Stepping Up to the Plate

Inspirational signs were just one of the reasons the Tampa Bay Devilrays were the 2008 MLB National League Champions and why Manager Joe Maddon was voted the AL Manager of the Year.   Believe in yourself, respect your teammates, respect your self - those are only some of the attributes of a champion.  

David Kloser, author of Stepping Up to the Plate and Stepping Up to the Plate 2nd Inning , visited with over 300 Major Leaguers and Hall of Famers over more than 18 months to find out what baseball has taught them about life on and off the field and how they apply those concepts to their lives.   Here is just a sample of what these Major League players have to say.

"Everyone wants to be holding the trophy. You can be a champion without accomplishing that.  Champions are the guys that work hard, don't give up, believe in themselves, and try to make other people around them better".    - Tim Salmon, Long Beach, California

"Best advice:  "Just always keep working hard.  I go out there and prove myself and not take anything for granted." - Albert Pujols, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
"You have to distinguish what you do on the field does not determine your self-worth.  Baseball is part of my life and what I do Ė itís not who I am.   " - Desi Relaford, Valdosta, Georgia
" Trying to do well (on the baseball field) and respecting teammates will carry over into whatever you choose to do in life. - Randy Johnson, Walnut Creek, California
" Baseball is a great proving ground for the game of life. When you're trying to do what you're supposedt to, you're going to fail a lot. But with hard work and perseverance, you can push through it; and those are great qualities you want to attain. " - Tim Salmon, Long Beach, California
" Baseball has taught me, more than anything, is if you keep fighting, eventually good things are going to follow; to keep trying to get better; to keep trying to learn Ė to keep trying to find out how good I can be. " - Greg Maddux, San Angelo, Texas
" An undesirable teammate: You try to help them as much as you can.  But the truth is, sometimes people just don't want to be helped.  Itíd be a lot easier on them if they listened to some things that people have been through. " - Ron Gant, Victoria, Texas
" Respecting the game, is just like respecting your parents, you don't ever want put it out of context that you're a bigger than the game or better than the game ." - Marlon Byrd, Boynton Beach, Florida
" You canít dwell on what happened in the past or control the play or pitch before.  I just look toward the next (opportunity) and stay mentally positive ." - Eric Hinske, Menasha, Wisconsin
"Each day you come to the ballpark, you donít know what to expect.  But you work off of basic fundamentals.  Practice and repetition are important as well as mental and physical discipline.  I find those things are very important in life as   well." - Jamie Moyer, Sellersville, Pennsylvania
"Baseballís taught me that I have the ability to deal with adversity.  I can fight through things and it makes me stronger." -  Mark Kotsay, Whittier, California
"Ideal Teammate?  Leads by example, hard working,  respectful to others and has a good attitude."   Chase Utley, Pasadena, California
"When you leave ballpark, leave it there; no matter what type of game you had or what happened on the field.  Go home and relax." - Jason Kendall, San Diego, California
"Respect: Don't talk bad about your teammates.  Itís like a family.  The most important thing is that teammates respect each other . " - Alfonso Soriano, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
"After a game you want to say, 'I gave it everything I could'.  That way you can always be satisfied no matter the outcome . " - Kevin Brown, Milledgeville, Georgia
"An ideal teammate:  Somebody you can talk to. Itís not always about baseball." - C.C.Sabathia, Vallejo, California
"Itís hard enough to perform in this game, against other players and yourself, especially when youíre beating yourself up and thinking negative thoughts. It is just as easy to dwell on success as it is on failure . " - Curt Schilling, Anchorage, Alaska
"I wanted to be like my dad growing up. He said, 'Youíre not me. Just be yourself. Be true to yourself.' " - Ken Griffey Jr., Denora, Pennsylvania
"Youíre going to fail so many times that youíre going to want to quit. If you can deal with that, the reward of finally doing something well, like just getting a hit, is so much greater than all the disappointment you go through." - Morgan Ensberg, Redondo Beach, California

"If your mind is not ready to play the game, your body is not going to help you." - Ozzie Guillen, Ocumare Del Tuy, Venezuela

"An idea teammate:   Somebody who plays hard and gives his best effort in practice and in the game.  Actions speak louder than words." - Aaron Cook, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky

"Undesirable teammate? Players who try to bring too much attention on themselves.  They donít respect the game.  Guys on the team donít appreciate it.   " - Josh Fogg, Lynn, Massachusetts

"A champion doesnít talk about himself.  The world doesnít revolve around him.  He wants to give back and help other people." - Chad Zerbe, Findlay, Ohio


















Quote of the Week:
"If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it.  It's the hard that makes it great."
Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own
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