Take A Lead and Go For 3rd

By Jeremy Blanco

“What were you thinking? They threw you out by a mile! We lost because of you” – Former Coach.

I represented the run to bring us within 1 in our second to last inning in a race to make the playoffs. I had so much confidence in my speed that when the ball left the bat I knew I would round 2nd base and go for 3rd if the shortstop went for the batter at 1st. It worked throughout most of my childhood and I could run a 100 meter dash under 12 seconds – so why wouldn’t it work against a high school team, which happens to feature a future Division 1 SS, year in and year out? They would have to make a good throw from Short to 1st, plus another on target throw to 3rd, and make the tag. I knew I could get to 3rd under 4 seconds, but can they make two throws under 4? That was my logic. It seemed risky but also made sense. I grew up learning from the decisiveness of Kenny Lofton, Ken Griffey Jr., and Vladimir Guerrero. They were risk takers and although it didn’t always work out, when it did, it paid off.They went for their dreams.

 

Jeremy Snow

I had dirt on my pants, dirt on my face, and an ear ringing “Out!” We proceeded to kneel on the left field grass after the game to be debriefed by our Coaches. The blame was placed on our mistakes and lack of execution. Those few minutes were torture. Imagine a tobacco spitting coach staring down on you, in front of your peers, after a game which you already felt bad for losing, then highlighting your “risk taking” in contempt. The rest of the rant was a blur and my ears seemed to shrink. I wanted to turn around and let him know what I really felt about going for an extra base. Yet he continued. The creed being taught to me was that risk taking is left to others. Risk taking wasn’t for me, it wasn’t for my teammates, and it was why I would envy the other team across the way that was considered “scrappy,” year in and year out. Therein lies the problem however – what if only the very best like Juan Pierre, Joe Morgan, or Rickey Henderson stole bases? Well, I’m not sure I’d want to be apart of that world.

While Travelling however, there is a Golden Rule to success – take risks and accept the failure which is apart of your adventure. I have learned thanks to the failure of striking out, missing a routine fly ball, throwing the ball over the 1st baseman’s head, and of course from getting thrown out at 3rd base. In large part due to those failures, it has became possible to take on the challenging process of: learning a 2nd and 3rd language, learning how to swim in open water contest’s, participating in multiple marathons, and visiting mountain peak after mountain peak. Most importantly, just as we have to trust our teammates, both old and young, in travelling (and riding the pine) you begin to trust in people who may have been considered complete strangers. People who come from different backgrounds, whether it be in race, ethnicity, major, hobby, gender, or whatever you can think of. Those teammates, those strangers, become partners in your adventures.

Jeremy Snow with Friends

I’m not saying disregard strategy, or disregard your team’s interests. I am saying, know what you are able to accomplish, know that you won’t always accomplish it, and go for it anyway.  After all, isn’t this pastime a game that we are supposed to learn from? Instead of staring at the stats, enjoy the innate beauty of what the body and mind can accomplish – win or loss. Just take a look at the life work of Roberto Clemente in his pursuit to help people in need, beyond what he could do on the field. There is much more beyond the game of baseball, much more. Together we ought to pursue that knowledge. Baseball will give you amazing peripheral vision, it will help your body learn to balance, it will help you learn to become calm before, during, and after a challenge. It will help you share the spotlight, and of course it will help you learn to fail. Then you will bounce back from that perceived failure. So why limit that knowledge and thirst for adventure to the boundaries  of the chalk you did not put down?  Enjoy the game as what it is, a game, a pastime, but never forget to move forward and progress. Take a leap and go head first, just like you did when you were playing with your friends, for fun.  

Jeremy with Girlfriend

The following is a short film I made about living abroad in a rural countryside village and the benefits will show of what happens when you you are encouraged to take a lead, and go for 3rd. Even amidst the tough weather or the fear of the unknown and unfamiliar.

