The “Zen of Baseball” May get MLB Outfielder Back on Track

blue jays outfielder Travis snider

24 year-old Travis Snider

2011 was one of the worst years for Blue Jay’s outfielder Travis Snider


Snider, 24, has been considered one of Toronto’s top prospects since he was a first-round draft pick in 2006. But he has yet to produce consistently in the majors. He had the starting job in left field, and lost it two times to teammate Eric Thames. When he was sent down to the minors, Sniders season quickly ended after he was diagnosed with tendonitis in his right wrist.

At this point, I can’t even imagine how he felt. From being a starting left-fielder in the MLB, to being cut and sent down to the minors where he eventually injured his wrist. Questions must have been running through his mind like, “Will I ever make it back to that level?” or “Will I be forgotten about by the MLB?”

This has to be such a let down for any major league baseball player. Imagine spending your entire life training and making your way to the major league level, and then having them tell you that you are not good enough, twice. This can cause someone so much stress that it can possibly lead to depression.

Travis Snider decided that he was not going to allow this to ruin his career, or his life. This is when he started leaning towards Zen.

He was first introduced to the art of Zen while reading a book written by a  former Blue Jay’s outfielder, Shawn Green. The book is called “The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 MPH” in which he talks about how the game of baseball taught him to be “in the moment” and how to find inner stillness.

After reading this book, Snider explained how he quickly became interested:

“That kind of propelled me into a few other books,” said Snider, who is competing with Eric Thames for the starting job in left field. “I had read that book right before I got called up. I couldn’t put the book down and read it twice. It was not just an enjoyable read for me but I was able to relate to a lot of things.”

He also said that all of his learnings of Zen applied to his own life:

“I don’t claim to be Buddhist or any particular religion from that sense,” he said. “But I definitely was able to take some things and put them in perspective . . . Our minds as competitors can get the best of us at times and (it’s a matter of) being able to take a step back and saying. ‘OK, I’ve done everything I can do to this point, just go out and play. At times, it’s easier said than done but that focus that you are able to refine over the years of experience is what’s key for me moving forward in my career.”

Now as spring training begins this month, Snider believes that he was given a second chance. He will be battling with Thames once again for the starting spot in left field. He feels that his injury in the minors could have been a blessing because he learned so much in his time away from baseball.

“Maybe it was a blessing in disguise,” Snider said of the season-ending injury. “It gave me some extended time to spend with some friends and family and doing some good self-reflection and really putting things in perspective.”

One of them is going to make it, and one of them is going to be cut. Two left-handed batting left fielders will not be needed to roam the outfield in Toronto. Whatever the outcome happens to be, Snider is mentally prepared for it.

Source: The Star

 

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Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.


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