DUNEDIN, Fla. – For Jays prospective catcher Seth Conner baseball is more about the mental side of the game than anything else.
As a coach and player he has always preached the importance of being able to separate who you are from what you do.
A man of faith and family, Conner views baseball as his third priority in life.
“The first thing I want to do is be a Christ follower,” Conner said, “The second thing I want to be an invested husband and dad and the third thing I do is play baseball”
The Missouri native understands that while it is his dream, baseball is also his job and in order to succeed he can’t let it define him.
“I can just go about my business and enjoy getting to put a uniform on everyday,” said the 23-year-old. “Whatever your future job is, that is your job…its not who you are. You know there’s a lot more to you than just that.”
Even though Conner’s defensive game is impressive — he has just three errors and a .993 fielding percentage in 409.1 career innings played — he has struggled at the plate with a lifetime batting average of .243, an on base percentage of .350, and a slugging percentage of .332.
The troubles he’s encountered in his career aren’t something he is going to let affect him. The father and husband looks at failure as a process that is inevitable. How you deal with those setbacks makes you who you are and determines your ability to succeed.
“The thing I’m going to teach my son is to say, ‘hey the mental side of baseball and dealing with failure is how you’re going to be elevated to success,’” Conner said. “Dealing with failure in a positive way, and evaluating what you did bad but not dwelling on it, you have to think about the good things because (baseball) is a game based on failure.”
The catcher has always thought Kevin Pillar was going to succeed and noticed early that the Jays centre fielder had a similar attitude about the psychological side of baseball, as well as trying new things without being held back by a fear of failure.
“I wish Kev nothing but the best I think he’s earned every bit of success he’s having and going to continue to have,” Conner said. “They’re not afraid to fail at all and they’re not afraid to try something different. So I think Kev is an example of that mental ability to deal with failure and not get stressed with anything and just go play and play at a very high level.”