By Cole Posey
Baseball, as with all sports, has a unique way of drawing parallels with life.
Adversity, teambuilding, and friendships are all great things we learn through sports that translate into our everyday lives.
Baseball has blessed me in so many ways, and I will forever be grateful for that. I hope I will be able to share some relevant lessons that have impacted me off and on the field.
As a little background, I started my collegiate career at Boise State University. I was there for one year before the program was cut due to COVID-19. Heartbroken over the decision, I then decided to transfer to the University of New Mexico, where I am currently.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The realization of Bitter or Better isn’t always an easy one.
Oftentimes it takes self-reflection and persistence.
When presented with an unfavorable situation, you can get bitter, or you can get better.
My sophomore year of college, I was playing less than I was accustomed to. I felt as if I was doing everything in my power to crack the lineup. Maybe it was enough, maybe it wasn’t. The moral is that when you are found in this situation, you have a choice.
You can become pessimistic, complain to parents and teammates, and drag others down with you, or you can become better. You can use this trial to deepen your focus on your craft and learn how to deal with adversity with a grateful heart, as difficult as that is. Whenever you choose to become better, your perspective is changed along with your heart.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer”
Far too often, we place our identities, our happiness, and our worth in our sport. It is very easy to do, especially when the praise is reigning in. Baseball, like any other sport, will always leave you unsatisfied. There will never be enough success, wins, or recognition that will fill the yearning void inside. I have given my all to this game and this game has repaid me with so much: friendships, work ethic, and everlasting memories. However, internal peace and self-worth can only be supplied by the man above. That is why I place my identity in Jesus Christ. Baseball is what I do, but it is not who I am.
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast in this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness, for in these I delight.”
The saying, “Don’t count the days, make the days count,” is Cliché, I know, but there is real power in this mindset. When you live a motivated and inspired lifestyle, you can have an impact on yourself and more importantly, others. When you count the days, you are yearning for the situation to be over. You aren’t in a mindset to be able to impact others where you are. On the contrary, when you are making the days count, you are always looking for the positive. You are determined to make the most out of the situation and this is contagious. This mindset will allow you to transform the stagnant into success.
“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
The greatest miracle is on the other side of your greatest disappointment. As difficult as this is to see at the moment, it couldn’t be closer to the truth. Oftentimes, our biggest growth occurs in times of trials and tribulations, if you allow it.
Unfavorable situations are inevitable, a positive response is optional. When the program was cut at BSU, I was torn. When my sophomore year didn’t turn out the way I anticipated, it was tough. But what I failed to realize then that I realize now is that attitude and perspective change everything. Now that I have lived those scenarios, I can sympathize with others in similar situations. I can provide guidance and encouragement. These situations can transform you — if you let them.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7
When deciding which direction to take this story, many different things came into my mind.
However, a basis of encouragement and authenticity was stuck in my heart. These lessons learned weren’t easy, but they were essential. I would’ve been remiss to not mention the enormous role that the Lord has played and will continue to throughout this journey. He has changed my heart through these circumstances, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I hope my story can be of encouragement to others going through similar situations. There is a promised land of many difficulties and trials in sports and in life. But these simple lessons I promise hold the way to making it through it all.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
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.
Addressing the Future of Baseball in 2021
QnA with 50 Year MLB Coach and Scouting Veteran, Jerry Weinstein.
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.
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
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!