My name is Josh Zeid and I am going out to the Arizona Fall League to be a part of the Mesa Solar Sox . I was drafted in 2009 as a senior and I was given the chance of a lifetime: An opportunity to play out my dream a little longer. But as you will see, it wasn’t easy to get here, but for me it’s about the journey, not the results.
Last season I played in the New York Penn League, for the Williamsport Crosscutters, and spent this year fighting for and winning the South Atlantic League Championship with the Lakewood Blueclaws.
A little bit about me:
Seven years ago I made a promise to my parents on ESPN’s Cold Pizza. I told them I’d make them proud of me, whatever that meant to them. And then that I would repay them in full for all the money, time and effort they spent on me on and off the field. I didn’t really care about all the monetary gains; I just wanted to make it. .
That journey took me through Vanderbilt University. It was not only one of the best academic universities this side of the Mississippi, excluding the Ivy League’s, but because it was becoming a baseball powerhouse, with guys like David Price and Jeremy Sowers. It also gave my family a peace of mind. Growing up in a Jewish household, we focused on having a sound foundation based on private schools and living very close to my extended family.
I only had Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg to look up to as legitimate Jewish heroes, so in the back of my family’s mind was a hesitation and a desire for me to focus on getting a good education. Where I grew up Jewish kids dreamt of playing pro sports, but in reality, becoming doctors, lawyers, accountants, or real estate entrepreneurs was more realistic. I felt I had a platform to be different, and I had the support from my parents and sister to do that.
Vanderbilt didn’t work out for me. Every day I picked up a baseball I tried too hard to live up to the scholarship and the reputation that I had given myself. So with the very greatly appreciated help of my then coach, I transferred to Tulane in New Orleans, with a different game plan. Try and try again. Re-invent myself. My career was going more towards books than to strikeouts and a low ERA.
At Tulane I changed my focus. I became an English major with a minor in Political Science and I really buckled down. I made plans to attend law school once I finished my undergraduate degree. I barely went out to Bourbon Street, I focused my extra time preparing for exams, reading and writing–all things that I thought could all be forged into a Sunday night watching Sunday Night Football, Entourage, Weeds and Californication.
And by all means it worked. When you eliminate, or at the very least cut-down the enormous amount of stress of succeeding at all costs, you can have fun. And that’s what I’ve learned. By changing my focus and areas of stress, I was able to enjoy the game I once loved as a little leaguer. Wins didn’t really matter, but having fun with your parents watching and your best buds playing along side you, that’s what really matters.
That’s what I’m looking forward to in Arizona: Meeting a bunch of new guys, great athletes, and potential Major League All-Stars. And mainly have fun like it was 1997.
Like I was back in New Haven, CT, playing for the Andy Papero Little League on a Tuesday night. Where the only bit of constructive criticism during my coach’s mound visit was: “Hurry up now, my macaroni’s getting cold!” He would then smile, and jog off the field.
It’s always going to be about the journey, ups and downs, not the results.
I’m thrilled for the opportunity to play in Arizona with the best of the best in the Minor League’s, with some big leaguers mixed in, and I will write again when I get there to keep you all informed!