There are very few times fans get the opportunity to look into the head of a professional baseball player. Towards the end of last season, Daniel Bard wrote a diary entry for ESPNBoston.com about his experiences and gave the readers a look into the mind of a major league reliever. Yesterday, Bard wrote his first diary entry of the 2010 season and gave us a look into his off-season and the different experience in walking into Spring Training in year two.
Most Red Sox writers have spent time this off-season either answering questions about Daniel Bard’s role, or writing their opinion on his future role with the team. In his diary entry, Bard gave us all a firsthand look at what his true feelings are, as well as responding to the hoopla that arose when he stated he wanted to be a closer. His new found comfort with the club is clear and Bard feels at home with the other players and coaches. This comfort bodes well for the Red Sox reliever in 2010.
I think you learn about getting thrown into some high-pressure situations and see how you react to them. And you say, “OK, I can do this.” It just gives you that confidence. If you fail, you say, “OK, I’ve done this before. You know what to do the next time this happens. – Daniel Bard
Bard was able to get a significant amount of playing time in 2009 to gain experience that will help him grow in 2010 and beyond. The most telling quote in the diary for me was the one above. The two most important qualities of a top notch reliever are confidence and the ability to brush off poor performances. Both qualities can not be taught, but must be learned and are crucial for success. If Bard can enter the game with confidence each time out and not let missed locations and poor outings linger, he will be advanced beyond his years.
It is refreshing to see a major league player document his journey and share it with the fans. I hope Bard continues to document his experiences throughout the season so we can get to know more about the man behind the 100-mph fastball.