For the LOVE of the Game ⚾️

In Blog, Hustle Podcast by Eric Byrnes

In 2008, I twinged my hamstring in spring training but continued to try to play through it…

I had just signed a new contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and as one of the leaders of the team, I felt that I needed to be on the field, regardless if I was dealing with a minor injury.

Fast forward two months and I eventually ripped my hamstring off the bone. 🍖

It took an entire year to recover, and when I finally returned to full strength, I got smoked with a Scott Feldman 2-seam fastball that completely shattered my hand…

After the insertion of a plate and 8 screws, my hand was pieced together and the arduous journey to get back on the field began.

Because it had been nearly 2 years since I last played healthy baseball, the General Manager and I both agreed that the best thing for me would be to get consistent playing time in AAA. The maximum allotted time for a rehab assignment was 20 days and we planned on using all 20.

Because of the injuries and my lack of success on the field, baseball over the previous two seasons was no longer fun for me. For the first time in my life, I looked at it as a job, and to be totally honest, I didn’t enjoy going to work. It had been several years since I last played in the minor leagues and there is no doubt I had become jaded by the luxurious big league lifestyle…

In case you are wondering, the speech by Kevin Costner in Bull Durham sums “the show” up very well… The ballparks are like cathedrals, you do hit white pearls for batting practice, you never touch your luggage, and of course, the women all have long legs and brains…

When I was finally medically cleared to play, the private charter I got used to flying was replaced with a one way Southwest Airlines middle seat from Phoenix to Reno..

When I arrived in Reno, I didn’t really know what to expect…

The team was comprised of an eclectic mix of young prospects coming up and older veterans hanging on. Regardless of their individual situation, what I found was a bunch of HUNGRY dudes that LOVED playing baseball and had one goal in mind:

Get their ass to the Big Leagues.

Over the next couple weeks, I fed off of the energy of my teammates and never in my life did I have more fun playing baseball. The sport became pure again and I realized none of the material bullshit associated with the big leagues mattered to me…

Ultimately, I rediscovered the same love & passion I had for the game when I was 9 years old.

Often times in life, we lose sight of WHY we do what we do. We become manipulated and influenced by external factors associated with our craft and completely lose touch with what really matters. Next time you find yourself going down this rabbit hole, slap yourself in the face, wake the f*ck up and go spend a few weeks in the minor leagues…

Guessing there is a pretty good chance you are able to find that LOVE. ❤️

-EB