What I’m Thankful For in 2011

Posted: January 11, 2012 by showmestrength in General, Mental Game, Nutrition, Training
Tags: , , ,

Happy 2012 from Show-Me Strength!

The New Year always brings new years resolutions and goals- that time of the year where many attempt to change their habits but more often than not, revert back to their own previous ways. The first step to seeing a resolution or goal through is to put it in writing and get it out there to friends and family who can help guide you and hold you accountable if need be. Here are a couple great New Years articles to inspire you and your business for 2012:

My Resolutions for 2012- Tony Gentilcore
10+ Ways to Rock 2012s Face Off- Rog Law
100 Ways to Create WOW- Todd Durkin

Instead of doing more of the same (although I do have goals written down) I’d like to do more of a reflection of 2011 and what I’m thankful for in my baseball career.

2011 was a tremendously exciting year for me as I made the transition from a released catcher/first baseman into a pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization. My winding journey to where I am now has been chronicled here, herehere, and here but this transition could not have happened without the help and support from some great minds and friends along the way, especially those at Cressey Performance- Eric Cressey, Pete Dupuis, Tony Gentilcore, Brian St. Pierre, Matt Blake and Chris Howard along with the 20+ intern coaches who have worked with me since I started training there in January 2009. There is little chance at my age, 25, I would ever have been given this second chance as a pitcher, had I not been lucky enough to cross paths with the Cressey team.

Pete Dupuis, Brian St. Pierre, Eric Cressey, Tony Gentilcore

Back in 2009 when I started training at Cressey Performance before my first spring training with the Atlanta Braves, I could tell by the suggestions and improvements in performance of former Harvard teammates Shawn Haviland (A’s) and Steffan Wilson (Brewers) and Braves teammate Chad Rodgers that this was a special place.

Although I had started serious  (though often misguided) weight training in high school, my strength finally started to develop in college as I filled out my lanky 195 pound frame (see 50 pounds ago below) .

In 2004, High School Senior @ Perfect Game Showcase

After college, at age 22, I was sitting around 220 pounds, but after my first season in the Florida heat and humidity without the proper nutritional and strength guidance I was back to 210 pounds and knew I needed to find a way to get my strength and flexibilty up to a place where I could maintain it throughout the grueling professional season. Enter the world of Cressey.

Gulf Coast League (Rookie) Braves, 2008

Right away I made some solid strength and flexibility gains while correcting muscle imbalances in that first 2 months of training before spring training in 2009 and went into that camp in the best shape of my life yet, only wishing I had started sooner that offseason. In fact, from a power standpoint that helped me turn the page. I went from a high average guy who hit only 3 home runs my whole senior season at Harvard to starting to make a name for myself as a power hitter in the Braves organization, cracking 7 home runs in only 76 official at bats from late June-August (including 2 in one inning and 2 during a week long late season promotion to A-ball). Not only that, but I was able to finally keep on my weight and strength for a whole season with the nutritional guidance of Brian St. Pierre and my new favorite sidekick, the magic bullet blender.

Playing for the Rome Braves (Low-A, Atlanta Braves)

Excited to see what a full offseason at Cressey’s would do for me, I eagerly made my way back up to Boston in September of 2009 for the entire offseason of training. Cressey performance was really feeling more like a team to me, making new friends from almost every other organization up here to train as well as other Cressey college, high school and adult clients and of course the gym mascot, Tank.  Honestly, in a sport where people are always moving from team to team and organization to organization, the continuity of people at  Cressey Performance each offseason is a breath of fresh air and many of my best friends- players, coaches, and clients alike- I’ve made at the gym.

Heading into Spring training in 2010, yet again I was in my best shape ever, having put on 20 pounds while getting more lean. At 240, I felt healthier and stronger than I ever had and the results were showing during spring training when I was hitting some no doubters at a solid clip with 3 in my 30 spring training at bats. However, it wouldn’t be enough to break with a team and after a slow start once I was called up in late April for 2 weeks, my Braves career came to an end in June 2010.

Not ready to call it quits and knowing I was still in the best shape of my life, I was determined to catch on with an independent team to earn my way back into affiliated ball. I finished the summer of 2010 playing for the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association where I put up some great numbers in July and August, hitting .346 with 3 home runs and 5 doubles in 52 at bats and an OPS of 1.008. With that, I was invited to and able to set up some tryouts with major league organizations in September.

This is where things took an interesting turn. At a workout with the Red Sox, they noticed my strong arm and asked if I’d ever considered pitching. Although coaches had always thought to utilize me as a pitcher, none ever followed through. Interestingly, after a pre-draft workout with the Cardinals my senior year in 2008, they had called me after to say they wanted to come watch me throw off of the mound the very next day where I topped out at 91mph. They were intrigued, but a week before the draft and too late in the process, nothing came of it.

Red Sox, Spring Training 2011 (with Tony Gentilcore's magic glove)

Now, however, 3 years later little did I know that my improved training and nutrition would take me to the next level- and now after spending time working with Cressey pitching coach Matt Blake, and thanks to the generous donation of a pitchers glove by Tony Gentilcore, I was now up consistently in the mid 90s- good enough for the Red Sox to take a chance on a 24 year old Cressey Performance intern. All that I have to thank for this is a lot of hard work under the guidance of the Cressey team. I don’t think I have physically matured any since 2009, but with better training and nutritional guidance I was able to maximize my potential to get a second chance as a pitcher- and after another great offseason, I’m primed and ready to take this journey further into 2012!

  1. hydrosquall says:

    What a great story, and the best part is that it’s not fantasy. Congrats on making it back to the big leagues, look forward to reading about you in the paper….

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