Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What's next?

     This is a blog that I've known for a while I was going to write.  I just didn't officially decide to write it until last night.  I'm moving on in my life from playing baseball.  Notice, I didn't say, I was done with baseball!  How could anyone who loves the game ever "be done."  And certainly I love the game!  I love the way it taught me to fail and get over it.  I love the way it helped me become the man I am today.  I love the way it's provided for me and my family.  There's so much to love about this game.  I just don't love playing it anymore, and that's how I know it's time to not pursue a job playing this year.      
     When I was talking to my dad about this last night, he said, "you should have no regrets on the field or off of it."  This was a great thing to hear, but really since 2011 I have not been as driven playing as I had before.  And, to be totally honest, this has led to some regrets on the field.  Sure I hustled when I'd put a ball in play, and I'd work out hard in the off season, but mentally, I was not as focused or as hungry as I had been earlier in my career.  That is regrettable!  I knew if I played this year, not only would I have regrets on the field, but I knew I'd have regrets off.  See the pictures below :)  I'm ready to be daddy.  I'm ready to tuck my kids in bed most nights, and if I leave for work, I want Leslee and the kids to be able to be home, not in some rental house in Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Orleans, etc.
 
     These feelings were confirmed as I was saying our night time prayers with Nathan, my oldest, last night, and I thanked God for giving me peace about not playing baseball anymore, and he literally tore the covers off of him and grabbed me in the hardest hug he's ever given me.  With happy tears in his eyes he asked me if I was serious.  So family time is next for me!  But there's a lot more too!
     I don't feel though that I can go any further in this blog without looking back.  There are so many people to thank.  I truly feel that I would not have made it to the big leagues at all or at least stayed as long with out these people and many others.

My Family:  

Leslee, Nathan, Anna and Jake:  The baseball life is pretty cool, but most people don't understand the sacrifices you made to let me do what I loved!  Leslee, you became a single mom 6 months a year, but loved me so perfectly that you let me jump in as Daddy as soon as I came home.  I love you more now than ever, and I still feel like I did the first time I called you after getting called up to the big leagues, "WE made it!"
 Dad, Mom, Zach, Ben, and Jonny:  Everyone of you played a part in making me who I was on the field and off.  Mom and Dad you were my first coaches, Zach, my favorite teammate of all time, and Jonny and Ben the younger brothers that made me want to leave a good example.  While I strived to succeed for the name on the front of my jersey, I never forgot that I represented the name on the back too!  I hope I did it proud.  (even with the few expletives that could be heard on TV :)
Barry, Drew and Ashley:  I have the best in-laws ever!  Drew and Ashley your council after getting sold to Japan in 2007 by the Braves was invaluable.  Thank you for skipping the play you were at to come remind Leslee and me that there was a bigger picture, and baseball was about more than money.  (For those of you reading this Leslee and I ultimatly said no to our first multimillion dollar contract that night, and decided to stay in the states)

My Coaches:

Coach Carpenter:  You taught me so much, I could never fit it all in here.  Please know I love you!
Eleven:  You toughened me up, and helped me become a man on the field, Thank You!
Meat:  You are the most underrated coach in all of college sports, you gave me a weird swing that worked for me.  Thanks for not being a "cookie cutter coach"
Charlie Montoyo, Bill Evers, Skeeter Barnes, Steve Henderson of all the minor league coaches I had you guys stand out.  Thanks for keeping us focused on getting better and not bitter :)
Bob Schafer:  The day you took over as interim manager in Kansas City you called me up, and you were the one who told John Schuerholz that I may be a fit in Atlanta, I'll never forget that.
Bobby Cox: You helped me be better than I ever thought I could be.  You taught me how to lead, and that's one of the most valuable traits I've ever learned.

