If you feel like you’re not getting the attention that you deserve, do something about it.
No really, do something.
Instead of complaining about not getting noticed or a lack of offers, put in the time outside of practice. The time where no one else is there and no coach is forcing you to put in the effort.
If you do this, I can promise you, someone will notice.
With my career, this is how I finally found a way to break through. Growing up between Colorado and California, I didn’t really think I had a chance at playing college ball until my junior year of high school. I had just transferred back to Newport Harbor High School in Southern California and I started to get some attention from universities.
But this didn’t just suddenly appear. After not really getting any attention early on, I spent countless hours trying to improve my game with coaches, where I worked hard so that my game would earn the attention I believed I deserved.
And when my junior season started, the hours after practice showed. People began to notice.
I began to get offers from multiple universities that seemed impossible months before that season. One of these offers came from a school I had grown up watching, Cal State Fullerton.
Growing up in SoCal as a baseball fan, there was always the Angels for me, but I was very familiar with Fullerton as well. A school that repeatedly was on the national stage in baseball, it was hard not to.
When I received the offer, it immediately became difficult to look anywhere else. With the opportunity to stay close to my family and a program that develops professional level talent, there was nowhere else that appealed to me the way Fullerton did.
So with my junior season coming to a close, I chose to sign with the University and end my recruitment.
Making that decision was one of the best things I’ve done in my life. The only problem was that I made it so early.
With a scholarship locked up, I found myself starting to coast.
It wasn’t that I wouldn’t give it my all during practice, but I was no longer putting in the same amount of work outside of team workouts, which was the exact thing that allowed me to succeed.
As a result, I saw my progress start to pull back. I was just trying to throw as hard as possible, instead of actually working on my pitching technique. I thought that since I had the offer, I no longer needed to try to progress my game.
But this was exactly when I should have increased my efforts.
With my senior year finishing up, I still had the scholarship and also ended up being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. I was honored by the selection, but I still felt I had a long way until I reached my full potential. I had slacked in my last year and I didn’t want that to continue.
Arriving on campus, I quickly realized that the level of play was on a whole different level. Even with the work I was putting in, the new environment was overwhelming at times. While trying to soak in everything the coaches said, I found myself in the middle of the most difficult three months of my life.
At the end of the fall, the team came out with a ranking system that allowed every player and coach to rank players from first to last at their position. I knew I wasn’t performing as well as I would like to, but I didn’t expect what came next.
When the rankings were posted in front of the whole team, I came second to last.
I was embarrassed, disappointed, and angry.
It was now clear where I stood on the team and that wasn’t acceptable to me. I was determined to never let that happen again. From that moment, I decided I wanted to raise my effort and put in every extra hour I could again.
By doing this, and not complaining to my coaches, my game started to evolve once again. And the coaches began to notice.
By the start of the season, I was starting to get an opportunity to play. I was still having struggles, but I hoped the work I was putting in would eventually pay off.
With a weekday start against UCLA, I finally found the success I was looking for. Throwing a scoreless game against one of the top teams in the country, I got the confidence that made me feel ready for the college level.
With this initial success, I received another opportunity. One of our weekend starters went down with injury, giving me the opportunity to earn his spot. By producing several more successful outings, I showed what the extra hours had done for my game.
But with this success, I didn’t even think about coasting. I remembered the last time that had happened to me, and I was determined to never fall into that trap again. Instead, I just increased the time I was putting in.
This mentality is what has led me to the success I have had throughout my career at Cal State Fullerton.
From earning the Friday night starter role my sophomore year to helping our team reach the College World Series during my final season, I was always looking to put in the work outside of practice to earn that success.
With that success, all I can hope for is that I will be remembered as a True Titan. Along with guys like Justin Turner, I want people to believe that I gave everything I had to the program. No matter where my career ends up, in my mind I will always be a Titan, so I hope others will view my career in the same way.
And for me, that’s the biggest honor anyone could give me.
Connor Seabold | Contributor