Entitlement, the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. This word entitlement is the key factor that undermines a young athlete’s daily routine in getting his or her work done in the sport that they play. Of course everybody wants to be a big leaguer, an all-star, or maybe even a hall of famer. But the entitlement of young athletes does not only have an affect on young baseball players. This is happening all around America in every youth sport played. Being a young student-athlete myself, I tend to see a lot of players that feel this sense of entitlement. These players that have this feeling tend to be the ones who don't work as hard, slack off, or can possibly just be conceited. Not only does being an athlete that believes themselves to be entitled to something affect them, but it affects the people and players around them. "Kids are not as coachable as they were years ago," Rhonda Rompola said. "I see kids sometimes talking back to their coaches, and it's like a way of life. I'm just being honest. The rules and everything they get, they haven't taken time to appreciate." Rhonda retired from her coaching job at SMU because the kids were getting more and more difficult to coach. Legendary University of Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido hit the button during a speech when he stated, "The biggest thing wrong with college baseball today is entitlement." Garrido's resume includes two College World Series trips, three Golden Spikes Award-winners, four national Players of the Year, six CWS MVPs and 53 All-Americans. But during his speech, he looked back fondly to his early days of coaching at Cal State Fullerton, where the players also were the grounds crew and had no locker room. Thus being said, many athletes nowadays have it all made because they have nice locker rooms and beautiful fields. This entitlement does not only affect young athletes, but college athletics as well.
There are a few different reasons why some players feel this type of entitlement. The way that young athletes are brought up into the sport that they invest their time in plays a huge role in the characteristics of the players. Parents play the biggest part of a young athlete's mindset. Parents can hype up their child and make them believe that they are the best player ever, although, If a kid is continuously told “you are the best player on the team”, that kid may feel that his or her coaches need to treat them better and that they should always play. These athletes have been shaped by their environment. They are a direct result of lenient-parenting and “giving children too much without earning it”. Although most of this comes from the parents, some may also come from the coaches. Coaches can only foster the environment during the time in which they are working with the athletes, however, they still play a critical role in overall physical and emotional development. The problem with giving children everything they want is building false expectations that needs and desires will be at the center of future problems.
Besides the fact that they may be the best on the team, this does not mean that the team is necessarily good. Athletes who play on team sports and feel a source of entitlement are usually the ones who do not produce for the team that they are on. Athletes affect the team that they play for constantly without even knowing. An athlete distributes to a team just by being on the team. Without teammates that work together there would be no team. Although a player who only cares about the benefit of himself or herself for their own cause could be known as a cancer on the team. These players can bring a team down and cause a huge domino effect on the attitudes of the other players on that team. If a player only cares about their own stats, or their own accolades, the rest of the team may feel some sort of anger and or hate towards that person which causes conflict between that player and the team.
As stated before, some young athletes are oblivious to the definition of the word team. Nearly 83% of Americans surveyed strongly or somewhat agreed that America's youth feel more entitled compared to 10 years ago, according to a national survey conducted by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute. Many people are clear eyed to the fact that entitlement plays a huge role in young athletes, although it is still in effect at the next level of play. These athletes do not understand the basic concept of a team and what it takes to be a good teammate. The basic and main reason why some athletes feel a source of Entitlement is because of their parents. Parents in this generation need to understand that not every child is going to be the next best thing. Some parents should push their kids to try their best and work as hard as they possibly can. Young athletes will soon come to a realization that if you work hard for a goal, that goal that you may meet will be the best outcome because you worked hard for it. Anthony Rizzo, a professional baseball player for the cubs, once said “I will respect the limits of my experience but that won't stop me from trying to lead by example of my work. Being a good teammate and picking them up on and off the field is a simple goal of mine.” I believe that every athlete should have this mentality of putting the team before themselves. Without a good work ethic and determined mind, athletes will not go far in the sport that they love to play.