My Teammates:

There are too many of you to list, but just of few who I cannot go any further without thanking.
Chipper: Why a future Hall of Famer decided it was worth his time to help a career AAA guy still escapes me, but I thank God you did!
BMac, Frenchie, Kelly, Pete, Langy, Huddy:  Some of my best baseball memories are that 2006 season and each of you played a part in making that so fun.  (Kelly even though you were hurt you really showed me how to be a teammate)
Nortey, Hinske, Rossy, Prad:  I sat the bench many nights with y'all and really enjoyed every minute.
Like I said this list could go on forever, just know how much I enjoyed sharing the baseball life with all of you!

My Influencers:

Larry Reynolds, Pat Murphy and Mike Dillon:  You guys set out to have a family like agency, and you have more than accomplished it.  I could never have imagined loving my agents the way I love all three of you.  Larry, thank you for your spiritual and life guidance as much as your baseball wisdom.  Pat, I know there's no one in your profession that works harder or believes in their players as much as you do.  Mike, who'd of thought that a New Yorker and a country boy with a Latino name could become such good friends you are amazing at what you do.  I look forward to continuing my friendships with all three of you!

Matt Kinzer:  At some time in my life you have taken on almost all of the above roles,  Family, Agent, Coach.  You are the HEAT!

Chuck Foss:  Thank you for getting ahold of me early and helping me understand that million dollar contracts don't last forever.  Thank you for setting me and my family up financially for life.  Lastly thank you for believing in me enough to let me come work with you to help others use money as a tool to help them do good for their families as well for projects they are passionate about.

I have missed so many people here.  I appreciate and respect all the clubbies I've ever had.  My video guys, especially you Rob Smith, had to deal with me perhaps more than any other player.  Thank you!  I cannot even come close to naming all the people I want to right now.  

Lastly I want to thank my fans.  It's still surreal to say that.  I had/have fans.  I'm a very average baseball player who enjoyed a lot of blessing and good timing.  The fact that you all cheered me the way you did, especially in Atlanta, will stay with me the rest of my life.  I'm humbled, amazed, flabbergasted etc!  What a ride it's been, but it's not over.

This is the turning of a page.  This makes me sound like a dork, but I've read all the Hunger Games books, and all the Harry Potter books, and in those books it gets so exciting, you literally cannot wait to turn the page.  I actually skip ahead I get so excited to see what's going to happen when reading a good book.  I have never, in my life, been so excited to turn a page as the page I am turning right now.  

As I mentioned before I'm going to work with Chuck Foss at Core Financial.  I will take my series 65 exam within the month.  I've been studying and continue to do so in hopes to help people realize that money is a gift.  It is a good thing, and when used properly "mo money" does not make "mo problems."  Leslee and I will also continue to pursue our passion of helping kids through the Diaz Family Foundation.   Also, I have a broadcast agent who's working their tail off to keep me in baseball.  This is a passion of mine (I actually went to college thinking I'd broadcast baseball long before I could play it for a living).  I have no mixed emotions.  I am completely at peace.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.  I promise my twitter feed will not turn into family picture time.  I am excited to keep using it to talk baseball with y'all and continue to use it to "glorify God by aiding orphaned and disadvantaged children in Polk County, Florida, and throughout the world!!!"






43 comments:

  1. May God make your path straight and carry you when you are weary. Thank you for your love of baseball and sharing it with us. Most of all thank you for sharing Christ.

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  2. Good for u matte. U will always b my favorite Bb player and I will cherish all my matte autographed items. Thanks for all the memories and all the balls u threw to Tyson over the years...Good luck in all your endeavors... Karen Traynham & Tyson Evans

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  3. Matt you will always be one of my favorite players. Your loyalty to your team, your family and especially your demonstration of your faith on and off the field made you a true joy and inspiration to watch. I was lucky enough to attend Baseball 101 that the Braves held while you were playing in Atlanta and it was so much fun to meet you and even get some pointers in the batting cage. Thank you for being a great role model and I will pray that God keeps you in baseball some how, maybe even back in Atlanta. You will be missed on the field! God bless you and your family.

