Name: Marcus Knecht
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
DOB: June 21, 1990
2010 MLB Amateur Draft, 3rd Round Pick
Professional Experience: 8 years
Team Canada Gold Medallist
(2011 Team Canada Pan-Am Games)
The more you play the Game, the more you realize what a gift it is. The test of character, the preparation, and the execution packed into every single pitch, every single night. The tension of playoff baseball, putting it all on the line under the lights. The camaraderie. The sweet victory. The moment is yours. With every eye in the stadium glued to the play, you walk up to the dish with grace at a cool steady pace. You wield a piece of lumber perfectly designed to your liking, barrel engraved. 32 ounces of solid Canadian birch, with a touch of pine tar. Everything moves in slow motion.
“The Zone”, they call it. Where everything is brighter, your breathing is easy, and your feet walk lighter. With the baseball gods behind you, anything thrown your way will be countered with thunderbolts. You dig your spikes into the dirt, grounding yourself in the present. Dancing with the opposition standing 60 feet and 6 inches away, he gasses one up and you foul it straight back, just a tick late. That ball should’ve, would’ve, and could’ve been crushed, but the whiff of burnt leather on your barrel reminds you it was a good hack. On to the next pitch. You step smoothly out of the box, kick the dirt off of your spikes. It’s an 0-1 count, you just missed the meat, but with every missed opportunity, another one lies right around the corner.
(2012 Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training)
You don’t miss a beat. This is you at your best. “The Zone”. An unstoppable and uncontrollable force. It’s elusive, it’s humbling, it’s beautiful. It’s the feeling of harmony between you and the Game, where everything is right in that moment. Proof that persistence pays off. “The Zone”. It is earned through action. It’s the reason why you devote hours in the cage, sacrificing time and energy to strengthen your relationship with the Game, making the hours pass like minutes. Dedication. “The Zone”. A gift from the baseball gods signifying you are on the right track, that you are moving forward. The reminder of how it could be. The right place, at the right time. Solidified in the present, all your energy aimed toward one goal. The ability to see the future before it unfolds.
(Marcus' childhood days with the North York Blues)
Here’s what I have to say. Baseball is a game that begs to be loved and respected. It was here long before you, and will be here long after you’re gone. It can be harsh, but it can be forgiving. The Game knows deep down how much you care. Be good to the Game and you might be rewarded. It is your duty to make the Game better. Talk with the kids, sign the balls, remember the names, pass your knowledge down and be in the present, because there is no time to waste. It starts with you. Follow your heart and lead by example. Know that sometimes you have to make it happen, but most of the time you just have to let it happen, so keep it simple. Be grateful for the moments of clarity during a big game, because they are beyond your understanding. Stay persistent in your work and practice humility in your success, because success is not a solution, it’s a process. The hard work will pay off, so just do it. Know that tough times will not cease, but the good times will make it all worthwhile. If it was easy, then everybody would do it. Here’s to realizing the game of baseball is a lot like the game of life. For all the brothers out there living the dream, I salute you.