The game of baseball isn't an easy one. To some the game itself may come easy but the game is difficult. I didn't start playing baseball until I was in my 11 year old season. Prior to that I raced motocross and spent all my free time pursuing an amateur career in that sport. When I decided to play baseball my parents supported me. I wasn't very good that first year. Playing the required 2 innings and getting 1 at bat per little league rules was the only playing time I got. After a season of that I said to myself that isn't good enough. I want to play more and I want to be a catcher. For Christmas that year I received a full set of catchers gear and a mitt. I worked daily to hone my skills all the while my Dad would tell me to "Trust the Process". I used to ask him what that meant and he said getting better is a process. It doesn't happen overnight. At 11 years old I really didn't understand that. Today's youth also struggle with "trusting the Process". In the so called entitlement era kids expect instant gratification. Whether it is in their chosen sport or purchasing an item it is a now thing. Kids aren't being taught what the process is, how to work hard to achieve a goal, or responding to failure is a direct reflection of the climate they are in.
When I entered the coveted 12 year old little league season I was hoping to play every game and get to All Stars. Every kid in the league wanted to do that. I had only played 1 season of Fall ball so I wasn't sure if I even had a chance. Again my Dad would tell me if you want to make the All Star team you have to put the work in and trust the process. I would always think to myself what is the damn process he keeps referring to. At this point I only knew the process as what he told me. He said getting better is a process that doesn't happen overnight. I went on that year trusting the process till I broke my thumb late in the season and didn't make the All Star Team. I was upset when the team was announced. I thought I had put the work in and the process had failed me. I went on to play a year of travel ball and continued to grind it out to get better. In June of my freshman year I had to attend a "incoming freshman camp" at the high school I was to attend. I was an undersized catcher with 2 years of baseball experience on my resume and most of the kids at the camp had been playing for 8 years. The high school I was going to go to had incoming freshman that are now D1 committed players and they could play the game better than me. I went through the week long camp listening to my parents tell me that I had to trust the process that it will all work out. The final day of the camp ended with the coach announcing the selections for 6th period PE their Freshman year. Again the process failed me and I wasn't selected. I wanted to quit the game. The failure part of baseball was too much. All the people I played with were seeing success and I was working harder than them. I remember my parents telling me that you can quit and begin your life as a quitter or you can respond with a vengeance and beat failure.
I truly wanted to play High School baseball and believed I was good enough to do so. I prayed that an opportunity would show up for me to play baseball and it did. I went to a small Christian High School my freshman year. I was able to play Varsity as a Freshman and go to the CIF playoffs. It was here that I started to learn what trusting the process really was. I didn't get immediate results but worked hard all summer to make the team and compete. I had to change position at this point and learn a new spot so that I could play. That summer I got the opportunity to become a part of an organization that has provided me with the best platform to achieve my goals in Baseball. CBA was my first exposure to great coaching, tougher competition, and a opportunity to grow as an athlete. After my freshman year I wanted to go back to public school and take a shot at the team again. I tried out and was able to get a spot on the JV team. I thought I was on the right track at this point. That year went by with minimal playing time and more disappointments. .
My sophomore summer I struggled. I gave up on the process and put in minimal work. I felt sorry for myself cause I wasn't seeing the instant results that I was wanting. I managed to play in a few events that summer but never got the results I wanted. I really had to learn about the process to move on. My parents told me several times if I didn't want to put the work in to let them know as they were sacrificing a lot of time and money for me to play the game. On several occasions my Dad told me to just quit. I think I wanted to at some point. Playing High School baseball was not fun, making errors and struggling on the field that summer was not fun, and trusting the process was not fun. Fast forward to Junior year. I have a good tryout and make the Fall Ball team at the High School. I had to compete against a very good Freshman (D1 commit as a Sophomore) for a spot to start. I though I had the spot cause I was a Junior and left the process to hang in the balance a bit. Towards the end of Fall Ball I saw the writing on the wall and the result I wanted wasn't there. The process failed me again and I was back on the ropes with a tough decision to make. Quitting was a valid option for me at this point. I actually thought that it was justified. I felt that I had done my job and it wasn't good enough. It was at this point that Trusting the Process became my life. I met with the coaches at CBA and they suggested that I play in the Spring League.
