As with most aspiring college-bound athletes, the Florida States, Miamis and Floridas of the world are really out of the realm of the normal everyday Joe.
My last “Insider” was sort of a step-by-step process on how go about “marketing yourself” so that the schools find you.
But how does one know which school is the right choice?
Let’s assume you were in the same position I was: some talent, but small in stature with a mediocre fastball, a decent change-up and a curveball that some said was good.
The dream of big-time college baseball is great, except you have to be realistic about your abilities, your goals and what type of school you will be attending.
Your options are as follows:
Your talent doesn’t necessarily determine what Division or Association you play for, as there are top tier teams in each.
For example, I played at York College in the Midland Collegiate Athletic Conference. We were an NAIA school in the same division as Bellevue University and Kansas Newman University—two perennial Top 25 teams in the nation.
The competition out there is elite, and four years at a school that is not televised on NBC or ESPN is not the worst thing in the world. This is evidenced by the numerous professionals produced by the Bruins.
For what it's worth, here are some notable NAIA alumni that might raise some eyebrows:
- Tommi Agee
- Luke Appling
- Paul Assenmacher
- Tim Belcher
- Marvin Bernard
- Vida Blue
- Lou Brock
- Kiki Calero
- Jeff Francis
- Keith Foulke
- Tommy John
- Ray King
- Jerry Koosman
- Gene Lamont
- Jason LaRue
- Dave Lopes
- Hal McRae
- Joe Niekro
- Phil Niekro
- Gaylord Perry
- Lou Pinella
- Mark Portugal
- Dan Quisenberry·
- Rick Reuschel
- J.C. Romero
- Mike Timlin
- Randy Velarde
- Pete Vukovich
- Lloyd Waner
- Bob Wickman
- Tony Womack
If you have talent, the scouts can and will find you. There is nothing wrong with attending a smaller school where you can start for four years without redshirting. Instead of riding the pine and trying to impress in only two years on the field as a junior, take your lumps and become a stronger person.
My first two years, I literally took a beating on the mound.
York College was a rebuilding program that allowed me the opportunity to start as an 18-year-old. With that comes a process where losing becomes the norm.
Year 3 is where progress is made and the team begins to function as one. Winning follows, statistics improve and accolades are rewarded in return. Before you know it, that dream of playing professionally doesn’t seem so far off.
Click here to view my personal progression while attending York College between 1998 and 2001.
Remember, the game is played the same wherever you go. And, to use myself as an example, I didn’t have all the ability, but had the heart and hustle to try and outwork those better than me.
Feel free to send me your comments @ Devon@thegmsperspective.com. I would love to hear the stories of others who have been through this journey or those about to start their own.
Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective