It is inevitable that we will all go through extremely challenging times in our life… These are the times that often have us questioning our own faith and direction of our lives.
In 2005 during the all-star break, I was at the Oakland Coliseum watching video preparing for the 2nd half of the season when Oakland A’s Assistant General Manager David Forest asked to speak to me, and I was summoned to manager Ken Macha’s office…
“We traded you to Colorado.”
Wow… That was it.
After 7 years giving my heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears to an organization, it was all of a sudden OVER… Just like that.
After two weeks in Colorado, I finally began to get comfortable with my new team when I was sitting in a Denver Mexican restaurant and got a call from a 303 number…
I didn’t answer but I didn’t have to because Dan O’Dowd, the Rockies General Manager, left a message that went just like this:
“Hey Eric, Dan O’Dowd… We just traded you to Baltimore. Call our traveling secretary to arrange a flight, the Orioles want you there tomorrow morning.”
When I arrived at Camden Yards, I immediately went to manager Lee Mazzilli’s office where he was sitting back in his godfather type chair with a stack of pancakes and a plate of bacon in front of him…
He promptly fired up the cigarette hanging from his mouth and then took a long rip from his throat rocket…
“I’ve been wanting to get you for a long time… You are my everyday left fielder so long as you follow my 3 rules for you:
- Show up on time
- Play your ass off
- Steal every fucking time you get on base.”
I proceeded to get a hit in my first 11 games and absolutely fell in love with the East Coast baseball culture…
Then Lee Mazzilli got fired, I went into a big slump and was eventually released after the season was over.
In the offseason, I signed a 1-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and went on to hit 26 homers and steal 25 bases in 2006, then hit 21 homers and stole 50 bases in 2007 while helping lead the Diamondbacks to an NL West title and then the National League Championship Series.
Looking back on that 6 month period of time in 2005 when I was traded twice, released and then signed as a roster filler, that was the most challenging time that I faced in my professional career, and I can’t tell you how fucking grateful I am for the experience.
What I was able to learn and then apply not only put me on a different level for the rest of my baseball career, but it helped establish a mindset that has propelled me forward in every arena of my life since.
The only way we will ever persevere through life’s difficulties is by understanding and separating what is within our control and what is not… Its then and only then, when we will be able to refocus on the task at hand and efficiently and effectively do our jobs all while never taking our feelings too personal.
Like our dude, Joel Osteen told me… You got to go through it in order to GET TO IT. 👊