I began the long process, while trusting it, of finding a way to play College Baseball. I took advantage of every opportunity that was provided to me and the process began. I watched several players commit to college. I kept my head down and continued to grind. I believed that I was good enough to play college baseball but it was going to be put to the test in trusting the process. If you don't know by now the recruiting process is long and rough at times. I watched players that I played with quit, listened to the entitled guys blame the process, listened to players blame the coaches, and all along I focused on the process. My parents sacrificed everything for me. They wanted to make sure that if I was vetted in the process that they would provide for me. There was bumps, bruises, let downs, disappointments, and more along the way. But after every failure I found a new opportunity. I wasn't entitled but rather engaged in the process. I used every available opportunity to get better and trusted the process 100%. I took advantage of everything CBA offered. Drove to practice over an hour away, went to hitting every week, and made sure that I didn't miss an opportunity to get better. It was a sacrifice and I watched others attend parties, summer vacations, and have fun while I was on the road playing in Arizona and Georgia. Missed my prom, school events, birthday parties, and the like to make sure I was getting results.
In the end trusting the process of getting to college paid off. The thing I noticed is that while I was on this grind there were many others that were at the events and practices I was at. We would talk about the process and it is these other players that have been successful with me. April 14th I signed a NLI to play baseball at Indian Tech, an NAIA school in Ft Wayne, IN. I know have started a new process to play in college. I will never expect anything again and will ensure that I allow the process to play out. I cant thank CBA as an organization, the coaching staff, and the players enough for their help. A special note to Andrew Takayoshi, Jon Paino, Joe Spiers, and Hugo Briones who answered all my questions, called back coaches, and helped me through the recruiting process. "TRUST THE PROCESS"
Let me start off by saying that baseball is the greatest sport in the world. “How is that?” one might ask; obviously either never having played the game, or having played but never was good enough to make it off the bench other than their required two innings or so, which they were mandated to play by their little league sanctioned rules. The people which ironically in life are more than likely those who don’t understand the concept of getting out what you put in. Those who can’t seem to wrap their minds around the fact that the universe rewards those who do right. Those who will sit there and complain about their hourly wages yet won’t take the extra time or effort to do their job any better than what their complacent mind has them doing now. Those who never understood that once you step in the box gripping the handle of that bat, you as an individual are no longer at war with your team; you are in a fight for your team.
This fight will be hard, it will be gruesome. But if you put the time and effort and attitude and preparation into the process leading up to that fight; you will come out on top. This is because if you do things the right way; each and every day; Wanting it more than the next guy; you will come out on top; you will rise; you will be victorious! “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard” is a saying that I have lived my life by. A saying that defines the entire purpose for this so-called “grind” everyone speaks about. But only those who do “grind” truly understand the meaning behind it; almost as if it’s a fading language now of days.
But it is fading. Just not a language. It’s a mindset. A mindset fading away slowly as this new wave of thoughts crash our society. Filling our sports systems with “at least you tried metals” and “maybe next year” ribbons. Rewards and prizes put in place by those who never could. Those who (not necessarily never tried) but never tried hard enough. Those who couldn’t stand watching someone else win over themselves. Those who couldn’t take enough pride in their own work, or the name on the back of their jersey to produce the best possible product with themselves. Those who accepted life as it came; rather than going out and taking the life that they truly desired.
These people, are what are producing this overwhelming sense of entitlement. The entitlement that peaks through when a pitcher gets pulled off the mound; goes into the dugout; throws his glove; and sits there on the bench silently for the rest of the game. Mentally checked out, forgetting that he is not bigger than the game. The natural human selfishness combined with the fashioned complacency of today’s society as a whole; has created a monster of false entitlement; though this monster strikes as a sickness.
The black plague of baseball filling young minds with the unrealistic ideas which will once out of their youth; contaminate their adult, working lives. Though this soon to be contamination which will take place at the workplace can be seen on the diamond.
Now of days when growing up, we are taught about fairness and equality. But the fault within this is the underlying lie being covered up by the adults that life is not fair! But as children how is this to be known? Exactly: It’s not! Given this; how is it fair that little Johnny is the coaches son and plays the entire game every time? Once again: it isn’t. But that’s just how the cookie crumbles and if you really want to be the star over the coaches son; Ding! Ding! Ding! You’re going to have work for it! But instead of out working and competing against one another; society has taught us to wine and complain about each other instead.
Due to a lack of competitive spirit, the integrity of this great game is being compromised. Why Give 100% like coach is asking for when you can give 50 and still get your snack at the end of each game and your trophy at the end of the season? But now; why give 100 when the guy next to you is only giving 50? And so the domino effect begins to kick in. Soon enough you’ve got 11 out of 12 players giving 50% with the last one left soon to fall to the cancer as well; tearing the team apart piece by piece.
