Nobody Important

In Blog, Hustle Podcast by Eric Byrnes

Ever since I began playing professional baseball, I have had people I never met go out of their way to say hello… I’ve always believed the coolest part about being somewhat of a public figure is the incredible people I have been able to meet along the way… With the exception of a few shit-talking D-BAGS, just about every one of my encounters has been an AWESOME experience that makes me very thankful for my Z List celebrity status… 

Many times when I am approached in a public place, other people around will take notice, and at some point, they will jump into the conversation with a question that brings a smile to my face every single time…

“Who are you?”

For a long time, my answer was pretty much the same:

“I am a professional baseball player” or “I used to play professional baseball.”

Then, a few years ago when I was writing The F*IT List, I came across a section of the book where I reflected on the fact when I finally came to the realization that for years I let baseball define me as a person… My perceived self worth was dependent on whether or not I went 4-4 or 0-4… That’s a tough way to live… TRUST ME. 🤦‍♂️

In 2005, I got traded from the A’s to the Rockies, then 2 weeks later got traded from the Rockies to the Orioles…  2 months later, I was released by the Orioles and it’s pretty safe to say my baseball career hit rock bottom at that point…

That off season, I sat down with legendary mental strength coach Karl Kuehl, and he asked me to write down all of the things within my control and all of the things outside of my control… He followed that up with a line that has stuck with me ever since that day at the Carrol’s on Scottsdale road:

“Baseball doesn’t define you… YOU DEFINE YOU.” 

You are damn f*cking right Karl.

As much as I loved the game, I needed to LET GO… The roller coaster career ride that I was on was about to crash and I needed to find a way to hop off.

From that moment on, I put my sole focus into controlling only the things I could control and refused to let outcomes dictate the definition of myself as a player or person…

Ironically, I signed with the Diamondbacks and that next season hit 26 homers and stole 25 bags… 

The following season, I hit 21 homers, ripped 50 bases and won a Fielding Bible award on a team that made it all the way to the NLCS… 

Baseball is what I did, broadcasting and endurance sports is what I do… So this brings us back to the obvious question that remains unanswered… 

Question: “Who the f*ck am I?” 

Answer: “I am a speck living on a floating rock in the universe doing my best to educate myself, experience life and share accumulated wisdom all without taking my feelings too personal.” 

I know, it sounds like a bunch of mumble jumble philosophical bullshit, so here is the more comprehensible, abbreviated answer I give everyone else…

“Nobody important.” 

-EB