Hi guys, we have quite the treat today! One of my favorite ballplayers in the world has written a guest post for Next Level Ballplayer and I hope everyone gets a chance to read it.
Tim Dillard is in his 12th professional season and has enough hilarious stories to fill the MLB Network for months.
A few years ago when Tim decided to become a submarine pitcher in order to extend his career, I was the lucky guy that got to play catch with him multiple times each week.
When I say “lucky” I mean- It was one of the worst experiences of my life.
His ball moved so much that I was afraid for my life on just about every throw he made, ESPECIALLY when he was throwing at 100% and would casually say, “Hey Franco, can you crouch down for a couple?”
“Sure Tim… sure Tim.”
Anyways, Tim is a great dude with a sense of humor like few I’ve ever met. Follow him on twitter @DimTillard and be sure to check out his blog.
Enter Tim Dillard:
The term “crusty” in Minor League Baseball, refers to a weathered player who’s been playing professional for 10 or more years.
Anytime someone is to offer advice (wanted or unwanted), a person must reflect on their own experiences and story.
NAME: Tim Dillard
AGE: Somewhere between 31 & 32
GOOD AT MATH: No
CAREER: 12th professional season
CURRENT TEAM: Huntsville Stars AA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers
MLB SERVICE TIME: 1 year, 106 days, 4 hours, 27 minutes, 18 seconds (just a guess)
POSITION: Side-arm relief pitcher
FAVORITE PITCH: The one that gets an out
QUALIFICATIONS TO GIVE ADVICE: N/A
First, let’s all agree baseball is awesome. If you concur please continue reading. Regardless of replays or human error, the game is perfect. Sadly, EVERYONE that plays baseball is NOT perfect. That’s why there’s a Hall for a tiny group of players who have messed up the least amount of times.
My journey to professional baseball started in 1963. I was negative -20 years old at the time. It began with my grandfather hitting ground-balls to my dad out in the yard after work. With a glove in one hand and a bat in the other, he would hit my pops a hundred grounders a day. “G’daddy” would catch the throw with his glove hand, then toss it up and smack it with his bat hand. (a hundred everyday)
Dad’s work ethic plus my granddad’s willingness to encourage and participate, led to a generation of me wanting to play in the Big Leagues. Like my father, I had a mind-set to take the right steps to reach the goal of playing in the Show.
*Here are some misguided steps that could potentially hinder playing baseball at the next level:
“It’s too hot outside. I think I’ll play Gears of Halo Duty on Xbox all day!”
“I’m going to play tackle football at the park, and hope I fall on my throwing arm every time I’m slammed to the ground!” (take care of the wing)
“I’m thinking of just sleeping till noon!” (you can actually do this in pro ball)
“I’m watching the exciting Breaking Bad spinoff Fixing Good instead of watching boring Major League baseball!” (learn from the best in the world)
“I’m convinced I should always hydrate with soda pop!”
“I’m just as cool and brave as Johnny Knoxville!”
“I already know everything about baseball so my coach would be better off just appointing me ASSistant coach!”
(Parents hate this, BUT…) I had three reasons to motivate me for good grades. “A” to be eligible to play baseball. “2” to get a college baseball scholarship. And “D” to NOT be an idiot. (in that order)
I loved my senior teammates in high school. And after we lost in playoffs our last ever high school game, everybody cried. Not me. My mind-set was that high school was a right step I had to take to get me to the next level.
I loved my teammates in junior college. And after we lost in playoffs our last game, everybody cried. Not me. My mind-set was that junior college was a right step I had to take to get me to the next level. Whether that’s going to a four-year college to play baseball or signing professionally.
Years later, I realized that my teammates weren’t crying because we lost. They were deeply saddened that they may not be able to play baseball anymore. No more stepping in the box. No more warming up in the pen. No more toeing the rubber. No more tightening up the spikes. No more…
There have been several moments during my journey where teams haven’t wanted me, I couldn’t find a job, or I may need to retire. And those are very difficult feelings. But it’s those feelings! That fear. That fear of never being given a uniform again. That should motivate you as much as it does me!
And that’s the reason this old crusty career is still active.