Often, I envision the life cycle of the baseball year to reflect a twisted and cruel at times circle of life like depicted by “The Lion King”.
Your year starts with the off-season. I have heard many people say championships are won in the off-season, in the Atlantic League I don’t think that applies. Our champion was a team which 75% of the roster was never on the team’s radar last off-season. Still, credit is due, they won and hats off to the York Revolution. In the Atlantic League you are striving for a title in the off-season. But this championship has nothing to do with game play, strictly presentation and sponsorship sales. This is the equivalent to the barren wasteland overrun by hyenas that Mufasa introduces Simba too early on in his life. The off-season is such a key component to an organizations success for the year that it tends to be more stressful than the actual on field dramatics of the regular season. There is a constant back and forth that takes place with sponsorship renewals, acquiring new partners, and developing a stellar promotional schedule. There is little time for you to reflect on the season that just ended, and in most cases, that’s a good thing. There’s no grieving period for the season that has just ended, no chance for you to reflect on the what went wrong on the field. As independent baseball professionals, we often find ourselves invested fully both mentally and physically in our organization. Then it is all over, and we must pick up the pieces and immediately start over.
“The off-season is such a key component to any organization’s success.”
Although I am grateful for the opportunity to be in a line of work which allows me to have this kind of investment in my job, sometimes it is grueling. Independent baseball is indeed a cruel unforgiving circle of life. Your season is like that moment when the whole kingdom is cheering as Rafiki puts Simba up in the air when he is first born, sandwiched by two off-seasons which feel like when Mufasa dies and scar takes over the kingdom. It is cruel and it is daunting.
It is probably for the best because it keeps you level and humbled. You spend to long morning or gloating (whatever your situation may be) and all the sudden you have failed to hit the reset button in time and you are playing catch up. Each year you find yourself in this predicament, when is it time to let go of what was?
The answer is, immediately. Short term memory is a great trait in athletes such as quarterbacks and pitchers, but it also great in front office personnel in baseball. The quicker you can move on from what you’ve done, and focus on what needs to be done and what you can improve upon, the better off you will be. Thus, this is the twisted circle of life which we all willingly subject ourselves to.
Jason Sproesser is the Director of Sales for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Connect with him on Linkedin.