The following is a guest post written by White Sox right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Johnson:
There are a lot of different ideals and experiences people want to share throughout their lives but never actually get the chance to do so. I want to thank Sox On 35th for giving me that opportunity to share my voice. In the movie Patch Adams, Robin Williams’s character shares one of my favorite quotes, in which he says: “Death is not the enemy of the gentleman. If we are going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all, indifference.” With that being said, I will do my absolute best to give this reflection a voice. I want to take you through what you may not be able to experience elsewhere. The goal is to be different and honest.
To start, I want you to know who I am. I am an imperfect man loved by a perfect God. I come from a suburb of Richmond, Virginia called Midlothian. I fell in love with baseball by going to Richmond Braves games where my grandparents were season ticket holders. I wouldn’t be where I am in baseball if it wasn’t for my grandparents. My family was lucky because there were many Braves’ legends to come through Richmond. Also for you die hard South Siders, I remember watching Adam LaRoche and Brent Lillibridge play for the Richmond Braves. I attended high school at a small private school, Trinity Episcopal School, and went on to play baseball in the SEC at the University of South Carolina. I was honored to play for the United States Collegiate National Team in 2016 and then was blessed to be drafted by the Chicago White Sox the following year in the 5th round of the 2017 MLB Baseball draft.
As I look back on this past year, I see a stepping stone for the White Sox organization. I see strides taken in the right direction to get where you and I both want to go. Your goal is for the Chicago White Sox to win a World Series. Believe me when I tell you that we want to be a part of it, and it is coming. This past year, I was lucky to be placed on two minor league playoff teams. And do not think Winston-Salem and Kannapolis were playoff teams by accident. This year, both teams had absolute studs embedded in their foundation. I did not play for them last season but the Great Falls Voyagers brought home a league championship. You should find great pleasure in watching these men move, advance and thrive throughout the system. Of course, when it is time, you will watch these same men help the White Sox reach the ultimate goal. If I could leave you with one thing to remember it is that the White Sox have remarkable men throughout all levels of the organization. We want and work for the same thing you want… a World Series championship. I can promise you not a day goes by that we don’t think about helping the White Sox win. I truly cannot say enough about these guys; we are a tight knit group. I believe you can see it out on the field.
Let’s talk about this past year on a personal level. But first, I want you to know who I look up to in my life: God, my mother, father, two brothers, grandfather and grandmother. This is important to know because these people are who I am, and I would be nothing if it wasn’t for them. I cannot stress that enough. As I look back on the past year, I see where I improved and also areas that need improvement. This trend is one that I hope continues, as baseball is a game of failure and adjustment. The goal is to succeed more than you fail. The sheer numbers mean nothing to me; numbers can lie. The only way to advance and purify my practice is to be completely honest with myself and to never be complacent. To be able to look back on a performance, regardless of the outcome, and pick apart the good and the bad is something I constantly work on. For example, if I throw a scoreless inning I can be more frustrated with myself than in an inning where I give up a run or two. The ability to avoid complacency and have the strength to constantly work on my craft is where I have found the greatest growth. To further achieve this I promise to have an unmatched, sickening work ethic. I do not know if you will see me on the diamond in “The Show” but I’ll be damned if I look back wishing I had done more. And because I know he is reading this, if you work, I work…right Papa?
Once again I would like to thank Sox On 35th for asking me to share my voice. I would also like to thank each one for you for reading this. From the bottom of my heart, your support means the world to us in the White Sox organization. If you ever wonder where your favorite minor leaguers are, just know we are on the road to the dream we have had since we were young boys.
Featured Photo: @HypeTheEngineer
Follow Tyler Johnson on Twitter @TyJohnson_21