Jeremy Water

 

Juan Manuel Ley López, El Señor Beisbol

JML with grandkidsEscrito Por: Fernando Hernández Rubio

Hasta hoy no he conocido un hombre que vivía el beisbol con tanta pasión como Don Juan Manuel, primero lo conocí como dueño del equipo “Los Tomateros de Culiacan”, luego me entere que tambien que era empresario y tenía una cadena de tiendas de autoservicio que a la fecha alcanzan las 230 en noroeste de México donde genera empleos a casi 60 mil personas y  son llamadas “Casa Ley” y hasta mi padre Bernardo Hernández QEPD trabajo durante 26 años hasta pensionarse, al paso del tiempo en 1994 y yo con 21 años de edad donde ya tenía 6 años como entrenador de niños, lo salude por primera vez como espectador en la Liga de Beisbol Infantil Culiacan Recursos, me presente y ahí aproveche para comentarle  que mi padre trabajaba en su empresa y me hizo solo dos preguntas; Cual era mi edad?, Que estaba estudiando?, le respondí y me comento “Si se te ofrece algo, dime para ayudarte”, nunca he olvidado es frase. Actualmente sus nietos Juan Manuel (13 años) y Paulo  (11 años) juegan en esa misma liga.

La familia Ley al inicio de la temporada en 1999 de la Liga Mexicana de Beisbol aparecieron ya como dueños de los Saraperos de Saltillo donde tres temporadas más nombran como jefe de scoteo del club a Jorge Calvo jr., desde ahí me reencontré con el Sr. Ley para colaborar en el área de buscador de talento juvenil para Saraperos y Tomateros, la franquicia de Saltillo hace 3 años la traspasaron y a la fecha continuo recomendando jóvenes para mi equipo Tomateros de Culiacan, es por eso que en muchas ocaciones mire como Don Juan disfrutaba al observar a sus jugadores en el terreno de juego cuando se entregaban para lograr los triunfos, pero tambien al perder como sufría, gritaba como cualquier apasionado al rey de los deportes, felicitaba a su equipo personalmente y de la misma manera los asesoraba exigiéndoles la perfección y así lograr el existo para todos. Por esos valores que siempre inculco esfuerzo, dedicación, y valores del trabajo, así como la lealtad y el trabajo en equipo, eso lo llevo a que el presidente de la república Enrique Peña Nieto lo admiraba como un gran hombre de negocios de Sinaloa y a nivel nacional fortalecía la economía de México, por tal motivo el próximo marzo lo condecoraría como “El Empresario del Año” en la capital del País.

El Señor Beisbol con gran visión empresarial y amor a este deporte hace 15 años fue el primer club de beisbol que transformo el espectáculo en un ambiente familiar con una remodelación total al Ángel Flores con la pantalla más grande del país, sonido musical y un presentador con una voz inigualable como es Jorge Niebla “el caifan” y una mascota nunca antes vista en el beisbol como “el Chago”, y ambos todavía los disfrutamos en Culiacan.

Ley López en enero del 2015 miro a sus guindas volver a ganar después de 10 temporadas  el decimo campeonato de la Liga Mexicana de Pacifico, e inaugurar el nuevo estadio para sus tomateros hace casi 4 meses ya que era uno de sus sueños.

JML TrophyJuan Manuel Ley López originario de Tayoltita Durango donde más quedé su edad: 82 años, pero radicado en Sinaloa desde su niñez sera recordado por siempre y que mas como un homenaje a este gran ser humano que la nueva casa guinda lleve su nombre.

Hasta pronto Don Juan.

 

The Unattended Game

Co-authored with Alec Bassos

Chicago White Sox v Baltimore Orioles

There’s an old philosophical thought which says, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This sentence has raised questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality for centuries, but today there’s a new thought provoking corollary that may also stand the test of time, “If a baseball game is played and no fans are allowed to attend, is it really a game?”

Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented riots in Baltimore this is now a reality and a first. According to John Thorn, an official historian for Major League Baseball, this will be the first game with zero attendance. Thus we are left with even more questions such as: What will a game with no fans look like? How long will the game last? And how will it be played? Without further ado, let us entertain the endless possibilities.

Orioles Cancellation

Without a job for the day, will the Oriole bird be available to pinch hit or throw in relief should the game go into extra innings?

On Wednesday the Orioles will have an unveiling of the work they've done to renovate Camden Yards. Will run with Cowherd column, but

Will the announcement of batters and pitching changes, walk-up music, and crowd chants be played over the PA system?

