Usually, the first couple weeks of spring seem to drag on and on, but for some reason, that is not the case this year. We have been here for over 2 weeks now, and the intensity of the players has not wavered a bit. The coaches and staff have been upbeat and excited to get better everyday, and the players have been relentless in their work level. The days start early (around 5:00 a.m.) and players are still working hard in the cages and weight room, far past quitting time. I sense a youthful excitement that is obviously initiated by the fact that we have more twenty-something players than anybody in the league, but our well seasoned veterans are still leading the pack with being the first to arrive and the last to leave. Our ongoing culture of hard work, and work done well, seems to be impacting the next generation of players, and my only fear is that our coaching staff is going to pass out from all the extra work requests. What does all this mean? Nothing really, except that the guys are taking care of what they can control at this point of the season, and that is the hard work of preparation, and learning the discipline of pushing their bodies and minds beyond where most will go. I believe that it will pay off in the end.
Today is the first game of the spring and I believe that the players are ready to begin competing. A great deal has been made about the competition inside our camp for multiple positions, but that is really just a distraction to us, and distractions are the first opponent that we will face this season. Unfortunately, they will keep coming, unless we decide to take their legs out from under them.
At this level, our guys are naturally competing every single second they are awake. They can't help it, as it is in their DNA. They are competing against themselves and anyone who tries to tell them that they cannot do something as well as they believe that they can. Today we will attempt to deflect the distractions that come from the baseball world, and the real world of LIFE, and put our attention on competing on the field to show our talents. I can't wait to watch these guys grow together as a group, and begin to showcase their talents against some of the best in the game. I pray each day for health for each of these guys and that we will all maximize the gifts we have been given, and the opportunity to compete to be the best that we can possibly be. If we each compete in a way that meets our own expectations, then the results will be there. Let the competition begin.