(Editor’s Note: Matt is a five-year member of the Washington Nationals minor league system. He is a 2010 graduate of Hauppauge HS and was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra University in 2013. He has compiled a .258 AVG through five seasons.)
by Matt Reistetter
When my father passed away when I was 14–baseball saved me. When my girlfriend passed away when I was 16–baseball saved me. My mind is the strongest tool I possess. I can handle adversity. I can handle the grind.
A season in the minor leagues is a grind. Especially during August.
Every aspect of your life is strictly regimented to a set of routines you’ve established since Spring Training. Except on that day you get the text from the trainer, “No BP, no early work. Report at 6. Show and Go.” These days seem to always come just about the time you feel like your body and mind are going to crash. It hasn’t rained in 3 weeks and its 102 degrees in the Carolina League, so what do I do today?
For me, I need to recover my mind more so my body. Obviously you can stay in bed all day and rest, but that never worked for me. I always felt like I needed to distract myself through the adversity, and through the grind. I don’t want my day to get thrown off, so I’ll stick to a routine.
Since I don’t have to report until 6 pm, let me peel myself out of bed and get my day going. I feel like these are the days you need to take advantage of–especially mentally. When you hit game 100 and are in the middle of the dog days, everything seems to blend together and get monotonous. This is the day where I need to shock myself and help me through the push to September.
Like I’ve mentioned before, routines are a way of life in the minor leagues–from your early work, cage, BP, to eating and showering, everything is on a regimen and time. Now its 11 am and I have 7 hours until stretch, let me do something for me and take a step back real quick. Now this day isn’t a wash, but a twist in your daily schedule can be huge on your mental aspect. I’m serious; any chance I get to go do something slightly to change up my day and get away for a second really helps me stay in it mentally.
Fast forward to 4:30–just got finished walking around a mall I’ve been saying I’d go to for six weeks, then a new lunch spot, it’s been a great day. I’m refreshed, my body feels good, and now I’m excited to get back to the stadium and get ready for tonight’s game. We have stretch in about an hour so I’m going to get an abbreviated pregame routine in and maybe a quick workout to shock the body back into work mode.
It’s 7 pm now and I’m ready. I’ve prepared myself exactly what I needed to reboot. Yeah its August and I’m starting to get tired, but keeping my mind right convinces me otherwise. Your mind is the most powerful thing you possess, I have always believed that. When things go wrong, this game has always kept me even. I look forward to seeing what 2018 will have in store for me.