March is here, and you know what that means — Spring Training is officially underway! Will the Cubs repeat their big win, which was one of the most exciting sports story of 2016? How will the Mets stay healthy? Are the Indians hungry for redemption?
There are a lot of exciting teams and players to keep your eyes on. These stories can also teach you a lot about career management and succeeding in sports jobs.
Let’s take a look at the top stories you need to know about Spring Training:
1. A Papi-less Boston
The Boston Red Sox begin a new era in 2017. It’s their first year starting without David Ortiz since he joined the organization in 2003. His retirement symbolizes a passing of the torch.
Who will fill his shoes? He was not only a big cleanup hitter — he was also a big personality in the clubhouse. Hanley Ramirez may be stepping in as the DH replacement. He needs to prove staying power after a redeeming 2016, where he bounced back from multiple injuries in the previous year.
Also, their starting rotation is arguably the best in the MLB, with new addition Chris Sale coming to Boston. Following Sale, you have David Price and reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. This 1-2-3 punch is tough to top.
Understand the dynamics of your team and consider how everyone’s strengths and weaknesses balance in a collaborative environment. A lot of sports jobs, like media and production or management roles, require strong teamwork and collaboration skills.
The Red Sox have a well-balanced team, between a lights-out rotation, strong defense, and a lineup full of hot bats. They will likely prove the value of balance and teamwork.
2. The Health of the Mets
The New York Mets have big hopes for their four young players who are coming back from injuries — Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler. Their rotation is essential to their success this year.
Harvey’s surgery in July for thoracic outlet syndrome was the most invasive, making him the biggest uncertainty in the rotation. Will he be the same pitcher who had a 2.53 ERA over his first three big-league seasons?
Wheeler is also a big question mark. He is returning to the MLB for the first time since 2014. He could easily lose his spot to younger talent, like Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo.
Just as health and well-being is part of these players’ jobs, your health is your job as well. A healthier, happier you is a more productive you.
3. Reigning Champion Cubs
How will the Chicago Cubs try to defend their championship? Perhaps they will use a six-man rotation.
Manager Joe Maddon is known for thinking outside the box, and a six-man rotation is an unconventional tactic. They used it late in 2016 to give their starters a rest before the postseason last year.
Whether or not Maddon goes with six starters, they still remain a threat. A lot of their talent, like Anthony Rizzo, are under 30 years old, and most of their team is returning. They only lost a handful of major free agents, like Dexter Fowler and Jason Hammel, but big names like Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and Ben Zobrist are ready for another ring.
Just as Maddon does, you should strive for creativity. You can improve your problem solving skills and be more innovative in your work.
4. Detroit’s Aging Talent
The Detroit Tigers aren’t getting any younger. With Cabrera and Verlander getting deeper into their 30’s, the threat they once imposed may start to lose steam. Last year, they barely missed the postseason. This could be one of their last year’s of contention before retirements and late career injuries plague them.
The good news for the Motor City is their rivals lost some edge. The White Sox traded Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, and the Royals lost a handful of talent as well.
No matter where you are in your career, either just starting or closing in on retirement, stay confident and continue to show your value to your employer, as Cabrera continues to do as he ages into his 30s.
5. Indians Seek Redemption
After losing the World Series in one of the best postseason games of all time, the Cleveland Indians aim to take another shot. They have a lot to look forward to in Spring Training.
Michael Brantley is coming back from his injured bicep last season. He only played 11 games, but he just started taking regular batting practice at training camp.
Their biggest pickup over the offseason was slugger Edwin Encarnacion. He adds a big bat in the middle of their lineup. He joined the same team that knocked him and his previous team, the Toronto Blue Jays, out of the ALCS last October.
Learn from setbacks, note where you can improve upon and adapt to changes and new obstacles that arise. Just as the Indians did following a tough World Series loss, brush yourself off and prepare for a new opportunity for success. Adopting a growth mindset is crucial to creating a sustainable career.
What are you looking forward to in Spring Training?