Whats up guys?
My name is Carson Lee, most of you probably don’t know me, but I wanted to write this blog for my guys over at BB-Bands. A little about me, I’m currently playing Professional Baseball, this next year will be 3rd year that I will be fortunate enough to do so. I also played 3 years of Division 1 baseball at Prairie View A&M University. Baseball has been my whole life, as I come from a baseball family and this game has brought me some of my life's greatest experiences, from the travel, to the friends that I’ve met and even getting to spend a summer as the Bat Boy for the Houston Astros. All I've ever wanted to do was play Professional Baseball, I never knew exactly how I was gonna get there, I just knew that is what I had the desire to do, and now that I am getting to do it, I would like to pass along some of my insight and advice to make sure you, the reader, also have the opportunity to accomplish your dreams.
First off, let me start by saying that having the opportunity to play Professional Baseball, is more than everything you can imagine it being, its truly a blast, but in saying that, you have to have the heart, passion and love of the game to be able to embrace the grind everyday. What I’ve also learned on this journey is that ultimately, people don’t care if you are in the MLB or not, if they just hear that you play “Professional Baseball” they think that is the coolest thing ever, especially the kids, they don’t know the difference between the Minors or MLB, so just interacting with kids and seeing the smile that they have on their face, thats what this opportunity is truly all about, because at some point, we were also all that same kid who looked up to professional athletes and probably were also turned down at some point. The true purpose is being able to give back to the next generations and make sure they follow in our footsteps.
I imagine that every kid who plays baseball, says that they one day want to play in the MLB, and I think that everyones idea of the “general route” of how to do that is that you have to play very competitive baseball growing up, go to college, get drafted and now you are a step away from being in The Show. Sounds pretty easy doesn’t it? Id agree that, yeah, if you are a 1st round draft pick, and just got offered millions of dollars in signing bonus money, then that probably is your path, because as an organization, they made a huge investment in you being the next face of the franchise so you are going to have every opportunity to make sure you succeed in the MLB. I truly hope that any high school kid, college player, or even parent of a younger baseball player sets their sights and goals on being a 1st round draft pick, but unfortunately the harsh reality is that a majority of us aren’t going to get that opportunity and so I want to speak to the guys who have to take the alternate route, whether that is being a late draft pick or grinding it out to sign as a free agent.
The first thing is realizing that this is a game of a failure, and that the failure of baseball is more than just on the field. You’re gonna fail off the field too, have bad BP / bullpen sessions, you’re gonna get redshirted, benched, search all over the country for a university to play at, reach out to scouts and independent teams looking for a job to continue playing. All of these are branches of failing in baseball, but the key to surviving is to truly welcome that failure, understand that it is part of the journey, to be mentally at peace with it and to keep pushing forward with a “tiger mentality” as one of mentors likes to call it. Not only will that allow you to be more successful on the field, because you will be able to handle a 3 K game or a 4 ER inning, but its ultimately going to carry over in life. This blog is not going to be able to be long enough to truly be able to tell my journey, but I believe I am here because of the failure I’ve gone through and being strong enough to stand up against it. From being told I wasn’t good enough in high school, never being the best player on my team, getting red shirted my Freshman year, sending 100’s of emails to universities and coaches all over the country (and being told to stop emailing them because I had sent so many) just so I could continue to play. This game is bigger than each and everyone one of us, no one has mastered this game, that’s why no one has a career .1000 average or a career .000 ERA, and if you can’t learn to be mentally tough, take a shot on the chin and embrace that failure, it doesn’t matter who you are, this game will bring you to your knees, eat you up and spit you back out behind someone else taking your place. Your persistence is what will help take you a long ways, never taking no for an answer and always looking for an alternate route to get to the end destination.
