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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

5/5/24 : Just Sayin 🧐

Major League Baseball playing seasons cover ten months of the calendar year with spring training games being played in late February and potential World Series games possibly played in early November.  In reality players often show up voluntarily at the training complexes in January to begin their on-site workouts and some even in December.  That’s not to discount the work that they do on their own with personal trainers during the “off-season”.  Long gone are the days of using spring training to get in physical shape - for many, many years now it’s vital importance is to get teams and players in “baseball shape”.

Getting in “Baseball Shape” is how teams train in spring camp, e.g. game situational use, appearances, drill reps, etc. - basically the games are used to face opponents again but I’ve learned long ago that it’s the planning, practices and team bonding which carry significant weight.  Early morning drills, isolated cage work, side bullpens, weight room work, etc. that most often aren’t seen by the public is where the coming season tone is set.  This spring that effort was hindered a lot for the Phillies by physical illness that cost time for many yet the focus on the goal at hand remained clear.  That’s been proven by the big club’s current win-loss record.  Just sayin - practice isn’t always perfect but to approach perfection practice has to happen - even if it’s not always seen - it’s all part of it.

In any sport injuries occur, in baseball with such a long season injuries to key players can be absorbed in the short term if someone steps up to fill the gap until the injured player returns. The AAA level of minor league baseball has always served as a major league reserve pool, it’s never really been a “development” step in the equation.  With the loss of Trea Turner for what seems like a minimum of six weeks the importance of both bench reserves (with the DH rule the bench is less of the pinch hitting specialist type and more of the defensive versatility role) that can hold their own in extended play and the AAA reserve pool come to the forefront.  From my perspective stats aren’t always indicative of whether players in these reserve pools are capable of performing the fill in role simply because major league bench players aren’t normally afforded many opportunities otherwise as reserves to put up numbers and the AAA players are also usually filling multiple roles in order to “stay ready”.  I again harken on the theme that it comes back to the daily regimen knowledge that is held by the teams themselves - just sayin - would never say “can’t do” cause no one knows they can until the opportunity arises.

Lastly I wanted to acknowledge an email I got this week from a gentleman who actually owns an independent professional baseball club alongside the efforts of pro baseball this month in regard to mental health awareness. I often ponder (and sometimes briefly enact) discontinuing my passion of covering and writing about the Phillies player development effort in the detail that I provide.  It’s an effort that many times leaves me feeling unappreciated (especially when I apply for paying positions and get no consideration) and non valued.  It’s not in my DNA to do things without full effort and focus, as those who read me know I provide a lot of “stuff”.

I value the interaction with the players and Phillies personnel I get to meet and chat with even to a point of doing follow up research and articles when some of those players move on to other organizations.  To me the “Phillies Way” is a baseball bond that even when a player leaves the organization there’s still a connection.  Long story short is this gentleman sent me a note to inform me that there was an additional player I could add to my article from yesterday which listed former Phillies now playing in independent pro baseball as his team had just signed the fella.  That was cool but in his note he also said “Thanks for this amazingly comprehensive and extensive list!  Thanks for all your great “stuff” Steve - I look forward to reading it everyday!”  I don’t get a lot of feedback on what I do but notes like that pick up the spirits. That was good stuff 🤓.

On yesterday’s Phillies broadcast they had a young man on who works for the Giants who spoke about how he had previously attempted to take his own life and was given a second chance when he was unable to do so.  He spoke about how important it is to share feelings with others and not be left feeling unvalued or unappreciated.  It must be a very dark place in a person’s mindset to get to that point of depression.  Sadly I’ve known folks who’ve ended their life in such manner.  To me his words resonated and I’m appreciative that baseball is dedicating efforts to such awareness.  Just sayin - a few kind words or the willingness to truly listen and value someone else should never be taken for granted.  No one ever really knows what someone else may be thinking but sharing kindness and kindred spirit may be the ticket for them to stay engaged and aboard the train of life.  That’s really good stuff!

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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