Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What's Next?

       Alright, so since I retired, I've been asked multiple times, "What's next?"  I haven't really been 100% honest with the answer because, well, I didn't KNOW the real answer. But now, I've got a little better idea, so I thought I'd share.

       Right now the plan is definitely to coach somewhere...the big question is where. I'm currently talking with a couple guys from British Columbia, Canada, on working at two separate baseball academies (one is high school kids, the other is kids 7-15). Why Canada? Well, Julia (my girlfriend, for those of you who haven't been paying attention) is training up here until the 2012 Olympics, so for the time being, it would make both our lives a whole lot easier if we lived a little closer to one another. After she retires (whether it be after the 2012 or 2016 Olympics), we plan on moving back to Texas, at which point, I will hopefully find some sort of coaching job in the high school ranks (unless this academy thing up here takes off, in which case we'll have to rethink what we want to do.. Lol).

       Welp, that's the updated plan. Sorry its so short, but to be honest, I don't have much time to talk today....busy day of errands, meetings, and hangout time with Jules (she actually has a day off today! Lol).

       Until next time: "Yall be good."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Letting Go.

                When I picked up a baseball for the first time eighteen years ago, I had no idea how far this beautiful game would carry me.  I never dreamed that one day, it would help pay for my college education; never hoped that it would open the doors that it has; and I certainly never thought it possible that one day someone would actually pay me to play.  I was simply just a kid in the backyard playing catch with his dad; slowly falling in love with the game.

Since that fateful day in the backyard, my relationship with the game of baseball has been nothing short of a fairy tale.  This game has taken me places that I never thought I could go, and introduced me to some amazing people who have changed my life for the better.  It has shown me highs and lows like no other aspect of my life; lifting me up and humbling me, time and time again. 

That is why letting go and walking away is such a daunting task….but it’s something I have to do. 

There comes a point in every athlete’s career when they have to look themselves in the mirror and ask, “Do I really want to keep doing this?”  How long can I deal with the daily grind of training?  How long can I justify the time spent away from family and friends?  How long do I have before I miss out on certain career and life opportunities?  And most importantly, how long will I be good enough to keep competing?  In a perfect world, the answer is forever, but as you know, this is not a perfect world.

When I looked at myself and asked these very questions, the answers deep in my heart pointed towards retirement, which is why I have decided to hang up my cleats for good.  I still love and always will love playing the game of baseball, and I wish that I could continue playing forever, but I can no longer justify the sacrifices that come with playing professionally.   

                I would like to close by thanking the numerous coaches, teammates, friends, family members and fans who have stood by me from day one and helped me throughout the years, but most of all, I would like to thank my parents, William and Rhonda Minks.  The efforts and sacrifices they have made for me over the course of my career are immeasurable.  From my dad building an infield in our backyard and practicing with me as a kid, to my mom always knowing exactly what to say when I was down or discouraged; they have always done whatever they could to help me reach my goals.  And for that, I am forever grateful.    

Signing off one last time,

The Kid That Fell In Love With The Game

Monday, March 21, 2011

This Game

I know the posts on this blog are usually pretty lighthearted, but this one is going to be a tad different. So, if you came here looking for a laugh, you might want to stop reading. 

Last night as I was lying in my hotel room, I found myself thinking back on all of the locker room conversations that focused on one question: why do we put ourselves through this? Why do we continue this love-hate relationship with a game that has humbled us more times than we can count? 

I couldn't sleep, the thoughts and conversations were too I started writing. I wrote down my thoughts, hoping to find peace of mind. After 10 minutes of writing and rewriting, this is what I came up with. Some of you may not agree with it, but these are my thoughts.

This Game

We give you everything: our hearts, our souls, our blood, our tears. And for what? The dream of the bright lights and big stage? They've told us forever that, "with hard work you can accomplish anything." But you show us otherwise. You show us that sometimes no matter how hard we work, we aren't good enough; no matter how hard we try, we fail. But still we come back to you, wanting more. For even the darkest of days cannot hold back the shine of your big stage. We give you everything. Silently hoping that someday, you'll give back.     

- Shane Minks

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Land of 30 Mondays

                Growing up, I hated to fly.  And when I say hated, I mean it; my plane was ALWAYS the one that was going to crash.  Period.  (Maybe that had something to do with the fact that I was a small town kid who, “wasn’t used to those dang-flabbit ‘flying machines,’” but who knows).  Now that I’m older, I’ve come to enjoy and even appreciate flying: the alone time at my gate, the views from the plane, it’s all actually somewhat relaxing.  

Now I know this seems like a random piece of information (which you should be used to, since that’s all this blog is truly made up of), but I promise it is relevant to my situation right now.  As you may have guessed, I’m sitting at the airport waiting on my flight to Spring Training in Florida.  And as usual, I’m sitting at my gate two hours early (this has become somewhat of a tradition between my parents and I, they always think I’m going to miss my flight and insist on getting me to the airport hours before I need to, “just in case.”  I don’t know, maybe I’ll understand when I have kids).  Anyways, like I said, I’m sitting here at my gate with nothing to do, so I thought, “Hey! This would be a good time to be productive!”  But then my natural instincts took over and I decided to update everyone on my life via blog instead (being productive just seems so boring). 

