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13MM3 Seager

13MM3 Seager

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Published by MarinersPRJeff
Kyle Seager - June Magazine
Kyle Seager - June Magazine

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Published by: MarinersPRJeff on Jun 04, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Kyle Seager combines supreme talent with good old-fashioned hard work in his ongoing pursuit of excellence.
By Kieran O’Dwyer 
Living theDream
Living theDreamLiving theDream
Beore Mariners games, players takebatting practice, working in groups o our, with each member o the quartetrotating in and out o the cage aterhitting a handul o pitches. Typically,each batter starts o his BP sessionby bunting one ball up the third-baseline and another up the frst-base linebeore taking ull cuts. Just anotherone o the game’s unique traditions.On this particular day, Kyle Seageris grouped with sluggers Raul Ibañez,Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales.When he gets in the cage, he drops anice bunt toward third base, gets backinto his hitting position, squares tobunt and directs the next pitch towardfrst. Only the ball quickly squirts oul.Clearly this is not acceptable, as Seagerimmediately calls or another pitchand this time lays down a perect buntalong the frst-base line. A seeminglysmall act, perhaps, but somehow alsoquite telling.“I’m very impressed with hismaturity as a hitter and a player,” saidIbañez. “I’m really impressed with hiswork ethic, his drive and his determi-nation to succeed.”Quite a glowing assessment, indeed,but Ibañez is hardly alone in recog-nizing these and other attributes thathave helped Seager succeed at thehighest level o the sport.“You saw the same thing with Kyleevery day [in college] and I think thatjust earns great respect rom your team-mates,” said Mike Fox, coach o theUniversity o North Carolina Tar Heelsbaseball team, where Seager starredrom 2007 through 2009. “Alwaysworked, always the frst one out there,always wanted to take ground ballsand hit extra. Always trying to getbetter and improve himsel. Not a loudguy or one o those rah-rah types. Youhear all the time ‘Lead by example.’ Hewas that and more.”Seager’s dedication to his crat hascontinued right on through Seattle’ssystem, rom the day he was selected inthe third round o the 2009 drat to hisMajor League debut on July 7, 2011,to his integral role now as the Mari-ners starting third baseman.“He’s very mature or a youngplayer,” said manager Eric Wedge.“He knows himsel very well [and] isable to coach himsel well because heunderstands how he’s eeling and howthat plays out. He’s very consistentwith his preparation and his work.”
When Seager was growing up inNorth Carolina, with his parents, Je and Jody, and younger brothers Justin and Corey, he wasn’t thebiggest or strongest kid his age.He may well have been the hardestworking, however.“When they were little, they wereat best average in size,” recalled Je,reerring to his three sons, all o whomhe coached through Little Leagueand up to high school. “The big kidsalways dominated – they threw theball harder and hit it a mile. And Ikept telling the boys, ‘Don’t worryabout it, you’re going to get biggerand stronger.’”As a ormer collegiate ballplayer, Je knows the game well and under-stands the dierence that a dedicationto learning the undamentals o thegame, practicing on a consistent basisand time can make. Especially ortalented athletes like his sons.“A lot o these bigger kids aded.They didn’t work and eventuallyeverybody either caught up with themin size or got bigger and stronger,too. And because kids like Ky workedhard all along, they went right bythose others.”Seager agreed with his dad. “It’skind o weird, I was always smaller,which looking back was probablyan advantage because I had to workharder and get more precise withwhat I was doing. That was prob-ably a positive. It’s all about how youperorm, and i you work harder thaneverybody else you can give yoursel an advantage.”All kids want to hit home runs.Instead, Je encouraged his sons notto worry or even think about trying toclear the ences. He had them ocus onbeing solid mechanically and workingon their strengths as much as theycould without ignoring the little thingsthey needed to do to get better. The25-year-old Seager recognizes the valueo that early oundation.“That’s one o the things that’s coolabout having your dad as the coach,you’re thinking more about the gamethan i you’re just going out to playthen you’re done,” he said. “My dadand I would talk about baseball all thetime. You’re constantly learning andpicking up on little things. He knew
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the undamentals so well and so wewould constantly work on those. He’dhave me and my brothers out at thehigh school all the time, especially aswe got a little older, taking groundballs, hitting, all o that. He alwaysmade time or us.“It wasn’t just my dad. He was ourcoach, but my mom was right thereas well the whole time, taking us togames, always supporting us. We werevery ortunate growing up having botho them there or us. That made ahuge dierence.”
All Heart
Doing things because you want toand doing things because you have toare vastly dierent propositions. Je had seen plenty o parents push theirsons to the point where their boysdidn’t want to play anymore. He saidhe learned pretty early, though, that hissons wanted to be out there and weremotivated on their own.In Kyle’s case, however, pursuingsports wasn’t initially smooth sailing.Seager was born with ventricular septaldeect, which is a medical way o saying he had a small hole in his heart.Although it’s a common conditionthat’s present at birth, it still createdchallenges early on.“There was a lot o caution romdoctors about what he’d be able toaccomplish,” said Je. “They werebasically telling him he was going tobe limited. Kyle’s attitude has alwaysbeen, ‘OK, but I’m going to exceedwhatever you think my limits are.’ He’sdone that his whole lie.“That makes where he’s at noweven more rewarding, because he hadto overcome a situation right rom thebeginning, which he did. As the restric-tions kept dropping o, he just keptgoing at it, working real hard. He’sachieved an awul lot.”Limited to non-contact sports, hepursued soccer, basketball and baseballwith zeal, playing soccer until hissophomore year and hoops throughouthigh school.“One o the big things the doctorstold me about my heart conditionis that all the running when I wasyounger, especially playing so muchsoccer, was a big help,” he said.Seager viewed the condition assimply a part o his everyday lie andnot some obstacle he suddenly had toovercome. As such, he never allowedit to become an excuse or to keep himrom pursuing his interests and dreamswith the utmost passion and eort.“You pretty much have to outworkeverybody. I know a lot o guys aremore physically gited than me, but i I can outwork them then I can levelthe playing feld and we can go romthere.”Seager has leveled the playing feld,and then some.
One of the Big Boys
April 18, 2013. Seager is six gamesinto what will become a career-best 16game hit streak, but isn’t in the startinglineup against the Tigers and their ace Justin Verlander. The night beore,he collected one hit in six at-bats andstruck out twice to drop his battingaverage to .203. He’s simply getting abreather as Wedge looks to get sometime or his bench players.By the bottom o the seventhinning, however, Seattle’s HisashiIwakuma and Verlander are locked ina scoreless duel. With two outs and aMariners base runner at frst, Wedge is
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looking or a dierence maker. EnterSeager, who steps into the box againstthe 2011 American League MVP andpromptly laces a frst-pitch astball intothe let-feld corner or a RBI double.Advantage Seattle, 1-0. Endy Chavezollows with a hit and a hustlingSeager scores by a hair to double thescore, 2-0, which eventually holds up.These are the type o dramaticmoments that Seager dreamt o as akid while playing ball with his atherand brothers and later starring atNorthwest Cabarrus High School,where as a junior he began to realizethe possibilities. A month later he is atYankee Stadium taking BP, preparingto hit out o the three hole. He is, aterall, one o the big boys now.Wedge appreciates the daily eorthe sees out o his third baseman,and the ongoing aggressive, no earapproach that Seager displays at theplate.“[This approach] has continued
Kyle Seager’s good old-ashioned hard work has paid o at the plate.

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