Will there be an open hot dog stand in case players get hungry, i.e. Josh Beckett?

Will teams still partake in the traditional seventh inning stretch? If so, will they avoid the irony of playing “Take me out to the ballgame”?

What will happen to the kiss cam? And will the jumbotron be on, showing replays and flashing “Let’s go O’s!”?

Instead of a curtain call, will players tweet a picture of themselves tipping their cap?

Finally, can the surplus food be donated to peaceful protesters and officers as a sign of good faith?

To quote a baseball classic (Field of Dreams), “The one constant through all the years…has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers…But baseball has marked the time.”

Foreign countries have seen their sporting events, namely soccer, shuttered to the public as a way of punishing teams for fan behavior or to avoid violence between rival fan bases. On this day, baseball will mark the time in America’s history when civil unrest forced the gates of Oriole Park at Camden Yards to be closed to the public. However, few activities can heal and bring people together the way sports can. When societies are faced with crisis, they often turn to sports to carry them through their hardships.

Baseball teams have risen to such occasions in recent years. After September 11, 2001 the New York Yankees played a significant role in helping the city and the country cope as they went on to play in the World Series. Similarly, in 2013 the Boston Red Sox stayed strong after the Boston Marathon Bombings and helped the city heal by winning the World Series.

While the riots have in no way inflicted the same level of violence and fear as those terrorist attacks, the nerves of the City of Baltimore are no less frayed, the damage to the neighborhoods and its reputation are no less real. Maybe it’s not the right time for baseball in Baltimore, but pretty soon it will need to be because the 2014 American League runner up can play a role in helping its city heal and transcend it to greater heights.

Los Principios del Diamante: 10 Lecciones de Vida que Nuestros Padres nos Enseñaron a través del Béisbol

El artículo fue editado y traducido y con la ayuda de Jaime Areizaga Soto

Santa Ana Cubs Team Pic

Cuando Danny Espinosa del equipo de béisbol profesional de los Nacionales de Washington y yo jugábamos en el equipo de béisbol de los Cubs de Santa Ana, California, soñábamos en un día ser los próximos Nomar Garciaparra y Derek Jeter. Para ayudarnos a lograr esta meta, nuestros padres, Dan Espinosa Sr. y José López Sánchez dedicaron varias horas como nuestros entrenadores pero más importante como nuestros ejemplos a seguir.

Dan Sr. Coaching

 

Dan y José tenían tres cosas en común: el amor por su familia, el orgullo de su herencia mexicana y el conocimiento de actividades ilícitas, porque Dan practicaba el derecho penal y José había tenido varios encuentros con la ley cuando era joven. Como resultado, nuestros padres, con la ayuda de nuestras madres, Vicki y Margarita, invirtieron todo su dinero y tiempo en nosotros porque ellos veían al béisbol como un microcosmo de la vida. Esperaban que las lecciones del juego, junto con su dirección y disciplina, nos alejarían del mal camino, mientras nos guiaban hacia el éxito.

(En la foto: Juan Manuel Vega, Fernando Hernandez, Margarita Lopez, Jose Lopez, Juan Manuel Ley-Bastidas, Juan Ernesto Millán Pietsh, Josue Lopez Calderon)

(En la foto: Juan Manuel Vega, Fernando Hernandez, Margarita Lopez, Jose Lopez, Juan Manuel Ley-Bastidas, Juan Ernesto Millán Pietsh, Josue Lopez Calderon)

Las Lecciones

1) Falla mejor —  El béisbol es el único deporte donde si tu fallas 7 de 10 oportunidades al batear eres considerado exitoso, entonces tienes que aprender cómo ponerte de pié después de la derrota. La diferencia entre el éxito y el fracaso es como uno persiste ante la adversidad porque la vida es 10% lo que te pasa y 90% como tú respondes.

2) Solo puedes controlar dos cosas, tu actitud y tu esfuerzo — “El béisbol es 90% intelectual y 15% físico” dijo el famoso receptor de los Yankees de Nueva York, Yogi Berra. Sé positivo y nunca creas que eres mejor que tu competencia porque ese es el momento cuando te alcanzarán. No siempre puedes controlar los resultados, pero sí puedes innovar y mejorar tus habilidades.

