Don't mention the law of averages to a young prospect. He can't hear you. He's repeating over and over Ken Kesey's timeless advice...."You are as big as you believe you are." The spring training invitation he holds in his hand is a golden ticket...a once in a lifetime opportunity. He has an edge...no doubt a product of his fresh perception that other players lack after years of numbing spring ritual.
A player giddy over his first spring training has little use for cold, sensible wisdom-Grandpa fisherman words. "Son, be patient. Take your time. You'll get your chance."
Young Johnny the hopeful is dreaming in four digit OPS and if he's a pitcher....spring scoreless streaks. And when the coast is clear of coaches, he saddles up his MP3 with straight ahead rap and roll...Eminem..."The moment...you better never let it go." He's gonna make this 25-man Brewers roster right now...this year...2011. He wants to be a part of it...wants to contribute to what he believes...what everyone believes will be a winning season.
The tired cliché that spring training doesn't count leaves fans, players, and managers in a hurry for April Fools Day. But tell me Carlos Gomez's 11 stolen bases without getting caught and .301 BA helped management overlook his need for glasses 11 months ago? So, who will it be this year, if anyone, and will it make the least bit of difference come opening day and an always unpredictable162 game grind?
With Ron Roenicke running the roost, you bet your Reggie Willits it makes a difference. The new Brewer skipper radar is forever tuned to "take an extra base frequency." And Logan Schafer may be just the prodigal son Run Rabbit Ron awaits. Then again, Schafer's minor league stolen base career percentage shamefully screams for a new Mendoza Line, one specific to runners (56%). And his 2010 was a complete bust due to groin/hernia injuries, but in 2009 he hit .313 with a .360 OB%. The 24-year old can take a walk too. Anyone else having spring dreams? From Scott Podsednik to Jacob Ellsbury to Brett Gardner to Logan Schafer. Pass it on. One things for sure.... Schafer will be the hungriest player in camp.
The Brewers may be the only team in baseball with slim chance openings at both shortstop and centerfield; two action packed positions that can ill afford absentmindedness or lack of interest. Melvin is apparently convinced of Betancourt's OK habit of hitting doubles and he did trade the popular J.J. Hardy for Carlos Gomez which in retrospect seems like a double negative whammy....but minds can be swayed again.
Spring training is the time players like Logan Schafer paste motivational clippings in their temporary (for now) lockers.... little newspaper listings projecting the Brewers 25 man roster. If the 2009 Brewers minor league player of the year lives up to his utility beer namesake and backs up corner outfielders, turns singles into doubles, slides head first with reckless abandon, and at least creates the illusion of reeking havoc on the base paths...Roenicke will do a double take and quickly send word to the skybox executive suite.