No one wants to give more than they need. And turning the game of “hard ball” soft. That creates a platform of complacency which is to be followed for the rest of your life.
Pete Rose, one of the greatest and hardest players of all time stated, “I’d walk through hell with a gasoline suit on to play baseball.” This passion and love for the game is just not found anymore. Guys aren’t out there because they love the game; they’re out there because they have nothing better to do and thought it would be cool to go hang out with their friends and walk around school knowing all the ladies love themselves a man in some baseball pants. But the game is like that because we let it be. We too are complacent. We; the grinders, don’t speak up. We don’t fight for what we love. We let society steam role us harder than any play at the plate.
We let our teammates do whatever they want because “hey, it’s their life right.” But no. It is not their life! “It”, is your life! Baseball, is your life. So speak up. Go to bat for what you love and separate the men from the boys. Does the game not deserve that? Stop trying to be a decent teammate for your team, and be a decent teammate for your game. Step on toes of those who don’t belong. The picture is bigger. Step into the box. Because your true team; the baseball purists. Their down right now.
A serene Saturday morning at the ball field, calm wind, sun slowly starting to thaw out the mist, not a single moment to be stressed out because “I'm playing the game I love so dearly,” right? This day could not be any more perfect, until that very first fastball is thrown to start the game. There is always that one parent in the stands, precisely standing out, or even off to the side. The one that needs to argue every single call, the one that needs to bellow at every single player, and even the one that goes so far as to telling the coach how to manage the game. As “that” parent, nothing seems to be perfect for you or your son whether it's not being committed, loss of playing time, or not even on the best team. When kids first sign up for baseball they do it to enjoy time with friends, to have fun, to learn how to master the game of “America's Pastime,” and to WIN with your team and teammates. Maybe your kid isn’t the next Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, or Mike Trout. Maybe he is the type of player to give everything he’s got so that when his time comes up, he produces profoundly. Nevertheless, those types of parents and players seem to have the complete opposite mindset which is completely killing the game slowly but surely.
In life nothing is going to be handed to you. You will fight for a spot, you will fight to see who the strongest individual is in the end. If you want, you can take the easy way out. You can transfer, you can change teams, you can complain, and you can even quit. The hardest battle you will ever have to fight in your life is between two things, who you are now, and who you want to be. If someone tells you that you are too weak, too slow, you have no arm, no power, tell them thank you because in the end it will make you a better player if you have the “grit” type of mindset. The type of players that will fail are the ones that sit in the corner and cry to their parents telling them that someone criticized you. Why not be the type of player who wants to be remembered that you worked your tail end off to beat out a player for his spot or beat out the people that thought you would fail? Maybe you aren't going to start in a game, maybe your position is the bench for that game and what people tend to forget is that the bench is also a position. As a bench and team player, you have a job and that's to pick each other up when down. When I hear people say I “sat that bench again” I always wonder, if you complain so much about it, do you actually take that position seriously? When your time comes are you ready or are you pouting on the end of the bench all alone?
The title “selfless” goes along way. I first heard it when I was coached by Jon Paino and he had told me, “Do you know what the word selfless means?” I sat quietly not knowing. “You are the most selfless player I have ever coached,” he told me. As in my own words, selfless is not caring of your own personal achievements rather it be the care and needs of others. What parents seem to care about in today's baseball world is stats. How is this guy’s batting average? What’s this guy's ERA? Honestly, they should be asking how the kid is as a teammate. Does he put the team first before anything? Or is he selfish? When you are selfless as a team, you can go very far. Why not consider the whole picture and not just one’s personal gains? “Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment” - Anthony Robbins.
I have valued and learned so much while playing for CBA on the front of my chest. For the future of CBA I want them to take what I learned and play the game unselfish. Learn to be the best possible teammate, and learn to celebrate others successes. By doing this, you will earn much respect and go very far in this short game. The game filters everyone out at sometime in their life. It may be high school, college or even the professionals, but in the end it will filter you out. Be selfless and learn to enjoy every moment you got because you never know when your last game will ever be played.
