By Dan Gazaway, Contributor to BaseballPracticeTips.com
I remember a decade ago I was lacing up for our afternoon workout prior the 7pm home game. The director of scouting for the minor leagues would be observing our workout for the next couple days. He’d be working in as one of the coaches but was also there to get a better sense of who among our minor league team could potentially fill the future role on the Big League roster.
I remember clearly our hitting coach said that the ability to place your teammates above your own needs/stats was highly attractive to the organization. He told us that the win/loss of the team reflected more on our unification as a team which said a lot about us as individual players.
How important is a team first mentality in baseball? Think of it this way. There are 162 games in the regular season; throw in about 30 spring training games and dozens of travel days and these guys are around each other most of each day for roughly 60% of the calender year. That is a ton of time. Team dynamics are extremely valuable. It’s not the only factor in winning, but it ranks up there as highly important.
Michael Young of the Texas Rangers is one of these hard-working team first guys. Because of his enjoyment of playing for the Rangers, he has no qualms about being shifted around the infield each year. This may not seam like such a big deal, but it’s difficult to play at the elite level in many different positions. It takes a certain type of work habit and personality to build new skill sets each year.
I always love to read stories about the good guys in baseball who play the game hard. Michael Young is one of them.