Like Little Leaguers Again – Mark DeRosa

Someone told me yesterday that I hadn’t had a walk-off hit since 2007, and I joked, “I haven’t played since 2007.’’ That’s kind of how it feels, like I’ve been away from the game forever.

For two years, I’ve been running onto the field for everyone else’s heroics. Finally I got to come through with the game-winning hit Tuesday night.

“Show me some love!’’ I said to the guys when they rushed at me. “I want you to come get me this time!’’

A moment like that makes us all Little Leaguers again. The most grizzled veterans are leaping out of their shoes. It’s a moment of pure fun and excitement, and it recaptures everything we love about the game and why we ought to be grateful every single day that we get to do this for a living.

The irony of getting that big hit is that I had stopped trying to muscle the ball, something I realized just wasn’t working with my post-injury wrist. Pride and ego get in the way sometimes when you come up to the plate. You want to hit a home run; you want to drive the ball; you want everybody to go crazy. But I needed to concentrate on shortening my swing – basically taking a two-strike approach to all of my at-bats. It’s more like playing pepper with the ball. And these pitchers are throwing so hard that they supply the power for me.

I’m also a guy who likes being at the plate when the game’s on the line. You see certain guys shy away from it, and certain guys accept the responsibility. I once asked Derek Jeter why he’s so good in big situations. He said, “There’s nothing that’s going to happen out on the field tonight that hasn’t happened before. I’ve played great and I’ve played terrible. It’s going to be somewhere probably in the middle.’’

So that’s what I tell myself when I go to the plate: Just relax, have fun, soak it in.

And it’s working. I read all the stuff people were writing that maybe my career is over. But I didn’t feel that in my heart. And Tuesday’s hit, and frankly the way I’ve been hitting in general lately, is validation that I can still contribute.

The most dangerous part of Tuesday night came after the walk-off knock when Pablo launched into his crazy handshake with me. He has a different one for every guy. Mine ends in two forearm bashes, and let me tell you, Panda is throwing some lumber. But I was prepared and escaped with no breaks or bruises.

A few thoughts about Panda:

Everyone talks about his offense but he’s having a great year defensively, too. He has ungodly talent. As he matures and gets smarter and hopefully listens to Beltran a little bit, I expect to be watching him in the All-Star Game for a long time to come. The best compliment I can give him is the ball sounds different coming off his bat than it does with 99 percent of the players. And he loves the game so much it’s contagious. You can’t measure the value of someone like him in the dugout and in the clubhouse.

 

Thanks for reading. Heading to the field. See you back in San Francisco.

-Mark

28 Comments

So fun to watch you get these big hits lately. And trust me, we’re enjoying watching Panda in the field too!

So THAT’s what you were saying to the dugout after you rounded first. :)

I really enjoyed the text. :)
Do not stop playing .. or better … do not stop having fun!

That was a big win for the Giants and especially for you, Mark! You’ve had a rough past two seasons but we look forward to a healthy, renewed DeRosa (and this post definitely attests to just that!) You bring great morale and leadership to the team. Keep it up!

Congrats Mark, we are all behind you, youve been hitting great, keep it up!!

Feels good, doesn’t it. Glad to see you out there after all you’ve been through.

Mark, you are what makes this game so fun to watch! A great lesson for all of us to never give up on your dream. If you had given up when people were saying you were through, you wouldn’t be here today…clutch hits, awesome defense, and all that is good about baseball!!

Mark – Thank you for taking the time to write thoughtfully and well. The fun that baseball provides is living. Hold on to Little League with every fibre of your being.

Great blog post Mark. I want you to know that I am so happy that you are playing again. I can see how much you love this game and this team and I couldn’t be happier for you. Go Giants!

Always knew you had it in you. It was just a matter of time and opportunity before you made another game winning hit. Nice to see you’re back!

Saw it at the field and my boy was there, we almost left, it was so late, but we stayed and I’m so glad we did!! It’s great to see you playing so well Mark!

You ROCK! I was also wondering what you were saying LOL I love that you’re proving people wrong!

so happy for you Mark!!