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  4. Best of luck. You were always a credit to Atlanta

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    1. Holy moly...I think I know you. I grew up in Cairo and graduated from CHS, my name is Maya. This is pretty cool finding you on a blog site. I'm on twitter @malywa78. Hope to catch up with you. Take care.

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  5. As a guy who really doesn't have 'favorite players' you were the exception. I loved watching you play and always appreciated your character off the field too.

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  6. Wishing you the best in your endeavors.

    @malywa78

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  7. I admire your integrity and your decision to walk away for the sake of time with your family. Keep putting God first and He will bless your future endeavors. I was one of your Braves fans but I am still a fan of the family man that you are. God bless you and your family!

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  8. MattE we have watched and cheered for you since your first days at FSU. Being Braves fans we were so excited to get to see you play in Atlanta. You will always have fans out here. Good luck in your future endeavors!

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  10. MattE! Thank you for always being a great guy both on and off the field and for always striving to put God first! May He continue to bless you and your family, and maybe one day, we'll see you back in a Braves uniform! ;)

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  11. You and Rossy, class acts, and never too busy for us Braves workout junkies in Orlando. Best wishes Matt, and thanks for the memories and exemplary style of play on the field

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  12. It was always fun watching you come in and swing 1st pitch against lefties and watching you show the league how to hit Johan. Haha, best of luck!

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  13. Thanks Matty D, for playing the game the right way and for honoring our Lord the whole way through. Prayers for success in the next phase of your life, and HUG THOSE KIDS while they're young!

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  14. God gave you a gift. Use it while you're young. They're will be plenty of time for the other his in life. You will one day regret this decision. Not right now, but someday. Trust me buddy, you will.

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    1. Omg sorry for the typos, but you get the gist

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  15. Congrats on a solid career and thanks for helping me win my fantasy league in 2007 :)

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  16. Matt, best of luck for the next page(s) of life. Followed you as a Braves fan but have been even more impressed by following you on Facebook. You lead a life that is an inspiration to all men.

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  17. MattE, I pray all the best for your and your family in this new beginning! You've been one of my favorite players since you first came to the Braves, and the day they let you go, I cried. I truly appreciate your play, but more, your witness and your willingness to stand firm in your faith in a business that doesn't always appreciate that and to some extent discourages it. You go, Polk County boy! Maybe I'll run into you down there in the PC sometime when I come home to visit!

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  18. Matt,
    I really enjoyed watching you play for the Atlanta Braves. Met you in Spring Training and have been a big fan of you as a player but more importantly, as a person. I wish you and your family the best.

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  19. Matt, I've always thought you stood out on diamond because of the person you are. It was a thrill watching you play in Atlanta. Thanks for the memories and good luck to you!

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  20. We love you and wish you so much joy!! Thank you for always playing your heart out in Atlanta. My Grandfather who recently passed (and loved baseball almost as a religion) said of you, "he's not flashy but that kid is GOOD at baseball." He believed in you and was never disappointed. Thank you for making my trips with him to Turner Field very special!

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  21. Matt, I still remember being in the stands at Howser the day you hit four home runs. When you came up to bat the last time , I barely got out the statement "they won't pitch to him" to a friend when you cracked the fourth one. Great memory! Mostly, loved your post game interviews where you would always give praise before answering any question. Showed you had your priorities in line. Congratulations on a fine career and good luck. Bring the kids up for a game in Tallahassee this Spring.

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  22. Matty,

    You were always one of favorite Braves for what you stood for and how you played the game. So happy for you to get to be home with your family every night. Prayers for you as you turn the next page. You are a true role model to young kids getting involved in the game of baseball. Thanks for all the great memories in Atlanta!

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  23. You have always had the support from us Animals of Section B here in Tallahassee. We wish you much happiness and success on your new adventure! Good luck!

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  24. Matt, good luck with your future. My kids and I always enjoyed watching you play as an Atlanta Brave. God Bless

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  25. Matt, you always have a place here in Atlanta. This is your home and you're always going to be considered a Brave.

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  26. You are one hell of a hitter and an even better dude. Wishing you the best.

