George Springer: Helpful Energy
The Houston Astros spent the 2009-2013 seasons in the cellar of the American League. Somewhat affectionately known as the “LASTros” during this period, the suffering eventually led to something sweet for the Houston baseball team.
George Springer, the 11th pick in the 2011 MLB Draft made his Major League debut for the Astros in 2014.
Since then, he has become the emotional leader of the Astros locker room, having a huge hand in the transformation from bottom dwellers, to World Series champs.
Read more to find out how the Musketeer mindset has been a driver for Springer both on and off the baseball diamond:
A Musketeer doesn’t have to be the Star
George Springer hits leadoff for the Houston Astros, but he isn’t necessarily the first player that comes to mind when you think of the 2017 World Series champs.
There’s guys like reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve, all-world shortstop Carlos Correa, and pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander.
However, just like his position in the batting order would suggest, Springer is an integral part in the Astros success.
Some of the biggest impact Springer has on the Astros doesn’t come while at the plate or while he’s patrolling center field, though. According to the team’s manager, there is something about Springers attitude that is infectious for the rest of his teammates.
The Lifeblood of the Team
“His teammates revere him, and I think that’s the biggest compliment you can get — when your teammates care as much as they do about him,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said in and MLB.com profile written by Richard Justice. “You have a little bit better day when your path crosses with him… There’s an everyday component of George that when you’re around him, you’re a little bit happier, a little bit brighter.”
This is not a surprise when you consider Springer is a Musketeer athlete, one who enjoys being part of a team, they are seen as very down-to-earth by their teammates, while being very loyal and true to themselves and others.
“George’s energy, personality and enthusiasm set the tone for this team,” says Hinch. “He’s so important for this team because he is so likable and relatable. He connects with everyone.”
It’s not just the manager saying these things about Springer though, his teammates attest to the fact that their center fielder is the heart and soul of the team, “George is the heart and soul because of who he is on and off the field. We feed off his personality and his energy,” says second baseman Jose Altuve.
This upbeat mentality and camaraderie is the product of Springer’s Musketeer mindset. Musketeers are fair, honest, and truthful. This draws others to them due to their straightforward nature.
Musketeers enjoy the feeling of being part of a team, and they help others in order to form a close bond with them. In Springers case, he does this by bringing constant energy and a positive outlook to the clubhouse.
“He’s always happy. He’s always upbeat. He’s talkative. He’s always pretty engaging. He’s always playing music. He’s emotional, and he cares — a lot,” says Hinch.
Coming up Big
Heading into their World Series bout with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, the Astros needed their centerfielder and leadoff man to play like to the level they had come to expect from him. After hitting an abnormally awful .115 during the American League Championship series against the Yankees, Springer continued his string of poor performances with a four strikeouts in four at bats performance to open the World Series.
Usually, poor performances like this would cause some managers to re-evaluate their line-up and make moves in order to try and get a jolt during a big series. However, according to a Washington Post Story written by Thomas Boswell, Hinch never even imagined taking his team’s spark-plug.
“No, he’s not [moving down in the lineup]. He’ll be leading off,” said Hinch. “He had a tough night at work, and a lot of our guys did. George has struggled. But if he hits the first pitch tomorrow into the gap . . . you’d be amazed how good he feels.”
This kind of public bode of confidence is extremely effective with Musketeers.
Though they are willing to recognize and correct their mistakes, Musketeers will sometimes be overly cautious in trying to avoid mistakes. That’s why seeing a coach have so much faith in them, despite recent struggles will allow them to play loose and up to their normal standards, without stressing about making a mistake based off of struggles in recent competition or games.
“You know it. And you press. And you want to do things that you can’t do. For [Hinch] to have my back — hey, you’re still going to hit first, and you’re still going to set the tone for us — it slowed me down. . . . For him to have my back, it means the world to me. And I’ll always have his back,” Springer said.
Springer responded to his drought by going bananas at the plate for the remainder of the World Series.
“I just think when the lights turn on even brighter you tend to subconsciously press, and you want to succeed so bad that you start to do things that you wouldn’t do, or you start to come out of an approach that has worked the whole year,” Springer said. “This is my first experience at playing this far, playing this long and in [games] of this magnitude. So, for me to understand, ‘Hey, slow yourself down.’ I understand now why some guys struggle in the postseason and some don’t.”
He tied the record for most home runs during the World Series, with five. Not only that, he hit a blistering .379 with a .471 on base percentage.
These numbers at the plate helped propel his team to the World Series title, and earned Springer the Willie Mays World Series MVP award.
Musketeers are fair, honest, and truthful.
Helping those who need it most
His teammates and coaches aren’t the only ones who benefit from Springer’s helpful mindset. Much like fellow Musketeer and former NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner Drew Brees, Springer does a lot of charity work outside of the playing field.
Springer’s focus in his charitable work comes from his desire to help children with stuttering issues, a problem he still somewhat battles with to this day. He hosts an event to raise awareness for this issue in order to send kids to a camp that focuses on shaping campers creativity and confidence while working on speech therapy called Camp SAY.
“My first year here, I kind of figured out that if I could hopefully help anybody I was going to do that,” Springer said during an interview for a Sports Illustrated story by Tom Verducci. “I’ve been through — I still go through — what these kids go through every day. It makes it easier to go out and help. I’ve experienced it. I wanted to help.”
All in all, Musketeers don’t need to be the star on their team, and Springer certainly seems fine being the effective player he is while adding energy and a certain attitude that rubs off on his teammates.
He will undoubtedly continue to inspire his Astros teammates and kids at his youth events alike, a position Musketeers enjoy because the close connections made through team sports.
“This game has provided me with every opportunity I’ve ever had in my life,” Springer says. “Material stuff, a chance to meet people, travel the world. But I just really love playing the game. It’s the only place in my entire life that allowed me to be myself and not think twice about it. It’s a game where you don’t get judged on your personality or your characteristic traits — you’re just a normal dude playing against other people.”
Modest and humble to the end, that’s Astros center fielder George Springer.