WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – It’s gotta’ happen soon right? It is the everlasting pursuance of a unique goal, sacred to the man or woman who holds it. It sounds cliche, but that is the case for Monmouth University baseball’s second baseman, Jake Gronsky. He uses it as part of his Twitter tag: Jake Gronsky (14LivinTheDream).
Unlike many who wish for their dream to become reality, Jake’s exists! Fortunately, it has existed since his days being a bat-boy for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, the Triple A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. For Gronsky, it remains a lasting memory. It is one he treasures; it is an experience he can relate to as truly finding a true love.
“My brother (Jesse) and I were the bat-boys at every home game,” he said. “And I credit that experience as one of the main reasons I love the game so much. Each day we got to interact with the players and it was where I really saw the game as pure. From that moment on, all I wanted to do was to be on a professional field.”
It is the goal the Danville, Pennsylvania native continues to strive for. Last season for the Monmouth Hawks, Gronsky earned his second-straight All-NEC First Team selection at second base after hitting .302 with 3 home runs and 27 RBI’s in 54 starts and finished first on the team in doubles (13), triples (four) and extra-base hits (20). He was second in runs scored (35) and slugging percentage (.443). As he partakes in his senior season at Monmouth, Jake recalls the times he was taught by his parents, David and Karen, to play the game “the right way.”
“Each day my parents would take me outside with my brother for ‘baseball camp.’ The first thing I was taught was how to hustle through first base, keep my head down on the ball and hit a baseball up the middle,” he said.
Gronsky’s family has always played a vital role in his life both on and off the field. His brother Jesse, who has been a mentor to him, continues to impact him. Since he could remember, Jesse has been a constant representative of what their parents had taught them. The message is, at the end of the day, to be a good person.
“My parents and brother were always a huge influence on my love for baseball. They (my parents) have always loved the game and wanted me to pursue my dreams in the sport. My brother was always my hero and still is to this day. Ever since we were little kids, he was the one to fight for me and push me to be my best. On and off the field, my brother was and still is the person I want to be as I get older.”
Gronsky also said that he believes hard work and passion for what you do is critical in becoming successful. Anything less than giving 110 percent will hurt you, he maintained, especially in baseball where, at times, you must remain mentally agile.
“It is a game of pure love. Whether you are a player, fan, coach, or spectator, the lust for it can be seen through everyone. The only way a person can truly become great at the sport is to completely love the game. For me, what makes baseball better than any other sport is that it is such a mind game. If a player is solely focused on results or stats, I guarantee they will not be playing for a long time. A player needs to understand that his struggles are what will make him great. The love of a baseball player for the sport is much deeper than what is seen on the outside and that is what makes the game great.”
“It truly is a blessing to be able to reach one of my biggest dreams in life and be a college baseball player,” he continued. “Baseball is an opportunity. It is not (an) entitlement. Each day we get as a baseball player is a gift and it should be enjoyed to the fullest.”
Speaking of the highest level, Jake hopes to one day make his way to the Major Leagues and eventually coach kids and show them how the game is supposed to be played.
“They (kids) have to understand themselves as a player. They need to be in a program that focuses on the player. Yes, baseball is a team sport, but knowing who you are and what you can bring to the table is half the battle.”
Like his hope for Major League success one day, he has another dream: a World Series ring to display back in his hometown.
So, who does he think will win the fall classic this year?
“The Pirates of course! I mean, it’s gotta happen soon right?”
Video by Shawn McBride.