3) Ser competitivo — Si quieres ganar tu puesto o jugar en la postemporada tienes que competir y ganarle a tu competencia. En algún momento, todos terminamos de jugar deportes, por lo tanto, lo que más importa es como tu competiste en la vida.

4) Respeta a tu técnico, el equipo, los árbitros y los opositores — Cada puesto dentro y fuera del campo es un componente valioso e integral al juego. Solo no puedes hacerlo todo, entonces si quieres ser exitoso en la sociedad tienes que respetar las leyes y llevarte bien con tus compañeros, estudiantes y otros.

5) Las decisiones de los árbitros nunca serán 100% a tu favor — En el béisbol, a vecés las decisiones de los árbitros irán en contra de ti, como en la vida. Entonces tienes que respetar los otros puntos de vista porque todos ven las cosas de un ángulo diferente. En vez de quedarte estancado en la mala suerte, tienes que mirar adelante y prepararte para la próxima oportunidad.

6) Anticipa donde la pelota estará y no donde ha estado — Se quieres ser exitoso en la vida tienes que vivir con anticipación hacia el futuro y no enfocarte en el pasado. El perfecto ejemplo es la increíble jugada de Derek Jeter.

7) Haz las cosas pequeñas bien — El béisbol es un juego de centímetros y así también la vida se trata de cómo haces las tareas  básicas diarias cuando nadie te está viendo.

8) Se capaz de ser entrenado — Para mejorar necesitas saber cómo recibir instrucciones de tus técnicos. Los que sobresalen en la vida son los que tienen una disposición para aprender y entienden su lugar en el equipo.

9) Cuida tu salud — El ejercicio es bueno para tu salud. Pero a la misma vez tienes que cuidarte porque si te lastimas, estarás en la lista de lesionados. En la vida, tienes que tomar seriamente el consejo profesional para tu salud y las medidas de seguridad, porque si te lastimas, no vas a poder realizar ni rendir a tu mejor nivél y eso te costará tiempo y dinero.

10) Ten un plan — En el béisbol, tienes que tener un plan de juego. En la vida, también tienes que planear tu carrera y tu futuro. Nuestros padres sabían que sólo el 1% de atletas se convertirían en jugadores profesionales, entonces ellos se aseguraron de que planeáramos graduarnos de universidad. Cuando teníamos alguna idea, nos decían trabajen duro para lograr esos sueños, pero en caso de que no se pueda obtener, ¿cuál es tu Plan B?

Aunque sólo uno de nosotros logró el sueño de ser jugador profesional, los dos hemos sido exitosos en la vida gracias a la ayuda de nuestros padres. Sus lecciones no sólo nos alejaron del crimen, pero también nos ayudaron durante nuestros momentos más difíciles.

En 2013, Danny se lesionó y perdió su puesto de titular en el equipo de los Nacionales y tuvo que jugar varios meses en las ligas menores. Hoy Danny es titular de los Nacionales de Washington y el equipo tuvo el mejor récord en la Liga Nacional en el 2014.  Cuando yo me gradué de UCLA yo también participé en el sistema de jóvenes líderes en la política de Washington DC, donde trabajé como pasante por varios meses. En nuestros caminos todos enfrentamos desafíos y fracasos. Pero lo que más importa es mantener una actitud positiva y que continúes persistiendo y avanzando ante la adversidad porque la vida es 10% lo que te pasa y 90% como tú reaccionas.  A pesar de los desafíos que afrontamos, capitalizamos en nuestras experiencias y tribulaciones como un trampolín para mejorar, de igual forma como lo hicieron nuestros padres: Dan que no se convirtió en jugador profesional después de jugar para su universidad y José que armo una vida contra viento y marea venciendo las condiciones más adversas. Para concluir, si nosotros logramos ser exitosos también tú puedes porque los campeones se miden por cuán alto llegan después de haberse caído.