Team is defined as "A group of players forming one side in a competitive setting", nonetheless being a part of youth sports in the Millennials has created a false image of what a team truly is. In its purest form, a team is a group of people FIGHTING TOGETHER EVERYDAY for a desired outcome or cause. From a very young age children have been raised with a strong sense of entitlement to success and in turn belief for a prosperous future, however this is a new epidemic in America killing the game one participation trophy at a time. Vince Lombardi believed the key to a teams success is "Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work".
To begin, the internet has revolutionized not only the way the game is played but the plethora of awards and accolades have grown to mean much more than they ever did before. Statcast, spin rate and exit velocities are all perfect examples of how the game is changing in the twenty first century, at the same time the athletes involved are becoming attention seeking I guy's. In a game full of individuals, coaches rave the most about the individual who has the TEAM first, not himself. Beginning travel ball earlier and earlier, parents have began pushing kids subconsciously to chase those participation awards and personal accolades. Growing up chasing meaningless trophies and accolades kids have grown accustomed to simply showing up and being rewarded for it. This fault in our stars has began to destroy the unerring idea of kids wanting to fight together for a group effort and created lone wolves who fight for the name on the back of their jersey. To clarify, this mindset wreaks havoc most when things are going poorly. For example, a team recently came off a winning streak and has dropped two back to back one run games on misplayed bunt defenses. In our generation fingers will be pointed towards anyone but yourself and try to blame someone else on the team for the failures. These athletes have been given trophies for losing and participating since the get go of youth sports. Now faced with a few knockdowns and a few losses the entitled youth no longer battles to fight the good fight. The entitled youth believes they are too good to go put in extra work and the success should just come naturally. This not only inhibits young men growing into the world but paralyzes the future generations that will be fathered by the current athletes. As Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit", unknowingly youth sports builds the foundational character for all athletes involved. Referring to Aristotle's principle, if children are commended for losing and given praise merely for trying, they will expect the same from the real world & Oh, what a rude awakening that will be! Although not every player on a given team will feel entitled, the fact that a team is only as strong as its weakest link exposes that one kid who just will not buy into the team unity.
Another downfall of the Millennials is the stereotypical "My kid is D1 or my kid is an All Star" parent. Not only is this attitude detrimental to the child's development it creates a deep belief in the kid that he is too good for anything except what his parents believe he is. Sadly most parents do not see the harm they are causing on the kids attitude or mindset towards the game. I have seen with my own eyes, kids that will refuse to bunt because they are too big league to do anything but hit bombs. Where does this stem from? Throw on any MLB playoff game and there is usually a professional on that team who's a specialist and will bunt solely to help the team win, so why do these kids think they are too good for the little things in the game? Their parents have glorified the personal accolades and created a selfish ballplayer who would rather see his batting average go up before sacrificing his at bat for the team. The greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, couldn't win a championship for his first eight years in the league while cementing his own legacy and stacking up accolades. Once his team was filled with a group of guys ready to fight he went on to win six championships. There is no question that teamwork and group commitment brought Mike their 72-10 season with a clean run through the playoffs. And this is what made CBA so special, not only was the team filled with unselfish team players, it was a brotherhood. I can confidently say that the we were a group of individuals ready to die for one another and do whatever was needed to win the game.
Clueless to the work Michael really put in, a one minute commercial sums up how hard work creates success, not the modern belief that success will just come. "Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I led you to believe it was easy when it wasn't. Maybe I made you think my highlights started at the free throw line, and not in the gym. Maybe I made you think that every shot I took was a game winner. That my game was built on flash and not fire. Maybe its my fault that you didn't see that failure gave me strength, that my pain was my motivation. Maybe I led you to believe that basketball was a God Given gift and not something I worked for every single day of my life. Maybe I destroyed the game, or maybe You're just making excuses." This commercial epitomizes modern day kids feeling entitled as Michael talks to a group of athletes and lets them know that they're just making excuses! There is something inside every single one of us, and it us up to us to be patient enough and determined enough to bring the greatness out of ourselves. There is no shortcuts on the road to success, it is a long staircase that with the correct attitude is entirely manageable. CBA has developed a team first attitude and pushed every member of the academy to put in the work before expecting glory.
The Going to Bat Foundation is very excited to partner with the Mike Spiers Foundation to provide any player, locally, nationally and even internationally, the opportunity to participate in the sport through the donation of gently used baseball equipment.
