The off days you get during the post-season are hectic. It can be hard to balance everything you need to balance during these times. Here are the things each player needs to get done on a travel day:
- Get your work in. Most guys during the season, when given an off day, do one of three things: A, go out the night before and get after it at the bar; B, plan a nice family day on the off day; or C, nothing at all. During the post-season its a lot different than regular season. You will have a workout and it is usually in the morning or the evening. They don't want you up to early or up to late. With this workout players need to stay in their routine. If they need to throw a bullpen then throw a pen, if they need rest, then throw a little, hit a little and spend a little time in the training room.
- Play a little. I am a big fan of having fun. Everyone knows this situation is huge being in the playoffs and on the road, but what good is it sitting in your room over analyzing the situation? Take your wife out for a nice meal, or you go with some of the guys for a nice meal. Go easy on the alcohol and come in at a reasonable time. This will allow the players to step away from the stress – but not step too far as to slip out of touch with what the task at hand is.
- Call your parents. Get it out of the way if you haven't all ready. During the '08 playoffs my wife handled all my family. I didn't talk to them until after the series was over. I did call my parents on the off day and spoke with them for 15 minuets. Your friends and family will never understand why you're not answering your text or why your wife answers them, so don't try to explain it to them. If they are real family and friends they will see you still loved them you were just busy.
- Sleep. Get it in the long season, the long playoffs. Get that beautiful, healing sleep in.
I would have to say that the most important thing is to not make things bigger than they are. As baseball players we must remember that it is still playing baseball. There are no seven run home runs or no game-clinching wins in game one. Just play the game to the best of your ability and the rest will come with it. Stress is what YOU place on YOURSELF. This is what younger players learn getting older.
When you're young you feel like baseball is the ONLY thing in the world. When you get older you realize that things are more important than the game. Do not get me wrong: winning is awesome and the main goal but if you place to much importance on the need to win you will put to much stress on yourself. In this case less is more.
Seth McClung pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2007-2009, but broke into the Major Leagues with Tampa Bay in 2003. The West Virginia native is now a pitcher in Taiwan.
McClung, a popular player during his time in Milwaukee, remains connected to Brewers fans through this blog on OnMilwaukee.com.
"Big Red" will cover baseball in a way only a player can, but he'll talk about other sports, too. The 6 foot, 6 inch flamethrower will write about life outside the game, too.