parents did not put any pressure on how far I made it playing. They always just wanted me to play the game respectfully because the name on the back of my jersey carried a lot of baseball knowledge and experience.

My dad Ben was drafted second overall in 1994 by the A’s, my uncle Tim was drafted in 1994 by the Royals, and my grandpa Tom was drafted sixth overall by the Senators in 1966.

Consequently, the pressure was on my younger brother and me to be baseball players.

I doubt my brother realizes that yet, and I definitely didn’t know it at his age, but now, I realize. Every coach that I have ever played for knows who my dad is. When I go to big tournaments, people come up to me and ask if I am related to Ben or Tom. I definitely feel like people are always watching me when I am playing and that there are always high expectations for me to perform well.

However, I have taken this in the best way possible most of the time as I use the pressure to motivate me to reach the expectations people have on me.

Other times, it has been more challenging, though. When I make mistakes, I feel even worse than I should because I feel those same people watching are disappointed. It is nearly impossible not to compare myself to my dad or grandpa when everyone else is.

When I am playing at my worst, I wonder if my dad experienced those same struggles, and that weighs over me.

It is a blessing to have so much experience and knowledge of the game at home with me, as I essentially have the best built-in hitting coach possible in my dad, but it is also hard to learn from someone who had baseball come so easy to them.

My dad can give me all the mechanical advice I need, but when it comes to mental advice, he cannot offer the same direction as he does on physical parts of the game.

I struggled majorly with the mental half of the game for most of my life, as the pressure I put on myself was often way more than I knew how to handle. In comparison, my dad was the top prospect in the world when his senior year in high school rolled around, which is where I am right now.

He never dealt with the mental struggles I have endured, at least not as a high schooler. In that sense, I feel helpless when I get in my head, as the tremendous mentoring of my dad becomes less and less valuable.

He can offer some changes to my swing and slight adjustments that might help me get back on track, but he can’t help me get out of my head when I go through a rough stretch at the plate.

With that, I have learned to embrace the mental toughness I have developed, as I have never once thought about giving up. Despite all the struggles I have endured playing the game, I still only want to be better and work harder.

Maybe my mental struggles are a blessing more than a downfall.

I have used them as my motivation to practice more with my dad when I am struggling. Yes, I get down on myself, but everyone does when they struggle. And baseball is a sport of struggling, but I have never backed away from the competition or the challenge. What I once considered my weakness in baseball, I now consider a strength. When I am at my worst, my inner doubt has only forced me to become better. It is a unique part of my game that no one can compare to my dad, uncle, or grandpa.



Bode Grieve

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Athlete Reflections

Addressing the Future of Baseball in 2021

QnA with 50 Year MLB Coach and Scouting Veteran, Jerry Weinstein.



Image credited to Weinstein Baseball


This week I caught up with Jerry Weinstein, a long-time baseball buff, to say the very least. Jerry began his coaching career back in 1966 as a freshman coach at UCLA, and today, after an unprecedented coaching run that found him atop leading Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers, he now finds himself a part of The Colorado Rockies Player Development System as a Scouting Special Assistant.

With fifty-plus years of experience in the game of baseball at the highest level, I thank Jerry for answering our audience’s question amidst a time of significant adjustment for the game of baseball. Upon receiving this great opportunity, I wanted to hear from our audience and have their questions answered by Jerry. Dictated by your questions, this was the extent of our conversation:

What behavioral issues do you run into with players at the professional level, and what can we do as coaches when we have these players younger to foster better habits or character?

“We have fewer behavioral issues at the pro level because there is so much internal competition & there are really no fallback options. The organization has the leverage. With that being said, it’s all about choices & owning those choices realizing that there are consequences for poor choices. Transfer of blame is not an option. The key is establishing standards of behavior & consistently holding the athletes to those standards.”

What are we doing now in the industry that is hurting participation and the retention of good athletes in the game of baseball? As we witness, athletes to the likes of Kyler Murray choose not to pursue baseball professionally.

“Retention-Make it fun. Connect with the players as people & not just players. Be positive. Know what you are doing. Allow for individual differences. Be organized & have enough help to keep players moving in small groups. Short-tempo practices & games. Make it competitive. Player-centric environment. It’s more about them than the scoreboard. It’s a collaborative effort between players, coaches & parents.”

What are your thoughts on the game of baseball missing out on talented players with the shortened draft and college rosters overflowing? With 1,525 draft selections in 2010 and only 160 in 2020…

Professional baseball does not miss very often. Maybe they don’t get slotted the way they end up, but good players do not go unseen. If they are playing somewhere, they will be seen. It may be in an Indy League where many late bloomers & players from lower-profile programs thrive. If they have tools or are playing up to professional standards, they will be seen. The problem lies in the fact that we are losing a lot of the better athletes to other sports. We need to do a better job of attracting those athletes & retaining them. MLB is making a real effort in that area in the inner cities with its RBI program. I’m concerned that the current Travel Team movement has priced a lot of the economically challenged families out.


I want to once again thank Jerry for his priceless insight and wisdom. His generosity in answering these questions I know will go a long way for our audience memebers. The game of baseball, perhaps having always faced unprecedented times, now faces reconstruction and rebranding efforts post pandemic. With the universal designated hitter (DH) now active in both the American and Nation League, the game of baseball now looks to another evolution in rules for greater growth amongst fan bases and most imporantly, youth. Baseball’s ability to keep promising athletes in the sport will set the horizon the future of baseball is destined for.


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The San Francisco Giants 107 Win Season Should Be Remembered for More Than Painful Ending

Recapping the Incredible Run of the 2021 San Francisco Giants



Image by: Robson Hatsukami Morgan

The San Francisco Giants season came to an end in game 5 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers this past week.

The game ended in San Francisco with the Giants down just one run on a check swing appealed and called a strike against the hot bat of Wilmer Flores. It is by no means a surprise that much of sports media has run with the Giants’ season-ending call.

Some even rank the Giants among the top teams in MLB history to have the most painful season-ending loss. But the fact of the matter is the ’21 Giants might have pulled off one of the most impressive seasons in MLB History.

From the resurrection of Buster Posey to the resurgence of past greats like Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt, Gabe Kapler’s squad should be beyond proud of their efforts. Kapler not only led his team to 107 wins after the team had finished with losing records for the last four years but utilized vital players off the bench like Donovan Solana and Austin Slater to plot many late-inning comebacks.

The ’21 Giants also saw the birth of unlikely heroes unforeseen going in Spring Training like Kris Bryant, who was picked up at the trade deadline, and LaMonte Wade Jr., whose late-inning heroics all year, earned him the title “Late Night Lamonte.”

Overall, to let the Giant’s season go to waste or be manipulated to provoke fan and public reaction because of one “highly disputed” call would be an act of great injustice. The fact also remains that no one game comes down to any single call; the Giants had missed out on multiple scoring opportunities before the 2-1 deficit.

And at the end of the day, the Dodgers had just played better baseball that evening; Gabe Kapler said after the game, “I have no regrets, congratulations to that very talented squad on the other side.” We hope to acknowledge the magic the San Francisco Giants created this season for the fans and world of baseball and remind people never to be swayed by the narratives of “BLOWN CALL RUINS SEASON” columns and tabloids. Congratulations to the 2021 San Francisco Giants!

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