Mike Spiers holds a dear place in our hearts as Kieran Lovegrove, one of the founders of Going to Bat and alumni of Mike Spiers’ baseball academy, credits Mike for where he is today; a minor league pitcher in Cleveland Indians organization.
“Mike was my mentor and the first person who believed that I could be a professional baseball player. He said, ‘you have every tool to be a major league player, but it’s up to you to commit to become that player.’”
“His trust and confidence inspired me to be the baseball player I am today, and I work to honor his memory on and off the field,” states Lovegrove.
Kieran was also the recipient of the 2012 Greg Kish Special Achievement Award for his charitable endeavors.
The Going to Bat Foundation, established in 2009 by three best friends who played baseball together, has helped players and teams as far as South Africa to Alaska, and many others in between.
It is our steadfast belief that the lack of a bat, a glove, or cleats should not be a barrier preventing anyone from playing the game they love.
Whether it’s the donation of practice shirts so a team feels unified on the field, or new cleats to the Boys & Girls Club after school program, the Going to Bat Foundation in partnership with the Mike Spiers Foundation is committed to leaving no baseball player behind.
MOST NEEDED EQUIPMENT:
* Bats, particularly BBCOR bats
* Catcher’s gear
* Balls – game and practice
* Equipment bags
Please do not donate broke or unusable gear. The purpose of the donation is to provide a player with the necessary equipment to play the game.
We accept equipment for all sizes and level of play, but particularly for the ages of 10yrs – 18yrs old.
I want to take the time to thank each of you for your support of the Mike Spiers Foundation over the past 3 years! At our last event at our 1st golf tournament this past June, we were able to present a $2,500 scholarship to a 2016 graduate who is moving on to continue his baseball career at Sonoma State University.
Our goal for 2017 is to be able to raise $15,000 in scholarship money to present to our players at next year's golf tournament and we are well on our way of reaching that goal by recently hitting the $10,000 mark!
Thank you again for your continued support of the Mike Spiers Foundation!
Mike Spiers Foundation
The 1st Annual Mike Spiers Foundation Golf Tournament will be held at San Dimas Canyon Golf Course on Friday, June 3 at 1:00pm.
In conjunction with CBA, we are proud to offer High School players the opportunity to earn community service hours and to give back to their youth program by promoting the game of baseball. We believe that all of the players in CBA's high school program have the exceptional ability to lead, and we would like to help them cultivate the confidence in an environment they are very familiar with... on the field with our younger players who look up to them.
In conjunction with the Mike Spiers Foundation, we are proud to offer our High School players the opportunity to earn community service hours and to give back to the youth in our program by promoting the game of baseball. We believe that all of the players in our high school program have the exceptional ability to lead, and we would like to help them cultivate the confidence in an environment they are very familiar with... on the field with our younger players who look up to them.
We are so grateful for the people and businesses that have been able to contribute to the Mike Spiers Foundation since 2013. Without the monetary support from our sponsors below, we would not be sustainable in what we do today
Crabbe Family (2016)
IBEW Local 18 (2016)
CBA Baseball (2013-2016)
Aladdin Bail Bonds (2015-2016)
Estrella Aesthetics and Surgical Arts (2016)
Tyler and Jill Falwell (2015)
Iconic Brands (2013-2016)
Mobilitie Communications (2015)
Mike Spiers Foundation
To get more information on the Mike Spiers Foundation, please visit www.mikespiers.org.
This was a phrase that my dad, Mike Spiers, used on occasion to help bring the best out of his players when they weren't taking care of business. Many times he would say it when guys wouldn't hustle to pick up bats or play catch with the outfielder. When we knew we had responsibilities as players and didn't execute them, he would lightheartedly remind us with that simple comment. We would respond with a smirk or a sarcastic comment, but also with an adjustment to make better decisions the next time around.
Those words became more than just a common saying for his friends, family, and players after his passing. Those words ring in our minds today as not just a way to take the field, but a way to approach life each and every day. There are times when I hear coaches from other teams use those same exact words in hopes to get the appropriate response from their players, and I find myself saying a lot of the same things my dad used to say to my players, including this phrase from time to time.
