As I said in Part 1 I have a wife. I am not the only player to have a wife in baseball, and I am not the only one that has to find a way to balance home life with my wife and life at the stadium. She understands the fact that I love this game more than anything and she is willing to do anything to help me advance in my career. She also understands that we have to think about our future and we both need to be realistic in how long my Minor League baseball career can last.
As Minor Leaguers, we will do anything to make it to the Big Leagues dragging anyone that is willing down a long, dark and windy road. With the birth of our boy came a lot of new questions. Obviously he didn’t come with an instruction pamphlet. But there isn’t a pamphlet on how to play baseball and be a good father either. Where do I go? Who can I talk to that has this same situation? How can I be there for my son without neglecting my commitment to baseball, and how do I stay focused on baseball without neglecting my son and depriving him of his father? How much longer can I stay in Minor League Baseball and not miss out on my son’s life? How do I afford a child!? Priority number one has just changed.
Before my son was born, I was just like you. Eat, sleep and breathe baseball so much that my wife would start to dream about baseball. I’m kidding of course, but you understand where I’m trying to go with this. I was and still am, and old time player. I want that championship ring. I could care less about my body and if I get injured running, diving, throwing or whatever I don’t care and I am going to keep my mouth shut.
I play every position and I want to be the best defender at every position and I am willing to put the time in to do it. Most people see our off season as time to relax and go on vacation, but not me. I am at the field 4 times a week, the other 3 days I am at work because we all know that our in-season pay barely gets us through the season, let alone pay for our off-season expenses. My wife and I have a mortgage that needs to be paid, two mouths to feed, bills that need to be taken care of. Baseball won’t pay for that as long as I am in the Minor Leagues! Everything I do is for the advancement of my career and for my ultimate goal.
And just like that, as fast as a 3 run lead diminishing from two bloops and a blast, my life has changed. My little boy is my life. My wife and I sacrifice our spare time together, our date nights, our extra cash we were able to put away for a small vacation for ourselves. The only thing that matters to us is that our son is happy, healthy and of course loves baseball the way that we do!
But what type of player have I become after this life altering moment? As much as I want to be the same player I was before, things have changed. I come to the ballpark everyday with the same goal in mind; get to the Big Leagues at all costs! Now there is a little boy in the back of my mind that has my heart now. I still work hard, even harder than before because I have this opportunity, not only make it to the Big Leagues, but to support my family by playing this game. Am I a little more greedy when it comes to numbers and things of that nature? ABSOLUTELY! I am a huge team first guy still, however, I am also trying to make a life for my family of three and in order to do the things I want to do, I need to achieve my goals and progress through the Minors.
My dream to become a Major Leaguer remains the same but it has been altered in some ways. My new dream is to one day have my son run out to the line during our roster announcements. I once saw Jorge Posada do that at an All- Star game and when I saw my son, I immediately wanted to have that moment in my life. It is because of that moment that I am striving for my goal even more so now than before. It is, however, a different path now than before. Now I eat when he sleeps, sleep (ha yeah right!) and breathe (always breathing) baseball. My son has created a speed bump so to speak and not a end of the world speed bump, but a pump the brakes and figure out how I am going to do be a father first a foremost during the day, and a ball player by night.
Until Part 3…