Spring training has started and the thing I’m most excited for this year is getting back together with the guys. We’re a team that is pretty young and unproven in a sense, but we’re a team that is hungry to make our name known this season. There are a lot of people outside our organization who think we’re not going to amount to much this year, but we as a team have high expectations. We’ve put in the hard work during the offseason and we’re putting it in today so we can put it all out there when it really counts.
But this is one of the biggest challenges we face as a team right now — people are going to count us out. We’re inexperienced; we don’t have too many big wins under our belt yet. And while those things do help you in this game, they’re not everything. We’re ready to show the world something different and we’re super excited about this opportunity.
Since my wife and I started a nonprofit called Kingdom Home over the course of the last year, I want to be able to support my wife and the organization while I’m playing. And I don’t see being more involved in this effort as a distraction or complication. Though it may mean less downtime for me, I see it as a blessing. It’s all the perspective you choose to take. Yes, it will mean more coordination, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s going to be an eternally rewarding mission. God breathed this home into life and we have the opportunity to see and be a part of it growing into fruition. In the process, we’re being drawn closer to Him. He’s providing every step of the way, so we know there’s no other way to go forward than to lean fully on Him.
Meanwhile, on the field, I’m personally really eager to grow in my own career and development during spring training. Last year, my slider took a big step forward, and now I want to do the same with my curveball. I’m putting the hard work in now so I can reap similar rewards. Rick Anderson, our pitching coach, has been really influential in my career so far. Even though he’s only been with the team for half a season, I’ve seen the impact he’s had on me. The way he goes about his business is impressive. He’s the same guy every day — helpful and insightful, caring about who we are as people on and off the field. I’m excited to work with him again.
But the difference isn’t made just by Rick, the entire coaching staff for the Tigers is incredible. These men have changed the culture of the team, making us each want to show up and work our hardest every day. We know they are right there next to us, ready to fight for us at any moment’s notice. They are present and helpful.
One of my teammates who has been super influential for me as well would be Jordan Zimmerman. Ever since he came through free agency to the team three years ago, he has impacted me greatly. He’s had a long career — he’s battled injuries, seen successes and struggles. But through it all, he’s been the same faithful guy. I’m grateful I can be around him and call him a teammate. He’s the kind of teammate I hope to be to others.
— Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers pitcher
Matthew Boyd is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Matthew’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/matthew-boyd/
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