The following is a guest post written by White Sox left-handed pitching prospect Andrew Perez:
When the term “professional baseball player” comes up in conversation, I often get asked about the exciting games, big crowds, and how “cool” it would be to someday get the chance to play in “The Show.” However, no one has ever shown interest in learning what it takes to actually make it there.
During just my one short year of playing professional baseball, I’ve learned so much more about not only the craft of the sport, but about myself as a player, than I ever have during my entire duration of playing. I’ve learned that the hours in the gym, on the field, and rehab will become my new normal and that leaving my loved ones, my support system behind is a necessary sacrifice that I have to embrace and accept in order to pursue my dream. I’ve learned that it’s a constant mental battle of allowing myself to fail but not giving myself the option to give up. Most importantly, I’ve learned there is no such thing as a comfort zone.
A key strategy that I have learned to cope with is that it’s extremely easy to feel alone during this journey. Traveling from hotel room to hotel room, new faces and new fields, I never really know where I’ll end up the next day. With the goal in mind and understanding that I was given such an incredible opportunity and I refuse to waste it is what continues to push me to understand that this is all going to be worth it. The origin of traveling has become second nature. From flying from Orlando, Florida to Arizona mini-camp two days after the draft, to flying to Great Falls Montana for Rookie Ball, and then finishing up the season in Kannapolis, North Carolina for A-Ball has been such an eye-opening experience. Trusting the process through the ups and downs as well as believing in myself while others continue to doubt me and constantly being reminded that the odds are against me, have been my strongest motivators throughout this entire excursion.
In my opinion, there has always been a misconception as to what it’s like behind the scenes as a minor leaguer and what it takes to pursue this dream. People ignore the fact of late-night games which turn into early morning trainings, as well as the time spent trying to keep in contact with those that support and miss me. The dream will become a reality with sacrifice and taking advantage of what has been presented to me. I have learned to adopt the mindset that every day can present its challenges, but every challenge is accepted.
I am constantly reminding myself that “it is not about the destination, but about the journey.” Being able to understand this has provided an imperative outlook that the process is much more important than that of the end result. The sacrifice of waking up before the sun rises to train, taking the time to recover, and even strengthening the mind, are all vital factors in what it takes to see results that push me in the right direction.
Throughout my journey, having the pleasure to develop and mature at the collegiate level at the University of South Florida has helped me create a lifestyle and work ethic on and off the field that I am proud of. Having the opportunity to continue that journey given to me by the Chicago White Sox proved that understanding what it takes to be successful and trusting the process will lead to tangible outcomes. Success is what we learn from our failures, you do not create success overnight. It is instilled in my blood to strive be the best that I can be in everything that I set my mind to.
Many events that I’ve experienced and individuals who I’ve met throughout my life have helped shape me into who I am today. I take the moments of positivity and negativity to heart and use them to help mold myself to be the best version of myself as a representative of the Chicago White Sox. The goal is to bring championships for many years with the foundation that is put in place on a daily basis. By being able to know what it takes, it may happen much sooner than you think!
To Sox On 35th, I appreciate the opportunity to provide a perspective from inside the organization. Much love!
Be sure to follow Andrew Perez on Twitter @EL_PlatanoPerez
Impressed with your dedication. Good luck!