The smell of a broken-in leather glove and fresh-cut grass; the crack of the ball hitting the sweet spot; the rough feeling of calluses formed from that same bat and the taste of dirt in your mouth after sliding into home.
This may not sound appealing to everyone, but for baseball players it appeals to the senses.
Aspiring players dream of experiencing these sensations in spring training. Tom Makowski is one of those players who got to live that dream.
But it’s not a hop, skip and a jump to get there.
“You have to be physically fit, you have to be mentally ready and you have to just try and work to your fullest potential, said Makowski.
Major league players make playing look easy, but that is a result of hard work and dedication.
Not only do you have to work hard, but you have to be willing to learn and take advice anywhere you can get it.
“I always looked and listened and tried to pick up different things to hone your skills and to learn things. You can always learn and you can learn from other players, some of your players and some of the older players,” said Makowski.
Spring training is the battle ground of baseball. Many players go in, but not all come out in the majors. However surviving the cut might not quite be what would be expected.
“You might not have the ability that some of the other players do, especially when you go down to spring training, they may have more ability than you, but you can overcome that. You can overcome some of your deficiencies just by trying harder, being physically fit, having a good attitude, and just working harder than them,” said Makowski.
Because of his hard work and dedication in spring training, in May of 1975 Makowski was able to play with the Detroit Tigers as a relief pitcher.
“I always wanted to be a major league pitcher, and I did make it there. That was always my dream and I was able to complete it,” said Makowski.