Congrats to Brandon Laird, who just got called up to the New York Yankees today. Laird is a class act who plays the game right and deserves this great promotion. Here is my video with Brandon last year. Enjoy.
Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Brandon Laird of the New York Yankees.
On Sunday night, Brandon Laird was promoted from Double-A Trenton Thunder to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. He went home, packed his bags and left the next morning to meet his new team in Syracuse for his Triple-A debut Monday night.
He was nervous.
He then proceeded to go 4-for-4 with two home runs.
How did he do it?
He didn’t act how he felt. In the time that I spent with Brandon this season, I figured out one of his secrets.
When he is in a pressure situation, he takes a few deep breaths and tells himself that he’s been in this situation before, then “just does it.”
The first pitch he swung at went over the right-center field wall. Laird then hit two singles and another home run over the left field wall.
“I was just getting pitches to hit and putting good swings on them,” Laird said. “I know my zone. I look for my pitch. I got it a few times tonight. Hitting all over the field, that’s what I wanted to do.”
“I just wanted to put a consistent approach together, learn how they pitch me, how they pitch the players in front of me,” Laird said of trying to transfer that success. “Earlier in the game, I was (nervous). After that first at-bat, I settled down a little bit.”
Notice how many times Laird said the word, “just.”
The first time I spoke with the Yankee prospect, I asked him about his best home run. He gave a similar response, using the word “just.”
I then reached into my pocket and took out a folded piece of paper and showed it to him.
It said, “JUST.”
Am I psychic? No, I just know what it takes.
In peak performances, the athlete has a simple approach (something he can control) and then just trusts his swing.
Yogi Berra once said, “You can’t think and hit at the same time.”
Congrats, Brandon. Keep up the good work.
So here I am in the press box at the Trenton Thunder game. Tonight is a pitcher’s duel with Yankee prospect, Adam Warren of the Thunder (3-0, 2.95 ERA) versus Kyle Drabek of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, who threw a no-hitter earlier this season. Kyle is the son of Cy Young Award winner, Doug Drabek.
I spoke to Yankee prospects, Brandon Laird, Austin Romine and Adam Warren in the locker room before the game.
I asked them if they changed their approach when facing a pitcher that threw a no-hitter earlier in the season.
They all agreed that they wouldn’t change their approach. Anything can happen on any given day.
Laird said, “Today’s a new day, I’m just going to be patient and hopefully he’ll give me something good to hit.”
Austin Romine said, “He’s a good pitcher but it doesn’t change my approach. I’m still trying to do the same thing when I step in the box.”
And starting pitcher, Adam Warren said, “I just have to do my job, throw my game, I can’t control what the other pitcher does.”
So what does this mean to you?
Focus on the things you can control and don’t worry about the things you can’t. Anything can happen.
The Davids beat the Goliaths all the time.
Well, today was a special day.
Not only did I throw out the first pitch at the Trenton Thunder game; I also asked my girlfriend, Sarah McLoughlin to marry me after the pitch.
I went 2-for-2…I threw a strike and she said yes!
A very special Thank You to the Thunder staff and players, especially Bill, Krysten, Rachel, Dave, Justin Snyder and the great Brandon Laird for their help and support on this special day.
Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Brandon Laird, 3B for the Trenton Thunder (Double-A, New York Yankees).
Brandon Laird currently leads all of professional baseball with 77 Runs Batted In in 72 games.
He was named Eastern League Player of the Week and Player of the Month.
He was only the second Thunder player to hit for the cycle on May 26, including a walk-off home run.
Two nights ago, he hit a grand slam and a three-run home run (for the second time this season).
Did I forget any impressive stats? Probably.
I have been fortunate to spend some time with Laird over the past month. His numbers are amazing and his attitude is even better. He is truly a class-act and is mentally tough beyond his years.
After last night’s game, I spoke with Laird and he was telling me how he was in a bit of a “funk” last week.
I asked him how he got out of it and he said, “At first I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ then I thought about what I was doing well before and tried to focus on that. I just trusted that it would come around because failure is part of baseball.”
Laird was persistent in his approach and stayed optimistic. As most great athletes do, he focused on his effort, not his results.
I had to ask Laird about his streak and having the most RBIs in professional baseball.
“You know, I’m just taking it one day at a time. I have a plan, I try to hit the ball hard and have a good at bat,” commented Laird.
