Right now, a lot is changing for you. That driving, all-consuming force that propelled you is gone. The sun is gone. The seasons don’t change. You have no sense of direction.
Where are you?
What are you?
Your first instinct will be a fear reaction. Flight. Run to safety. Run back to what you know: baseball.
Already started looking up semi-pro leagues? Out of country leagues? Retirement leagues?
Yeah, you could do it. Some of it. Maybe. If you’re still throwing hard. If you’ve got enough pop left in your old war club. If you’re a seasoned catcher, and, by seasoned I mean you’re a good game caller who can still contribute and not a wizened old wreck looking to sit the bench, catch a few bullpens and talk shop for a paycheck.
They’re not looking for Crash Davis.
If you can’t help you’ll be a waste of money. Their money. Of which they have a limited supply, not the endless sea of money like the MLB.
And those leagues play to win now. It’s like right now. Not after you’ve developed, or when you heat up. Now.
Produce or die.
Sadly, any league that would have offered you real money to play would have done so before this ended.
That leaves you with retirement leagues. Paid vacation, leagues. See-the-world, leagues.
Not all of those leagues will be run at a level you’re used to.
Let’s put it this way, I went to Italy for 1 week and played with a guy who said he lost his virginity to a cow.
Limited Time Offer
Why, exactly, do you want to run back to baseball’s embrace?
It used to be you played to get to the Bigs. You had a big, hairy, audacious goal driving you on, so big that, after years invested in it, it pulled you forward by its own gravity.
But that dream is over, and you’re free.
Why go back?
I know why.
Baseball is a system, one that you matter inside of. And now that system is gone and all the credit you’ve accumulated, all the years you’ve invested in it, are valueless.
If you don’t get back in, what will you do with it all? Freedom is great, but absolute freedom is scary as fuck.
So you decide that you need to become a coach.
Minor League Coaching
But let’s do the math on that.
There are 25 minor leaguers on every minor league club. There are 3 coaches per team. In total, there are about 21 full-service minor league coaches per organization. A few more, counting rovers. A few more still with extended spring training instructors.
Of those coaches, how many of them get big league jobs?
Not very many.
And this coaching pool includes old major league coaches and players, too, not just coffee cup callups like you.
The odds are slim that you’ll make a career out of coaching in the minors—if you can even start one. A career wherein you’re still trying to make it to the big leagues, but by influencing 25 proxies instead of your own talent.
Always wanted to do this. Can’t tell you how many pitching positions I’ve applied to…
But these positions are rare, and, let me tell ya, you have to give to get.
Years of minimal, seasonal pay— if you’re paid at all. Years of scouting and traveling and wooing players to pick your school over some other, bigger, better program.
Years of setting up and tearing down BP.
Years of keeping notes, running reports, and video work.
And maybe, just maybe, years of winning.
Because if you’re not winning, you won’t be a coach, at least not one that matters. And if you don’t get your masters while your winning, you certainly won’t be a head coach— which is where the real money is.
Did you even finish your undergrad yet?
High School Coaching
If you aren’t going to teach there, then you shouldn’t waste your time coaching there. Schools rarely hire coaches just to coach. At least not for a wage that matters.
Finish your degree, get your teacher’s licensure, then we can revisit this coaching thing as a reimbursable hobby— if you’re even interested when you’re done.
Do you want to caravan around the country, looking at talent and putting down the same notes as everyone else? Do you want to visit backwater high school leagues sniffing out players like a pig sniffs for truffles?
You will be a nomad.
You will do this for the love of the game, and be compensated accordingly.
Let it Go
I’m not saying you can’t do these things. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do these things.
I’m saying, there is a cost involved. And do you really want to be back in this situation again when you’re in your mid 30’s, no degree, and no real world experience?
Lots of guys pop out of the pros each year and think they’ll sidle on into a coaching or a scouting position. They think that there isn’t a long line of other people trying to snag the same job.
They think they’ve already paid their dues for these jobs because they played.
You tell me you love the game, but do you love it enough to let it go?
