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“This is what I was born to do. I’m a baseball player.”

Mar 10, 2011, 4:06 PM EDT

New York Yankees' Chavez flips the ball toward Nova covering first on a grounder hit by Philadelphia Phillies' Polanco during MLB spring training game in Clearwater

AP writer Howie Rumbergap — which is a FANTASTIC sportswriter name, by the way — talks to a number of former big baseball names who are now the marginal types in spring training camps across Florida and Arizona.  The Mark Prior/Mike Hampton/Bartolo Colon/Eric Chavez types.  After noting that, despite the fact that many of them had either quit or said they would quit before, they’re all still plugging away, Eric Chavez explains it:

“This is what I was born to do. I’m a baseball player. I’m not going to be able to do it a lot longer in life and I just want enjoy it and try to finish it out as best as I can.”

This puts a slightly different spin on the “he’s a ballplayer” stuff from the other day.  One that suggests commitment, be it quixotic or otherwise.

These guys have way more of their identity tied up in what they do than the vast majority of us who sit in front of computers and crack wise all day.  That’s both good and bad, of course, depending on how extreme the commitment and whether it’s a motivating force or one that skews perspective and leads one to make bad life choices.

But it’s one of the many things that draws me to baseball.  These guys are just wired differently than you and I. And I find it fascinating.

  1. kellyb9 - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Well, its not like any of them are going into tax accounting or computer engineering after this. This is their career, and it’s over at an exceptionally young age. I can certaintly empathize with the desire to keep that going as long as possible.

  2. coachbrew - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    The writer is Howie Rumberg. It probably came over the wire as Howie Rumberg (AP) and the parentheses were lost somewhere.

    • jkcalhoun - Mar 10, 2011 at 8:50 PM

      Who takes the time to vote thumbs down on a comment like that? It’s a correction of a statement of fact — is there anything there to opine on?

      Could there be a thumbs-down bot lurking around these parts?

      Vote thumbs down on this comment if you’re a bot.

  3. florida76 - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Baseball isn’t unique in this regard, you find same situation across all sports. Marginal players who have a drive to keep competing even though the odds are against them. In reality, this passion for the game isn’t any different than the real world, all top performers have the same hunger to excel.

    Athletes and people in the real world who are too laid back, and fail to have the passion, inevitably fail to achieve their potential.

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 11, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    When it’s all said and done, they have decades to not play baseball in the later years in their life. Why not play it as long as someone gives them a uniform? As long as you balance it out with family, if you have one. Competitors never really lose that edge within them.

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