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  27. Matt, Wishing you the best! Some of my best memories as a Braves fan are when you would flash the pitch count to me and my friends in the left field bleachers of Turner Field. Thanks for the memories

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  28. Matt, thank you for all the good time you've give to us Braves fans. After Atlanta, I think we all were still cheering for you. I was excited when the Braves brought you back. Though you were never my favorite player (sorry, but Chipper held/holds that title), I always appreciated the player you were, but more importantly the person you were. You were a role model on and off the field and a person that anyone of any age could look up to. Thank you for all that you've done as a ball player and a human being. Keep up the good work and God bless you and your family.

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  29. I will never forget the throw you made to nail Bobby Hill at the plate in the 1999 CWS Final. Best of luck in the next phase of your life.

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  30. Thank you for the years you put into the sport and for your family for the sacrifices they made so you could do your job. Good luck with everything you do next and have fun with your children! God bless!!

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  31. Master Diaz,

    You are a continual inspiration to keep life real. All my best, brother!

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  32. Cheryl, Rhett and I have enjoyed following your career since the days you played for the DOX. You lived your dream and were still an inspiration to many young men by your Christian example (Rhett included). May God bless you and your family as you move into the next phase of your life. I am sure Colin would be proud and would say "pops and hot dogs for everyone!".

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  33. So so glad I got to see you play (in person) in both the majors and minors. You'll always rank up there with my all time favorite players. Not sure what to say other than "may God bless your future endeavors". And hopefully we'll actually get to meet someday so that I can thank you in person for the inspired way you've played the game and for the very real way you've lived out and continue to live out your faith. Good stuff! Carry on!

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  34. Best of luck Matty D! Absolutely loved you in a Braves uniform, and kept up with you afterwards. Thank you for all you have done in baseball and the true joy your brought to us fans! You're still the only guy I've ever seen that could hit otherwise impossible pitches opposite field/vice versa.

    Best of luck!

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  35. Just caught your announcement…. Congrats on a great baseball career and God bless on your future plans! It’s been great following you from afar over the years knowing what a good role model you have been. Plus, the DOX were some great baseball memories. Look forward to seeing where your Foundation takes you!
    God Bless,
    Evan Glassley

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  36. Matt - You've been my favorite player for years - no matter your role - starter or platoon you played 100% to cover your job and you are 100%a class act and first rate role model. Going to miss watching you play - Melissa Le'ppin -

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  37. Matt: I thought you might enjoy a story about you and your grandfather and spring training.
    My wife and I usually come to Florida in March for five days of baseball. Two Braves games, one Cleveland Indians game (old ball park before they went West) and two other locations. Sometimes Braves on the road, but not always.
    On this particular day we were in Winter Haven to see the Indians. I was wearing my Braves visor.
    The gentleman who directed us to a parking row made a comment about my being a Braves fan. I told him I was. He asked me who my favorite player was and I told him, Matt Diaz.
    He smiled and said, Matte is my grandson!
    We talked for a few minutes and we proceeded to park.
    After parking I walked back to your grand father and asked him to autograph my visor.
    He laughed and said that was the first time someone had asked for his autograph. I gave him a pen and he signed my visor.
    I still have it today! One of my prized possessions.
    Today (Sunday, April 27 ) and Saturday (April 26) I saw you on Braves Live. You were terrific. Hope you become a fixture!

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  38. I caught your recent debut on the pregame broadcast. You did great and I hope you will become a regular on the show. Though I was sad to retire my "I'd DI for that AZ" poster, I am glad to see you are still connected to Atlanta and the Braves!

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  39. Batter's Up Baseball is a q sport that's performed like actual Baseball. Once the q sport begins you might find the readers rating on the screen. Your aim would be to overcome the readers rating and get the baseball game.

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  40. It's quite interesting and also useful post...Thanks to share this..

    hey guys i want to share latest android game Baseball Xtreme for kids..must be check this..

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gameimax.BaseBallXtreme

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