The thing about all of these coaching positions is, there is not one of them you can’t do better if you’re a more complete, more educated, more experienced, more balanced individual.
But you’re not going to become that person unless you can let go of baseball.
Hell, you owe it to yourself to step outside of that world, even for a little while, just to see what else you’re made off.
I don’t want to confuse you: this isn’t about doing a baseball job better. This is about doing life better.
I’m talking about feeling better. Feeling confident about your future. Feeling confident about you. Feeling like you can do more—so much more.
It’s about self-discovery.
It’s about self-defense.
Years back, in Padres minor league spring training. An older coach, so old he looked like he was completely made from the baggy, cracked skin of your grandmother’s elbow, was talking to the entire minor league pitching staff.
He was trying to coach on mental toughness by writing out all the reasons why pitchers fail before they take the mound on a whiteboard 25ft wide in our lunch room.
Every player had to say a reason. No reason was supposed to be wrong, as evidenced by all the stupid shit that was on the board, like “got caught cheating on your girlfriend,” or, “haven’t sobered up yet.”
I was in the back. One of the last to give a reason. “Overconfidence,” I said.
That old fucker stared me down like I just told the room I lost my virginity to a cow.
“How the hell can you be overconfident? This game is about confidence, son.” Sniggering washed over the crowd of peers.
“I mean, that’s pretty stupid.” He finished.
Mine was the only comment that did not make the board.
Today I can tell you several examples wherein overconfidence can fuck you before you reach the mound. Or an interview. Or a presentation. Or your next career move.
You think your curveball is better than it is, and it gets crushed. You think you know the client better than you do, and you get crushed. You think you can survive on instinct alone… crushed.
You think you don’t need to train or study or prepare.
You’d rather look strong and sure than look weak or anxious by over-preparing.
You think you know what you don’t know.
You think all you’ve done translated into what you will do.
You think there aren’t people out there relying on your overconfidence, waiting to crush you.
In It for the Thrill
I’ve got good and bad news.
Good news: You know more than baseball.
Bad news: You also know what it’s like to chase thrills and long-shot odds, gamble on dreams.
You know it too damn well, honestly.
Hell, you don’t feel like you’re alive unless you’re doing exactly that.
This makes you a sucker. Temptable. Allergic to facts that don’t fit your world view.
Think about your situation, here, now. You just completed a long odds success story, so, of course, you thinking about hopping into another one. It’s not running back to baseball but it is running back to what you know.
And, friend, there are people out there who know this about you.
They love this about you.
They will come for you.
Financial experts with unique investment opportunities.
Friends and family with business ideas and unique investment opportunities.
Pyramid schemes. Partnership schemes. Kick-back schemes. Unique. Investment. Opportunities.
You’ll be a big leaguer in the X-Y-Z business. Better than a big leaguer.
They’ll turn words, your baseball gospel, into a weapon. “You’ve beaten long odds and are an achiever, this will be easy for you! We just need an investment to get started and—”
You’ll lose everything.
Money. Friends. Family. Future.
You’ll find yourself in a legal battle. Maybe divorced. Maybe destitute. Maybe dead.
You don’t want this. Please, don’t do this.
Cast a Wide Net
If you make an investment, make it in yourself.
Finish your degree. If you’ve not started, start.
Volunteer at a company. Volunteer at a non-profit. Volunteer.
Offer to take way less money so you can learn. About them. About their business. About the skill. About you. About your business. About your skills. If it works out, stay. If not, ask them for a recommendation.
Then do it again.
Send out kind emails. Send out inquisitive emails. Respond to the kind and inquisitive emails.
Leave reviews on Linkedin. Ask for reviews on LinkedIn.
Remember things about other people and make them feel special. Follow up to make sure they know how special you think they are.
Workout. Journal. Study. Stay active. Network.
Increase your knowledge of self.
And in those moments when you feel afraid, when you doubt, when you have no sense of direction. Know that we all end up here from time to time—baseball player or not.
Keep casting your net wide. Keep throwing out every hook.
Something will bite.
And when it does, make sure you have a firm grip on the line.