A Path That Led, Finally, to Myself

I’ve been playing baseball all my life. I’m 29 now. But it wasn’t until a day in spring training this year that I finally stopped trying to be someone else. I finally figured out who I was as a player.

In previous years, every time I went 0-for-3 or 0-for-4, I’d change my mechanics. I’d copy Marco Scutaro or Buster Posey or whoever. So no surprise – I’d ride a rollercoaster of trying this and that, and the results were a rollercoaster, too. I was up and down and all over the place.

I arrived at spring training with the goal of figuring out how to be consistent.

It was the first spring training in my life that I could actually pick a component of my game to work on. Every other spring, I was trying to impress the organization so they’d put me on the roster. This spring, I had more security than I’d ever had, so I could afford to focus on becoming a more consistent hitter.

One day in Arizona, I was watching video with our assistant batting coach, Joe Lefebvre. He had put together a bunch of my at-bats from last year.

“Look at your swing,’’ he said. “That’s you right there. Just be yourself and you’ll be more consistent.’’

I said to myself, “That’s right. I’m going to start just being myself.’’

It was like a light bulb switching on.

The reason why Marco and Buster and Pablo are so successful is they always take the same approach. They believe in their approach and don’t change it just because they have a bad day or two.

That’s the biggest difference for me between last year and this year. I’ve found peace in myself and the way I play the game. Which translates into more consistency. I just stay who I am even if I go 0-for-4. I just keep believing in myself and my approach. I just keep swinging aggressively and naturally and with confidence.

My game is to get on base. Every time I get into the batter’s box, I’m just thinking, “Get on base no matter what.’’ That can mean bunting, slapping the ball, getting a walk. Get quality at-bats every single time. That’s what I want to do.

I don’t put nearly as much pressure on myself as I used to. I don’t expect myself to go 4-for-4 every game and then get all stressed when I don’t. I’m much more even.

And so far it’s working well. I feel comfortable at the plate, and I’m getting on base.

Maybe I learned this lesson a little late, but I guess I had to go through everything I did in order to get to where I am. I feel like I’m a better player now than I’ve ever been. And I have the Giants and you to thank for that. I will always feel blessed that I ended up in San Francisco.

 

 

15 Comments

Great to read this blog entry after your amazing four RBI day. It looks as though you really have become your own player and you are awesome! Thanks for sharing, you are such an excellent writer. It was so cool to read about what you are looking at that gives you such a great jump on balls. Thanks for sharing from the heart!

Gregor siempre seras una leyenda para mi y el resto de los fanaticos de los Tiburones! Ya vas a ver que to .avg ya va a estar subiendo, y este ano el Guante de Oro ya tiene nombre! El Tiburon Blanco!!
Ojala vuelvan a ganar este ano y poder llevar esa sensacion de victoria a los gloriosos Tiburones!! para ya tener anillos de serie mundia y la liga casera!

Hey Gregor! Great blog, first time reader, but fan of yours since last spring. Really like your game, don’t ever change your approach, its already awesome the way it is. Definitely one of our best Giants’ gamers :). Keep up the great work El Tiburon Blanco!!!

Your blog is the best around as you speak to us frankly and with honesty. It shows how big you are as a person.

Good for you! Life is a learning process. :) ,We Giants fans enjoy watching you give 100 % every day. Keep up the great work!

Gregor, you are a legend

Well said Gregor…..well said.
It makes sense and we are lucky to have you on our team! But you are lucky to be on the best team in the USA….because of players like you and because of the SF Giants fans…..

your humility and honesty are what i find so inspiring about you. i think you’re terrific!

Nobody bunts like the White Shark.

Drag bunt + stolen base = runner in scoring position, just as much as if you’d hit a double.

Congratulations Gregor on having the confidence to learn that lesson – i’m sure it will pay dividends this season and many more! Go Giants!

Great attitude and approach! It’s going to be a fantastic season!

That’s the hard lesson all professional athletes need to learn: just be thankful that you learned it now and not after your career is over. And that’s a good lesson for everyone: just be yourself.

Slap at the ball if that is what you do, but talk with Andres Torres about his struggles with hitting and the lessons he learned. Getting on base is good, very good, but you need to balance that with some power or the pitchers will not fear pitching to you. He didn’t learn the proper way to hit until he in his 30′s, I would talk with him and get some tips on how to be yourself while also being a professional MLB hitter.

You are such an awesome player! Keep up the good work! Your fans are proud!

It is never late to learn a lesson, I’m so happy that you are a Giant, last year when the season finished I was always thinking “Don’t let the shark go” and they didn’t. Keep being yourself always you are a great man, a great baseball player, a real Giant!

giants fans thank you! you are the best!

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