Failure is as much as part of the game of baseball as getting a base hit with runners in scoring position or turning a double play late in the game.
Minor league baseball players have to be willing to accept that as they strive to one day play at the Major League level.
“Failure can get to you at the minor league level,” said Jeff Graupe, the director of player development for the Cincinnati Reds. “You have to learn how to adjust to what other guys are trying to do against you. You come out of it better in the end and find out a lot about the mental makeup of a player.”
Maintaining confidence in spite of the failures is the key to success. No one knows that better than Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, now a roving hitting instructor with the Reds. He was in town as well to work with the players on the roster of the Reds’ Double-A affiliate.
“I try to empower them with information about (the intricacies of the game) and make them just feel comfortable and confident,” Larkin said. “I want to empower them in a way so they really understand the movements that are going to be necessary to be successful. It’s a confidence thing. Everybody knows how to play the game, everybody knows how to hit.”
Several players have been playing with confidence for the Blue Wahoos and have made quite an impression through the first month and a half of the season.
Read more in the May 19 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.