Saturday, February 28, 2009

I always want to get better


Five years ago, Tim Lincecum was on his way to earning Freshman of the Year honors at the University of Washington. Today, he's getting ready for his first season since winning the Cy Young Award in November of last year. Nicknamed "The Freak," the 5-foot-11, 174-pound Lincecum isn't resting on his laurels.
"I always want to get better," said Lincecum, who had a league-high 265 strikeouts last season for the Giants. "I come into this year, I'm not just sitting on my ass hoping everything's going to be all right because of last year. I've got to come out here and work and become better. That's what it takes to be a good major-league baseball player."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

With hard work you can do anything!

Great story from the today about a player in Southern California who is coming off Tommy John surgery. To try and get back to play in his senior year, the left handed pitcher taught himself to throw right handed.

If anyone ever complains about feeling down, tired or lacking energy, think of All-City left-handed pitcher Ryan Santhon of Taft.
He had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow last November. His pitching days were supposedly done for a year.
But on Saturday at the Taft alumni game, there was Santhon on the mound pitching in his senior year -- right-handed. He threw a scoreless inning, walking two.
He taught himself to throw right-handed just so he'd be the first pitcher on Taft's new field. Talk about tenacity and toughness -- that's Santhon.
"I had nothing to lose," he said.
Asked if he'll try to pitch in a regular game this season, Santhon said, "I want to try, but I don't know if my coach is going to let me."
On March 10, Santhon will be cleared to start hitting, so beware. For anyone who works as hard as he does, success is bound to happen.
-- Eric Sondheimer

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How did they do it?

A few great quotes on how Fresno St. made their magical run through the NCAA playoffs. It is a great lesson on how to "overachieve".

"The biggest reason Fresno won is because they became invincible," Texas coach Augie Garrido said. "They became warriors on the field. They became superheroes, playing through pain, playing through adversity, believing in themselves."

"It was a tremendous show of the importance of attitude and teamwork," said Garrido, who has the most coaching victories in major college baseball history. "You saw a bunch of kids with bloody noses and broken fingers, sweaty brows and torn-up uniforms. It just is the magic that belongs to college baseball."

"I think (Fresno State) definitely shows that if a team gets hot and is playing its best baseball at the right part of the season, you can be really dangerous," said KU coach Rich Price said. "We feel like we could have accomplished that same thing and got to Omaha."

TEAM sports

“Team Sports are really difficult things. Sometimes your team wins because of you, sometimes in spite of you, and sometimes its like you are not even there. That’s the reality of the team game. Then at one point in my career something wonderful happened I don’t know why or how but I came to understand what “team” meant. It meant that although I didn’t get a hit or make a great defensive play, I could impact the team in an incredible and consistent way. I learned I could impact my team by caring first and foremost about the team’s success and not my own. I don’t mean by rooting for us like a typical fan, fans are fickle. I mean care, really care about the team…about “us”. I became less selfish, less lazy, less sensitive to negative comments. When I gave up me, I became more. I became a captain, a leader, a better person and I came to understand that life is a team game…and you know what?…I’ve found most people aren’t team players. They don’t realize that life is the only game in town. Someone should tell them. It has made all the difference in the world to me. “ Don Mattingly/All Star first baseman/NY Yankee Captain

Tuesday, February 17, 2009



There's not a letter you can put on your chest that makes you a leader
David Wright has spent five seasons with the NY Mets, earning All-Star honors the last three. Now 26, Wright says that even though he's a relatively young guy, he's happy to step into a leadership role this year.

"I think that I can be more of a leader by what I bring to the field, not necessarily yelling and screaming. I think that if you lead by example and play the game hard and play the game the right way, guys will follow you. Those are the guys that I follow. I've said all along that leadership is earned. There's not a title or letter you can put on your chest that makes you a leader.

Obviously, there are guys that have been around for quite some time and they've got more experience than I do. But by no means do I feel intimidated or not feel comfortable going up and talking to those guys if I see something. I understand how the game is where you have to put your time in, but I want to win. And if it takes me taking a bigger leadership role, then I'll do that.

You're going to find 30 teams with great players on them, but very few do you have everybody that buys in and will give themselves up for the good of the team."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interview with Greg Maddux-Keep it Simple

Great message from Greg Maddux on the mental game and the power of keeping it simple.