The legacy Mike Spiers left behind is immeasurable with the amount of people he touched and affected around the world through baseball and sport in general. There are countless young athletes that have played for him that have moved on to play baseball in the collegiate and professional ranks, but even more so that didn't. The life lessons we took home from team practices and gameplay were much more than just baseball skills and mindset. Each player that came up under his tutelage, understood a little more each day what it meant to be young men. Mike Spiers was passionate about his work in this game we all love, but even more driven to make sure each player in his program succeeded on and off the field. Up until his last days in the hospital, he would speak about how proud he was of the guys who played for him 20 years ago and where they were in life today. Some were talented and driven enough to make it to the big leagues, but he was equally proud of the many who became professionals in other areas, such as doctors, lawyers, or politicians.
After my dad's passing on January 18, there hasn't been a day that has gone by that someone hasn't come to me to tell me how he played such a positive role in their life. I'm am forever grateful for the many people that continue to remind me of how my father's legacy will continue to grow in our program and others. It is not the name of our program that represents him, his passion for the game, the love for his players and family. Rather it is the substance and the hearts of the men and women of our program that knew and loved him.
I want to thank each and every one of those who understand what we try to accomplish in our program and what my dad would have wanted for our players and families who are involved. When you get a moment, I would like for each of you to go to www.mikespiers.org, and sign into the guestbook. You are all apart of the Mike Spiers Family!
Mike Spiers loved baseball. He loved coaching kids. He loved teaching kids how to play this great game that we all love. He loved creating opportunities for players of all ages and he was fiercely competitive.
Mike was involved with Perfect Game from the very beginning and spent just as much time helping Perfect Game as he did his own programs. He sent hundreds of players to college and professional baseball and many of the players he helped never donned an ABD uniform.
Mike was never shy about sharing his opinion, and he did so intent on improving the game of baseball.
There was a player that Mike was adamant about and a guy we used to argue about all the time. I used to argue with Mike when I knew there was something he felt really strongly about, even if I agreed just to get him riled up. Mike was dead serious that this guy would hit in the big leagues. He just kept saying, "People don't realize how good this guy is." I knew he was a good player, but Mike knew he was special when the kid was 14 years old. That player was Allen Craig.
I used to aol chat with Mike from like 10 at night to sometimes four in the morning. I would copy the chat and paste it into a word document just to make sure I didn't forget all of the ideas that we talked about, or the teams that he said we should try and get.
Mike really wanted a baseball complex built in California. He was one of the happiest people I talked to when the LakePoint development became a reality.
I still can see Mike chewing on a straw telling me why he gets so many guys thrown out stealing bases. Yep, I argued with him on that one too.
I had so many conversations with Mike involving other parents about going to events, getting seen, and him selling our stuff again better than anyone. Mike did it the right way. His players loved him and the parents of his players did as well.
Baseball is and will continue to be the best game there is because of men like Mike Spiers. I know that Mike will continue to coach, continue to teach, and continue to live the game of baseball, because that was his life. I just wish baseball had more guys like Mike Spiers. Baseball lost one of our best ambassadors of the game and I lost a good friend. Rest in peace Mike Spiers.
Here are some other quotes from those that were close to Mike Spiers that responded to the news late on Friday evening:
"On behalf of SHOW Baseball may Mike Spiers rest in peace. The baseball world has lost a coach who made a difference. Dios te Bendiga Mike Spiers and ABD." ~ Hector Lorenzana
"Our prayers and thoughts are with his family." ~ Manny Hermosillo
"What makes me sick is that three nights ago I thought about calling Mike as a friend and nothing to do with baseball. Just because I hadn't talked to him in so long. I'm kicking myself right now. He was really good to me. I stayed at his house and roomed with him a few times. I worked closely together on the early PG California events. He got a lot of prospects who are now big league stars like Bryce Harper to do PG Showcases when they were real young.
"What most people dont know was he was an excellent cook. So good that i thought his fallback would be to open a restaurant or come out with his own line of foods because he would never share a recipe.
"The word is the same from all of the travel coaches and guys who helped us run events with mike. They all said to a man he was a good guy. A baseball guy. And their thoughts and prayers go out to his family and ABD. I shed some tears tonight." ~ Tyson Kimm
"(Mike) made the best chicken alfredo I have ever had to his day, and he also had an incredible salsa recipe. Mike did a lot of good for PG and kids. We lost a good one." ~ Jason Gerst