Welcome to another edition of the Schlact Stories. Many people have been asking me about free agency. What’s it like? How do you handle it? Are you scared? Those are all valid questions. Yes, free agency is scary. You are correct, I have no idea what next season will bring. Sometimes yes, I get nervous about the future. There is however, certainty within the uncertainty.
As a professional baseball player, I have become conditioned to the routine that comes with the job. For instance, I know that I should start throwing the baseball right around my birthday (December 9th). I also know that I’ll be way behind on my conditioning if I haven’t started running by new years. Regardless of the team or the situation, these things remain the same. Spring Training comes every spring. The season lasts until right around Labor Day. The more routine I can keep in my schedule the better. There is no point in focusing on what may or may not happen. As my wife so boldly and lovingly pointed out, “If you love the game, you’ll play it. Somewhere. Take the opportunity that’s given to you.”
There are few things that are certain about the life of a baseball player. Especially one who is grinding his way through the minor leagues or independent ball. Where will I play this season? Where will my wife and I live? Will we make enough money to live? What about our place back home? How much “stuff” should we bring with us for the season? What if I get signed or moved mid-season? How will that affect my wife? What if I get released? I could go on and on. These questions are a tiny snapshot of the uncertainty surrounding the game I love. The certainty, as I pointed out earlier, can be found within the uncertainty. I will begin throwing on my birthday. I’ll start running on new year’s day. I’ll hop on the mound for bullpens February 1. In March, I’ll head to spring training. July 4th, I’ll be playing baseball and there will be a fireworks show after the game.
Focusing on the certainty helps me cope with the uncertainty. As a creature of habit and routine, it’s really all I can do. I love baseball. This game has given me opportunities that I wouldn’t have doing anything else. I’m blessed and thankful for all of them. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, and the scenery that I’ve soaked up through charter bus windows is all part of the wonderful journey I’m on. I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I do know, however, that you can probably find me at the gym or on a baseball field preparing for it!