Friday, February 6, 2009

You don't win by being comfortable

Great quote by Celtics Coach Doc Rivers on winning and player Ray Allen.

"I hear so many times guys say they want to win a championship, I want to be a winner, but what they're really saying is they want to win so long as it's comfortable for them,'' Rivers said. "You don't win by being comfortable. You win by doing things out of your comfort zone to make the team better, and Ray epitomizes that to me. He's completely come out of his comfort zone to fit into this team to make us better, and Ray has proved that he's a champion because he's willing to do that.

The fight is lost far away from witnesses

In the words of Muhammad Ali:
"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road - long before I dance under those lights."

What are you doing to prepare yourself for your time under the "lights"?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

WORKING your way to the top

Great article from on Stephen Strasburg, the projected #1 overall draftpick in this year's MLB Draft. The article speaks of how 30 MLB teams passed on Strasburg out of HS and now 29 of them may not even get a chance to get him. Strasburg came out of highschool as a quality pitcher but he did not have the mental toughness or work ethic to reach his full potential. He has learned those two qualities at San Diego State and now looks to be a lock for #1. Below are a few excerpts from the article.

Strasburg in HS:

Strasburg, who was born in San Diego, pitched for West Hills High in Santee, about 10 miles northeast of the SDSU campus. He displayed flashes of brilliance his senior year, touching 90 mph with his fastball and posting a 1.68 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 62 innings.
But Strasburg also was carrying nearly 250 pounds on a 6-foot-4 frame. He didn't wear it well. And at times he seemed as undisciplined on the mound as he was at the dinner plate.
"I was a chubby kid," Strasburg admitted, "with a poor mental game out there."
Said Scott Hopgood, Strasburg's coach at West Hills: "There were some very difficult times. The biggest thing is he was hardest on himself. He wanted to win, and he felt like he had to go out and strike everybody out.
"Twice he had no-hitters in the fifth and gave up a jam shot. He would be totally pissed. The next thing you know he gives up a couple of runs. You go out and talk to him and say, 'OK, why did this happen? You lost your focus. So what. You gave up a hit. Big deal.'
"The mental side of the game was very, very weak."

Strasburg's beginning at SDSU:

In polite circles, scouts said Strasburg was soft or that he lacked mental toughness or intestinal fortitude. Take your pick. Among themselves, they put it more bluntly.
Soon after Strasburg stepped on campus, pitching coach Rusty Filter told him plainly how the local baseball community saw him.
"When Coach Filter told me that's what everybody was saying behind my back, that really pissed me off," Strasburg said. "I was out there to prove them all wrong. … To this day, that's kind of a sore spot in my heart. But it's fueled the fire to get me where I am today."

Strasburg's frosh and soph years:

"We ran him out there and put him in every hot-box situation that we could," Filter said. "There were times we would intentionally walk someone to load the bases and tell him he had to strike out the next two guys and he was delivering."
Strasburg finished the season with seven saves in 25 appearances, allowing only 10 earned runs. His confidence began to soar. So did his velocity.
Strasburg gained 8 mph on his fastball between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Looks of disbelief registered along with a 101 mph reading on the radar gun during a fall intrasquad. He hit triple digits several times during the season as well.
"I've never seen anything like this," Filter said. "Most guys at that age start to plateau. The benefit in this whole thing is he learned how to pitch before he became a velocity guy.
"I want people to know that he's worked extremely hard, and it's not just a guy blessed with a great arm."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Billy Butler on his mental approach

KC Royal Billy Butler on his mental approach to the game:

Monday, February 2, 2009

It takes more than talent

Good article from the OWH about the 2009 Husker baseball team. Coach Anderson is preaching growth this upcoming season. Anderson's quest for growth includes an interesting objective- to create space between the current husker program and former stars Alex Gordon and Joba Chamberlain. Anderson believes that many players in the program are just trying to be the next big league star. Instead Anderson is looking for players to turn their focus to the team.

"If you put an emphasis on the academic side of things and put an emphasis on team," the coach said, "you're going to have guys who want to do those things and not just be the next Alex or Joba."

"Talent is talent, but maturity and intangibles will always carry over. Talent is very rarely ever enough."