This summer has been a fun one for me as a baseball fan and Mizzou Baseball alum, as I’ve had two former teammates make their major league debuts in the 2013 season.
In addition to the already established Aaron Crow with Kansas City Royals, Nick Tepesch has been up all season with the Texas Rangers, while Kyle Gibson was called up to the Minnesota Twins not long before the 4th of July holiday.
While it was obviously a thrill for me to be able to play with all of those guys for multiple seasons in my three years as a Tiger, what probably makes them unique is the vast difference they have in their mentality, yet the obvious similar amount of success in their baseball careers.
Aaron Crow is probably about the most fiery player I’ve ever been around. It made no difference to him what hitter he was facing, he was as fiery as they come, and seemed to have various episodes of momentary rage any time a hit fell in against him.
In contrast, Kyle Gibson is a very enthusiastic baseball player. Kyle is constantly jumping around and having a good time on the baseball field. Even when pitching, you can visibly see the pure joy he gets from playing the game.
To round out the trio, Nick Tepesch is extremely calm and almost reserved, even when pitching. Very rarely will you ever see any emotion from Nick, regardless of the situation or outcome of a given at-bat.
While all three have very different styles of conducting themselves when they pitch, the common factors that exist are that they always believe they are better than the man they are facing at the plate, and regardless of what they do in between pitches, they know how to “lock it in” for each and every pitch they throw.
Most importantly, they are self-assured and trust in THEIR OWN plan on the mound. They know that what they do each and every time they step on the field, is what works best for them. Now, obviously there are days that the outcome goes in their favor and days that it does not. But, no matter what happens, they know that maintaining their own approach on an everyday basis is going to lead to much more success than not over the long haul.
Many young players may be told, or even feel on their own, that they need to act or portray themselves in a certain way in order to be successful. Yelling on the mound, or being cool and collected, quite frankly it makes no difference. A quiet and calm Nick Tepesch is just as competitive as an angry Aaron Crow, or an enthusiastic Kyle Gibson. They are just competitive in different ways. They are competitive in their own way.
At the end of the day, what is most important is being the person that allows you to have the confidence to face any hitter in any lineup, regardless of the situation, and to compete to the best of your ability each time out.