Ok, so on with the update.  As I stated before, I’m on my way to Port Charlotte, Florida, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Spring Training Facility.  It’s hard to say exactly how I’m feeling right now, it’s a mixture: a little nervous, not knowing what to expect; excited to be back playing ball again; and anxious to figure out where I’ll be spending the season (I’m hoping to skip Low-A Bowling Green and make the High-A Port Charlotte squad, but I’ll be ok with either: anything is better than a real job).  Now, I said I don’t know what to expect because, well, I don’t.  All I’ve heard are horror stories about the early mornings and long hours you have to endure during the stretch of “thirty straight Mondays.”  I’m not really sure how much I buy into all the stories, but I guess you never know (I didn’t think fall practice in college would be that rough either until I ran into Coach Childress and Coach Deggs: they managed to prove me wrong each of my four years at Texas A&M).  I guess all I can do is just hope for the best and prepare for the worst; either way I’ll make it through.

Well that’s all I’ve got for now, but be on the lookout for updates as I make my way through Spring Training, I’ll try to give y’all as much insight about the goings-on as I can (I’m not sure how “top-secret” everything is yet, but I’ll do my best to pull some strings).  Also, if you enjoy my blog feel free to follow me on twitter (@BossMinks) or take a peek at my good friend Kevin Gonzalez’s blog as he explains the ins-and-outs of catching at Texas A&M (trust me, it’s pretty entertaining:  Until next time, “Y’all be good.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm A Pure Athlete...Duh.

                It is 9:27 pm on Tuesday, February 22, 2011.  Now, that may not mean anything to you, which is fine. But to me it means there is only 1 week, 2 days, 15 hours and 33 minutes left until I board a plane bound for Port Charlotte, Florida, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays' Spring Training Facility (the plane actually flies into Tampa, where I'll catch a bus to PC, but you get the idea).
                With that said, you're probably wondering what I've been doing to prepare myself for the grueling test that is Spring Training (and if you're not, just click off the page, because that’s all we're talking about in this post…I'll try to post something more to your liking next time).  Well, to tell you the truth, I have been doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  I mean, come on, have you seen me lately?!  There should be a picture of me next to the definition of "pure athlete."  As Domingo Ayala put it, "Es God-given."  Long story short, I plan to just walk on the field March 5th and make a team without picking up a baseball or weight all off-season.  Duh.  (if you believed any part of the previous rant, please click off the page and send me a e-mail…I've got some talking rocks you may be interested in purchasing).
                Ok, so now that we've gotten rid of all the uninterested and/or gullible readers, let's get serious (or at least try to).  Since my off-season started  in September, my workouts have consisted of only running and weight training; no throwing at all until mid January.  I have to say, I was pretty worried about not throwing for a four month period, but decided to trust the Rays' and their off-season program (Even though the lay-off from throwing seemed too long, I figured they knew what they're talking about).  Needless to say, my day-to-day was a little off without going to the field everyday to throw, but I managed to make it to mid January without touching a baseball (a HUGE accomplishment in my eyes). 
                Now, if I said that the first day back throwing felt great, wonderful, and all those other happy adjectives, I'd be lying.  I figured it would be like riding a bike, just hop back on and everything will just magically come back; but I was dead wrong.  Simply put, everything felt awkward (I'm sure I looked something like a five year old learning to throw in the back yard).  But after a couple days, it all started to feel natural again and I began to resemble a professional baseball player (notice I said "resemble" and not "look like," I still had a lot of work to do).  The middle of February brought my first full bullpen session, which went a lot better than I had hoped.  For whatever reason, everything just fell back into place:  I had good movement on my fastball, my slider was sharp, I could actually throw my change-up, and did a pretty good job of locating all three.  As you may have guessed I was pretty pleased.  All I had to do was keep it up and keep improving every day.  
                So that brings us to today, I am currently spending some time with my girlfriend in Canada (she's training in Victoria, British Columbia, for the 2012 Olympics......and yes, that was me bragging).  But don't think for one second that this is a vacation, I've been in the gym every day putting the final touches on my off-season training (big thanks to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence and the Victoria Eagles Baseball Club for letting use their facilities during my stay). 
                That's all for now guys, not sure whether or not you'll hear from me again before Spring Training, but I'll be sure to post weekly updates while I'm in Port Charlotte.  But until then, "Y'all be good."      

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Back!

Well, howdy strangers! First off let me apologize for my extended absence (I’m sure some of you have been lost without a constant update of the goings on in my life).  I’ve been pretty busy traveling and training the past couple months, and I kind of let the whole blogging thing slip my mind, but I promise I will do a better job of keeping it updated from here on out (or at least until I get busy again). 
            Alright, so let’s get down to business; we have a lot of catching up to do. Since my last post a couple things have changed: I’m no longer working and I’m not longer living in College Station.  Why, you ask?  Well, because Spring Training is only THIRTY-SEVEN DAYS AWAY!!  Ya, you guessed it: it’s time to get down to business.  But before we get into the training side of things, let me give you the scoop on where I’ve been hiding the past couple months. 