That leads me into my 2nd topic, which as cliche as it sounds, it really is the truth, but you can not take a day off in this game or else that 1 day will put you behind. There are a very limited amount of jobs in this game to begin with, from the MLB down through the minor league system, and in this new generation not only are you competing against guys all over the world, but you are competing against time itself, because the older you get, the smaller that door to the MLB becomes. You have to put in the work every single day and find a way to get better or else you will get passed up, whether that is taking ground balls, going to the cage, or getting in the weight room, the work must be done. Don’t be the guy who goes and does any of these things just to have the validation of saying you “put in the work”, when you are working, do it with a purpose, truly focus on a weakness and get better at it. This game is all about the little things, and that still holds true on the outside when it comes to your preparation. What does your cage work look like? What does your bullpen look like? How about your strength work in the gym? Or better yet, how are you taking care of your body? What is your diet surrounded with and how easy can your body move. These are all things you should be asking yourself. When you get into the daily grind of playing a college season, playing 55 games along with practices, class and travel, or get into a Professional season and play 100 straight games. You have to be ready to go every night and perform at the highest level, because you’re job is literally on the line every night, if you can’t do that, if you aren’t healthy or can’t find success, not only will you be the guy on the bench but eventually you’ll be the guy with the bus ticket back to your hometown. I truly mean it, you have to put in the work everyday and make sure you are prepared, you can’t wait for the season to get here and just think you are going to turn on a switch and be ready to go. I can truly look in the mirror and say that my whole life, because I knew I wanted to play Professional Baseball, I treated myself like a Professional Baseball player and thats what you have to do too. I have never missed a workout, an opportunity to hit, or get on the field, besides taking a “rest day” once a week and that still counts as work because your body does need that to be able to grow, but holidays, birthdays, vacations, non of those exist in my world, those are all just regular days to me, Ive still always found a way to get the work in, and when it comes time to play the game, I feel prepared because of it. If you want to be successful in this game, this is one of the habits you need to adopt, and never stop learning. Be a sponge and absorb as much information as you can, actually watch baseball on TV and learn from what the best in the world are doing. I promise that if you are able to do all these things and just truly apply yourself, you will be able to take your career as far as you desire for it to grow. The time to start is now though, don’t let anymore time pass by.
My last point is just having the love of the game. The game is not all as glamorous as it seems behind closed doors. Yes, life in The Show is nice. Getting paid millions of dollars, playing in massive stadiums in front of thousands of people on perfectly manicured fields, being catered to every need you have, staying in 5 star hotels and traveling 1st class. Yes that life is nice, to get to play a game for a living (once again, PREPARATION is key, there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes to prepare for the game, especially at the MLB level when you have everything at your fingertips, these guys are getting to the ballpark 5-6 hours before the game just to study film and tendencies, take extra swings in the cage, and get in the trainers room). To get to that point where you are in The Show though, you have to be able to endure the grind of long bus trips, staying in hotels, maybe even sleeping double with another dude in your bed, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as the post and pregame spread, the mental strain it puts on you of embracing the failure and moving forward, the sacrifices you have to make, being away from family and friends for months at a time, missing holidays or trips to the lake or nights out at the bar to go celebrate a birthday. This game becomes your life, and you have to be 100% on board with that, because we are all playing for just 1 day in The Show.
I want to end this blog with this message. I don’t care where you are in your career, whether you got cut from your high school / college team, you’re the 25th man on the bench, or you’re the superstar waiting to get drafted. First, always remain humble and looking to get better, if you can’t treat this game with respect and think you are bigger than the game, then once again, this game will chew you up and spit you out. But if you’re in any other situation where maybe its not working in your favor, don’t stress, I promise it will be okay. If you show up everyday, work hard, develop your skills and have fun, I promise your career will go far. Just be prepared to make the most of the opportunities when you get them. I can speak to the truth of this because I have lived it from my own experience, and if I can do it, then I know anyone else can do it too no matter the situation you are. You just have to keep moving forward.
I hope you guys enjoyed this blog, I truly hope it is able to help someone reading this. If you ever want to reach out to me, you can connect with me on Instagram : @carsonlee5 and I would have no problem helping out anyone searching for advice. While you are here, go get yourself some Arm Care Bands from BB Bands, because like I said, if you aren’t prepared and working everyday, then you’re falling behind, and the health of your arm is crucial to staying on the field. Use the code LEE5 to get yourself a discount.
Once again, I truly thank you for taking the time to read this blog.
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