Good for you, Mark! You are a true professional, and inspirational. Don’t know too many people who would still go out and do the work and make the adjustments after the last injury.

I love reading your blogs – you have such a down-to-earth attitude. And I love your animation in the dugout. Congrats on your successes both at bat and on the field recently. It’s great to hear that you are really appreciating this and soaking it all in.

And this is exactly why De Rosa is one of my most favorite Giants. I was at that game and my friend asked me who my favorite player was and I said De Rosa for his heart and passion and absolute love of the game. Keep it up! And thank you for all you have done for the team.

Mark– I can’t express how happy I was to see your big great smile after YOUR heroics the other night. SF Giants don’t underestimate your contributions even off the field. But your sheer determination is truly inspiring. I wish you continued success and many more years of better health.

I’m so happy that you guys look like you’re having fun out there again, especially after such a rough time. Really good to see Panda’s smile and all your enthusiasm and love for the game again, you guys were beginning to stress me out (lol). I also LOVED the title of your blog entry. I saw the Little League World Series champs on Jimmy Kimmel the other day and they were adorable!

It’s players like you that make me love the game of baseball. As much as I enjoy watching players who are expected to do well, actually do well, I think I enjoy players that aren’t expected to do much, do well more. hah

So good to see you back on the field! Been a big fan since your days as a Cub . . . we even drove all the way to Toronto to see you in the World Classic, and you didn’t play that day. :( Love your enthusiasm and how you keep the clubhouse spirit up. Would love to see you play everyday again.

We loved your personal response to your walk off….I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t enjoy seeing your smile and the antics that followed. I love a player who plays from his heart and it’s evident you do. It’s not over, it’s just a new beginning for you…best of luck and keep it going!!

It’s great seeing you out there again, and it’s great to see everyone smiling for a change. It feels like we haven’t seen such a positive, light attitude in the dugout in ages – even though it’s only been a month or two. Congratulations, Mark!

This was so nice to read… congrats to you and the team… it’s a pleasure to see you in the game contributing.

You still got it, Mark!! Excellent job on Tuesday night. Looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out. Keeping the faith! :D

Your enthusiasm for the Game is, as ever, scintillating! To read your words and “hear” your excitement about your big walk off hit, made ME feel so happy for YOU. I moved back to my hometown of Chicago after living in New Jersey right when you joined the Cubs. I was immediately taken by your “love of the game”; that KID in you that just beemed excitement to be at the Friendly Confines every day. I have been a fan of yours every day since. It broke my heart when you were traded from the Cubs. But I’m glad you’re with San Fran. My younger brother and his wife live right off of the Marina, so I get out West once in a while. Still, it’s more difficult to keep up with your progress, but I am so genuinely happy for you Mark. You are one of the good guys and you really deserve some more time back at that game you love so much. God bless you and your beautiful family. Smack one for me, Lynne

Hi Mark,
I just discovered this blog today. Wow, already knew u were a scholar (Wharton) athlete (QB 9-0 record, bb, etc.), but wow, what a writer! You and Brandon should write all the Club’s communiques!

Wanted to say CONGRATS to you for the big clutch hits of the past few weeks! Have always appreciated your D (one of my fav plays of the year w/ you @ 3B wz your “assist” to Huff, madly screaming/pointing back to 1B for the out, as he was preparing to throw to 3B, in Chi against Cubs.)

Wish all the hitters would read your account of what hinders a hitter at the plate; the irony of hitting more effectively is to not try so hard to impress (ego, pride, etc).

We need you back here next year! Your PH’s r awesome. Our young Brandons, Bretts, etc. need your wisdom and guidance. (oh, and pls bring Edgar w/ you too! The clubhouse needs you both.)

Hope you will have time to make one last entry in this blog before the season officially ends, if not, Thank You for taking the time to spend a little time w/ the fans via this blog.

————————-
P.S. could you pls have a pep talk w/ Belt? He seems very “off” lately, probably dwelling too much on unsuccessful AB’s, and just not doing his usual “see ball, hit ball” thing.

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