            First up was a trip to Canada over American Thanksgiving weekend (not to be confused with Canadian Thanksgiving which takes place about a month earlier).  I had the opportunity to spend five days in the Toronto area to watch my girlfriend (Julia Wilkinson) swim in the Canada Cup (the short-course national championship).  It was my first time (other than walking into Mexico as a child) to travel outside of the country and I have to say that Southern Ontario really wasn’t much different from what I was used to back in Texas.  I mean, yea, the people talked funny and laughed when I said “ya’ll” or “ma’am” but for the most part I was still able to find the comforts of home (McDonalds, Starbucks, hell they even had a Texas Roadhouse).  However, one thing that did surprise me was the terrain.  I don’t really know what I was expecting, but what I found was the same type of open farm land between big cities that I had left in Texas (of course, there was a tad bit more snow on the ground).  All in all, my first trip to Canada was an enjoyable one, but in the grand scheme of things it was more of a “trial run” than anything (before you say it, I know what some of you are thinking: “why is he calling his trip to be with his girlfriend and watch her swim a ‘trial run?!’ That’s insulting!” I promise that’s not what I meant and there is a reason for me calling it that….just keep reading).  You see, I called it a “trial run” because I was set to make a much longer trip up in late December.  That trip was the big one, for I was going to meet Julia (my girlfriend, for those of you who weren’t paying attention earlier) and her entire family for the Christmas holidays (entire family meaning EVERYONE, not just immediate family).  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous.

            As expected, my second trip up to Canada was both hectic and nerve-racking, but once again I had a great time.  Julia’s family was very accepting of her “Texas Boyfriend,” and welcomed me with open arms.  I was also able to experience a few more Canadian novelties this go around, the two big ones being Niagara Falls and POUTIN (pronounced “pooh-teen” for my southern readers….I thought it was “pow-tin” too the first time I saw it).  Now I’m sure that most of you have heard of or even seen Niagara Falls, so I don’t have to explain how beautiful and powerful the Falls are.  Poutin, on the other hand, is something that I’m pretty sure none of you had heard of until you read about it a couple sentences ago.  Now I have to admit, when I first heard the ingredients for this dish (French fries covered in brown gravy and cheese curds) I was a little turned off (and when I say a little, I mean that there was no way in hell I was trying it), but after Julia’s constant prodding, I finally caved in and gave it a go.  Wow.  That’s all I could say after tasting my first bite, and now that I think about it, how could I not like poutin?  I mean, it combines three of my favorite foods: French fries, gravy, and cheese (had they thrown some bacon on top we REALLY would have been in business).  As for the rest of the trip, everything was great: I took a trip with Julia up to her family’s cottage, I went crazy-carpeting for the first time (basically sliding down a steep hill on an ultra-thin piece of plastic – no control whatsoever), and I got to meet the family that has helped her become the great person that she is today.  Long story short, the trip couldn’t have gone any better. 

And then, in the words of Eminem, I “snapped back to reality.”  Hard.  After my second trip up to Canada in as many months, it was time for me to move away from College Station, which had served as my home the past five years.  I would have loved to stay, but I wasn’t able to find a lease that ended in March, when I left for spring training. Just like Biggie Smalls, I was “going, going, back, back to…..West Columbia?!”  Damn.  Never mind, I am not like Biggie Smalls (and I promise that’s the last time I will quote a rapper on this blog).  

So that’s where I am today, living at home in good ole West Columbia, Texas.  It’s not as bad as it sounds, I get to spend time with my family (who I haven’t seen much of since I started college ball in the fall of 2006), I have a place to workout, people to throw with, and there are zero distractions (which also means zero fun, but oh well).  So really, you could make the argument that I’m actually in a better training situation now than I was in College Station (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself). 

Well I think that’s enough for one blog post.  Hopefully you’re all caught up now and have gotten the fix of semi-useless information about the goings on in my life that you crave so deeply.  Until next time, this is Shane Minks signing off: “be good.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

To Be Decided....And That's Final!

So as you may have noticed, I still have not come up with a final name for my blog (for those of you who haven’t noticed, its been titled “TBD” this whole time).  Well, that all changes today.  From today forth, the title of my blog will be…TBD (I know, kind of anticlimactic, right?).  Now, before you jump on me for being “unoriginal,” let me explain myself.  I have been searching high and low for a title that would be both clever and fitting for my personality, but the more I looked at my life and blog, the more I started to understand that I already had a fitting title.  You see, my life thus far has been nothing short of unpredictable (at least he past few years have been), so I decided why not just call it what it is: “To Be Decided.” 

On a lighter note, I’d like to send a birthday shout out to my dad, William (November 21) and my mom, Rhonda (November 27), love you guys!  Also good luck to my girlfriend, Julia, as she competes in the Canada Cup of swimming in Toronto this weekend (I’ll be there watching, so if you don’t hear from me for a while, I’m probably frozen somewhere in Canada..).

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now Internet World, so until next time: “Be good.”