Baseball and Education: A’s are HomeMarch 22, 2012
“The pleasure of rooting for Goliath is that you can expect to win. The pleasure of rooting for David is that, while you don’t know what to expect, you stand at least a chance of being inspired.”
― Michael Lewis, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
I always feel like I am coming home when I go to the Athletics’ Spring Training site. My second batting practice outing was with the A’s and I had a lot of fun. I was also at the A’s complex several times when I attended MLSB Scout School. So, I was happy to be back and thankful for the chance to talk to their minor leaguers about earning their college degree at Northeastern University.
A mutual friend introduced me to A’s General Manager, Billy Beane, at the 2010 Baseball Winter Meetings. Right then and there, I asked him if I could throw BP to his team. He looked at me, paused for about 5 seconds, and said yes. “Wow”, I thought. “My dream is going to actually happen. Billie Beane believes in me.”
When I present to teams, what I want the players to know most, is that I believe in them. I want them to know that I understand their baseball dreams. And that I am proof that dreams come true therefore I know their dreams can come true too.
But I also need them to know that they have more than just their baseball dream. Understanding that they are more than just baseball, is key to successful career transition and a confident and satisfying athlete identity.
I also believe in our program at Northeastern. We have really made it viable for pro athletes to compete AND get their degree. Everything is online; Including academic advising, tutoring, the library, and even the writing center. Our program is convenient, flexible, and affordable.
I think the A’s are built on a foundation of believing. I think Billy Beane understands that the intangible qualities in us is often what makes us great. Of course, you still need the physical tools to be a successful player. But the first step is always to believe.
As I looked out at the young, A’s minor leaguers, I told them I believed in them. That I believed in dreams. And that I also believed in an education. Whether they make it to the majors or are forced onto another path, they have a future. And with an education, that future provides a lot more options.
At the end of our presentation, over 40 players came up and asked for more information; It was our biggest response yet. I think it’s because the A’s believe too.
-To read more about Justine’s journey through spring training, visit http://justinebaseball.mlblogs.com.