Tonight is exactly one month since I first spoke to Laird, which was the same night he hit for the cycle with a walk-off home run.
I will be talking to #29 again before the game and we’ll see if he can continue to stay hot with his bat. I have a strange feeling he will.
I’ve seen many amazing things in sports, but on May 26, 2010, I experienced the most amazing thing…well, almost.
I was selected to interview a player at the Mrs. G’s Very Important Blogger event at the New York Yankees Double-A affiliate, Trenton Thunder game. Little did I know, it turned out to be one of the Yankees’ top prospects, Brandon Laird.
We had a great conversation before the game in the hallway, next to the clubhouse, underneath the stadium. To checkout highlights and a video, click HERE. Laird then proceeded to hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run), with a walk-off home run with two outs, to win the game. It was only the second time someone hit for the cycle in franchise history. The reason why it was “almost” the most amazing thing I have experienced in sports was because I left when the game was still tied, 5-5. (I know, shame on me).
Well, this past Saturday night, amidst a whirlwind Special Olympics Summer Games weekend, I headed back over to the stadium, on, ironically, Special Olympics night. I again spent some time with Laird before the game.
When we were talking back on 5/26, I asked him what his best home run he ever hit was, and he said it was in a playoff game in high school.
The first thing Brandon said to me this past Saturday night was, “Remember last time you asked me what my best home run was? It was the night we spoke, when I hit for the cycle.”
We had another great conversation about success and mental toughness. He talk about his new routine and I asked the million-dollar question…
“What do you do when you don’t feel like doing your routine?”
“I just suck it up and do it anyway.”
Great answer, Brandon. And notice he used the “J” word…just.
In any great performance, they “just do it.”
When I asked Laird how he hit for the cycle, he said, “I worked my way to a hitter’s count and just got a good pitch to hit.”
Laird went on to become Eastern League Player of the Week and then Eastern League Player of the Month. It is amazing to see such an amazing athlete, but the thing I like most about Brandon Laird is not his athletic ability. The thing I like most about him is that he is a great person who has great character. He’s already in the Major Leagues, if you ask me.
Watch the video below for part of our conversation…
Brandon Laird is one of the top Yankee prospects. He currently plays for the Double-A Trenton Thunder and is leading the league in RBIs.
The other night, Laird hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run), including a walk-off home run (above) to win the game.
I was in the press box for that game, in fact, I spent some time with Laird before the game. I knew he was a top prospect, but what impressed me most was his character and attitude. Below are the highlights from our conversation.
Brandon Laird is 22 and comes from a baseball family. His brother, Gerald, is the starting catcher for the Detroit Tigers.
I started out by asking Laird about the best home run he ever hit.
“It was in a playoff game in high school, extra innings and I got a first pitch fast ball and just put a good swing on it.”
The key word is just. He “just” put a good swing on it. Laird and I talked about how peak performance happens when we have very little mental interference. You’re not thinking about your technique, your last at-bat, what people will think if you have a bad game or “what am I eating later?”
ET: Do you ever get nervous before games?
BL: I do. But then I take a couple deep breaths and tell myself that I’ve been in this situation before.
ET: Who is your favorite player?
BL: Growing up I was a big Chipper Jones fan and now I like Alex Rodriguez, as well.
ET: How did you get to this point in your career?
BL: Hard work.
ET: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger?
BL: A lot. The scouts at how well you do, but they also look at how poorly you do. If you go 4-4, that’s great, but if you can go 0-4 and still contribute on defense, be a leader and bounce back the next game, that’s even better.
ET: How is your nutrition?
BL: I actually started eating really well and lost about 25 pounds and it is definitely giving me more energy and helping me play at a higher level. It wasn’t easy, but I stuck to it.
Laird also shared with me the fact that he didn’t even make varsity in his first year of high school. “You can’t control that – you just have to go out and play your game and focus on the things you can control.”
Derek Jeter and Pete Rose also gave Laird some great advice (watch the video below).
As you know, after my conversation with Laird, he went out on the field and became only the second person in team history to hit for the cycle.
I could tell just by talking to Brandon that he had the right mindset and that he will go far. In fact, I gave him a copy of my book and signed it, “See you in the Bronx, Ed.”
Brandon Laird is a great player, but more importantly, he is a great person.
Watch the video below for part of our conversation…