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Albertus Barber: The Path To The Bigs

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

It’s not about the road or the inn. It’s about the driver and his car.

I’m Albertus Barber. I’m 24 and a pitcher in the Phillies organization. I had 0 healthy seasons in 4 years of college, dropped out and gave up everything I had to move out to Kent, Washington to train at Driveline Baseball. In the offseason I now work as a janitor there and they have taken me in like their kid and shown me a family I wasn’t sure existed in this game. I’m very blessed and thank God every day.

Since the beginning of time, human nature has been the bane of achieving great feats. I’m not talking about simply being above average, but the act of completely devoting your life to get exactly what you want. Too often do we let ourselves become desensitized to what being great ACTUALLY means. In a world where it’s easy to be slightly above average, there must come a time where you look yourself in the eye and stop with the lies. Maybe the journey isn’t so bad, maybe you think you worked hard, or maybe you just weren’t made to be great - when in reality you sleep 6 hours a day and party every weekend. But, hey, you want to be the best, right? The road (your path) and the inn (your home) are extremely important parts of your journey, but I’d like to fundamentally challenge them and point out that I think it’s the driver (your mind) and the car (your body) that are the most important aspects to success.

At some point you became old enough to take the wheel of what is going to be the rest of your life. While the roads were newly paved and the speed bumps seemed larger than mountains, you found a way to navigate. By now you’ve probably looked back and realized that those beginning roads were the easiest you’ve ever had it, but for some reason you never really recognized it. Every road you traverse seems more and more like the last until you hit a highway that isn’t finished. It’s at this point where everything you’ve learned teaches you how to maneuver your way to the other side - or you turn around and it ends. The thing about these stops is that they’re meant to happen. It’s a test to see if you were diligent enough to pay attention to the details on the way there. 

When you’re driving long distances it is imperative that you pay attention to the road the entire time. We all know that failing to pay attention to the road and your surroundings for 1 second can completely derail your journey. The thing about these roads is that each and every one of them possesses the answer to the next obstacle you’re going to face. At no point during any of this are the answers to your future endeavors not embedded into an area of your life. You just might not be aware enough at the time to see them. This is why I challenge the norm on this statement and say that it IS the driver and his car, as the journey can’t be made without the two.

As a driver you must have complete focus on the road, understanding of your car and when you can and can’t push it, and the ability to see through your peripherals and take in the details. This journey is impossible without complete synergy of the car and the driver. If you want to make the longest trek of mankind then you must know how to fix, take care of, and fill your car with the best source of fuel to get every possible mile you can out of that bad boy. This includes the food you eat, the hours you sleep, the decisions you make, and, most importantly the decisions you choose not to make. I say that because it’s easy to get absorbed in human nature and make mistakes. In fact, it’s easier than anything you’ve ever done. Who thinks that going out with their boys and drinking some brews is a bad time? Nobody. However, is that the right fuel for your car? Meanwhile, while you pulled off to the side of the road, lots of people kept on driving. 

It is these instances that are going to make or break your career, and who you are as a person. Sure, you can tell your friends about that one crazy night you had at the bar, but to me that’s going to sound idiotic when you tell me your career no longer exists. 

If I had a dollar for every time I heard somebody say “I will do anything it takes to make it to the big leagues,” then turn around and do three things wrong in a day, I would have about as much money as Bryce Harper’s contract. I’m not perfect, and by no means have I ever come close to being perfect, but I plan out every decision strategically. Yes, there are still things I do wrong, and yes, I look myself in the mirror pissed off and fix it day by day - pitch by pitch. Look in the mirror and stop lying to yourself and those around you. You're only doing a massive disservice to not only the industry of baseball, but to the world. You might not realize it, but you have hundreds of people in your corner, and those people have hundreds of people in theirs. Ultimately, you have thousands of people that you’re doing this for and you don’t even realize it. So every time you decide you’re more important than what you’re supposed to do, it affects every one of those people. These are your passengers, and your passengers allow you to do things with a purpose greater than yourself. Altruism will give you an entirely different source of energy that is so powerful I cannot begin to explain it, but when your journey is done for yourself, you will only go so far.

To be the best you must master your mind. This will help your trip become more efficient, and a world of efficiency is everything. This means complete awareness of who you are as a person, mainly your flaws. You need to be able to look your flaws in the face and accept them for what they are, no matter how painful. You must take responsibility for everything you do, and even on occasion, things you don’t do. Take every single bit of possible responsibility of the bad, and let the good speak for itself. You’re going to have to be okay with being entirely alone for a decent amount of time on your path. I’ve come across less than 15 people that have ever been driving the same speed and direction as I have. I had to learn how to be content with myself and only myself before I was able to take on the burden of others. It’s important you develop that because it’s going to make your life much easier. Not only for baseball but for a family, marriage, etc. I have lost countless people I love while pursuing this. No matter how bad things are for you, you must handle your own problems and carry your burden with a smile on your face. Work hard, but work smart. Let go of your ego and absorb every bit of information you can. If you struggle with this, then I recommend meditation. Finally, the last thing I have for you is love everybody around you, even if you want to rip their head off and, if they try to get in your way, rip their head off (figuratively).

So today, I challenge you to take control of your mind and your body. Fuel your car with everything it needs, and as the driver you must constantly be willing to learn and adapt to your changing conditions. Not only will the road change, but so will the weather. Remember that this isn’t supposed to be easy, and the fact that the challenge seems impossible is what makes it fun. Be loving and caring to those around you, as your teammates and supporters are more important than you. This is because you MUST know you’ll take care of yourself no matter what, so try to make sure they’re taken care of, too. Be the greatest individual you can be day by day, even if it pains you to do so. You have a legitimate opportunity to help the world become a better place. Adapt, learn, love, and conquer everything that gets in your way. 

Sometimes the work that needs to be done is more important than life itself.

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