Danny and Josue

 

The Diamond Dogma: 10 Life Lessons Our Dads Taught Us Through Baseball

This article has also been published on Huffington Post Sports

Santa Ana Cubs Team Pic

When Danny Espinosa of the Washington Nationals and I were teammates on the Santa Ana California Little League Cubs, we dreamt about one day becoming the next Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter. In order to help us achieve this goal, our fathers Dan Espinosa Sr. and Jose M. Lopez dedicated countless hours as our coaches, but more importantly as our role models.

Dan Sr. Coaching

Dan Espinosa Sr.

Both Dan and Jose had three things in common: their love for their family, their Mexican heritage and knowledge of illicit activity because the former practiced criminal law, while the latter had a few juvenile encounters with the law. As a result, they along with our super moms, Vicki and Margarita, invested all of their time in us because they saw baseball as a microcosm of life. They hoped that the lessons of the game, together with their direction and discipline, would steer us away from wrongdoing while guiding us towards success.

(In the picture: Juan Manuel Vega, Fernando Hernandez, Margarita Lopez, Jose Lopez, Juan Manuel Ley-Bastidas, Juan Ernesto Millán Pietsh, Josue Lopez Calderon)

(From left to right: Juan Manuel Vega, Fernando Hernandez, Margarita Lopez, Jose Lopez, Juan Manuel Ley-Bastidas, Juan Ernesto Millán Pietsh, Josue Lopez Calderon)

The Lessons
1) Fail better — Baseball is the only sport where if you fail 7 out of 10 times you are considered successful, thus you have to learn how to get up from defeat. The difference between success and failure is how you pivot and persist in the face of adversity because life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond.

2) You can only control two things, your attitude and your effort — “Baseball is 90% mental and 15% physical,” Yogi Berra famously said. Therefore in baseball like in life you attract what you think. Be positive and never think you’re better than your competition because that’s when they’ll pass you by. You can’t always control the outcome, but you can always keep innovating and improving your skill sets.

3) Be competitive — If you want to win your position or make the playoffs then you have to compete and beat your competition. At some point, everyone stops playing sports, therefore, what matters most is how you compete in life.

4) Respect the manager, team, umpires and opponents — Every position on and off the field is an integral and valuable component to the game. You can’t do everything on your own, thus if you want to succeed in society you have to respect the laws and get along with your fellow colleagues, students and others.

5) The calls will never always go your way — In baseball, sometimes the calls will go against you just like in life. Consequently, you have to respect other points of view because everyone sees things differently. Instead of dwelling on bad luck you have to look forward and prepare for the next opportunity.

6) Anticipate where the ball will be, not where it has been — If you want to be successful in life you should live with anticipation towards the future and not focus on the past. Derek Jeter’s iconic flip play is the perfect example.

7) Do the small things well — Baseball is a game of inches, and life is about how well you execute the daily small tasks when no one is looking.

8) Be coachable — In order to improve, you need to take feedback from your coaches. Those who excel in life are the ones who have a willingness to learn and understand their role on the team.

9) Take care of your health — Exercise is good for your health, but if you are injured you will be put on the disabled list (DL). In life you must take professional health advice and safety measures seriously, or else you will not be able to perform to the best of your ability which will cost you time and money.

10) Have a plan — When playing you need to have a game plan. In life you must also plan your career. Our parents knew that less than 1% of athletes would become a professional, thus they made sure we planned to go to college. When we had an idea they said, that’s great, work hard to achieve it, but just in case you don’t make it what do you want to do?

Lessons in Action
Even though only one of us became a professional ball player, we both succeeded in life because of our parents. Their lessons not only steered us away from wrongful activity, but helped to lead us when we needed it most.

In 2013, Danny spent several months in the minors in order to recover from an injury and after I graduated from UCLA, I too was developing in the farm system of Washington D.C. politics as an unpaid intern for many months. In our journeys we all face challenges and we all go through slumps. What matters most is that you remain positive and continue to persist and move forward in the face of adversity because life truly is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond. Despite our individual struggles, we cherished the numerous trials and tribulations as an opportunity to improve, just like our fathers Dan who overcame not becoming a professional baseball player and Jose who prevailed in reforming his life against all odds. Therefore, if we can succeed then so can you because champions are measured by how high they bounce after they fall.

Danny and Josue