As a New York native, I’m quite accustomed to the fact that unlike other places, such as Florida and California and Texas, we cannot play baseball year-round. Playing baseball in the North is not easy, but I would probably say that it has actually benefitted me, as it forced me to play another sport. For me it’s basketball. It’s kept me in good shape, helped me stay pretty athletic, and helped me develop my killer (read: decent) jump shot that every 5’10” white guy needs to convince people he actually played basketball at some point in his life. But now that my basketball playing days are done, the winter has become a time of apparent disadvantage to myself and my fellow northern baseball players, up here where the cold and the snow usually confine us to our indoor facilities, whatever they may be.
Now, while some may look at baseball in the North as a disadvantage, I personally have found huge personal successes to take place during the winter. Even though for most of the winter I’m confined to our Auxiliary Gym at St. John’s, often with no throwing partner or catcher, just a portable mound, a bucket of baseballs, and a net. However, this is, as far as I am concerned, as good of an environment to get better in as any other. By doing this, I’ve been able to get thousands, even tens of thousands of reps in, maybe not at full force, but still creating crucial muscle memory. The other good thing about this method is that throwing to a net is unforgiving. A catcher may be able to frame pitches a little bit off the plate here and there to make them look like strikes, but a net does nothing of the sort. Throwing into a net forces you to be perfect, if you want to throw a fastball blacked out outside, you have to actually do it.
And last but not least, I think that the adversity we face up north overall gives us a little bit of a chip on our shoulder when it comes to playing teams that have been outside since January 15th, and that’s always a good thing.