For NFL Undrafted's Chad Toocheck, belief is hope

05/14/2017 6:44 AM - Devo

The last time I spoke with Chad Toocheck, he was coming off being profiled on the NFL Network's Undrafted series. From being "this close" to realizing a dream of playing in the NFL and overcoming his own personal demons with drugs and alcohol, Toocheck was also dealing with being diagnosed with testicular cancer and coping with the passing of his mother, a special lady so important to his sobriety, that she continues to be the driven force behind his mission to become a better person.

I caught up with Toocheck recently, and with no surprise, he continues to changes lives and inspire others to be the best they can be.

The GM’s Perspective: Chad, it’s been approximately one year since we talked about your time on NFL Network's Undrafted and your time in the Arena League. What’s been going on since?

Chad Toocheck: Less of me and more of others. I’ve really been trying to give back as much as possible. WIth the passing of my mom last year that really opened my eyes to what my purpose is. It really has nothing to do with me. I’ve always been driven to help kids, but now more than ever I know that’s my real focus in life.

GMs: I saw a fantastic news report on the work you on doing with youth and helping them achieve their football dreams. Can you elaborate and let our readers know how you got involved in that?

CT: Last year I volunteered at the local high school, the same high school I attended. This year a position opened up as an assistant coach and I jumped at the opportunity. Everything went well during the interview process and I ended up getting hired. I have more free time in my life now so that I can dedicate it to these kids. It’s been an honour and a privilege to coach those them and to mentor them. There’s a lot of kids that want to do great things with their lives and they want to achieve great things and whatever lessons I can teach them about the real world will be more important than anything I could teach them about football.  

GMs: Being on Undrafted is a huge honor. Regardless of making the NFL or not, look how close you made it. Some people would look at that as a negative, but I’ll make an educated guess and say that the whole experience made you a stronger person, correct?

CT: Without a doubt. There’s no such thing as failure. It’s about what I’ve accomplished. There was a time I was beating myself up about getting so close and where did I go wrong? But, the plan the entire time was to be able to impact my community and impact people around me. That’s what I’ve been able to do.

I’ve used my story to push these kids to where they want to go. The most powerful thing I can tell them is to straighten up in high school (something I didn’t do). If they can buckle down, bust their butts, and focus on what they want to accomplish to become a better person they’ll be able to accomplish it. Where I fell short, they will succeed because they won’t be going into the NFL at 26/27 years old, they’ll be going in at 21/22 without any wreckage from the past to bring them down.

GMs: In your interview with Lauren Brill, you said “belief is hope” can you expand on that?

CT: It was spur of the moment. It’s funny because I got a bracelet now that says it. My attitude to what I can accomplish and what I can’t accomplish is right in that saying, “belief is hope”. If I believe I can do that, I’m hopeful for my future. Same with the kids. If they believe they can do it, in my eyes, they have hope for tomorrow. If you’re already defeated, there’s no chance tomorrow will be a success.  Belief is hope pushes me and encourages me to be a better person. I still have a lot of growing to do and a lot of changes to make.

GMs: What’s your focus when coaching/teaching kids? Obviously football is the focal point, but what other lessons have you implement?

CT: I’m very open with them if they have any questions. I don’t hold back. Most high school kids these days are struggling with identity and being comfortable with themselves. They’re always striving to fit in and striving to make this person or that person like them or trying to fit in with a certain group. I lost myself doing that in high school. I lost who I was doing that. I’ve really just tried to encourage these kids to be themselves and be comfortable in their own skin

GMs: What’s next for Chad Toocheck?

CT: I’m just taking it one day at a time. With my mom passing, that really opened my eyes to many things. Life is a gift to be enjoyed, not a problem to be solved.

GMs: Chad, thanks again. You’re impacting more people than you think, I can guarantee you that.

CT: I appreciate that Devon. You keep doing what you’re doing.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Barfield thrives in Sugar Land

05/06/2017 8:55 AM - Devo

For all us Blue Jays fans out there, the name Jesse Barfield takes us back to glory days of Jays baseball. The late 80's club was filled with names like Bell, Moseby, Garcia, Stieb, and Key were synonymous with winning. Barfield, #29 is one of the greatest to ever put on their uniform and has a Silver Slugger, two Gold Gloves, and a home run title to prove it.

Fast Forward to present day and the name Barfield is still on baseball diamonds everywhere. His son, Jeremy Barfield was selected in the 8th round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft from San Jacinto College by the Oakland Athletics where he spent the first seven years of his career.

During his time within the Athletics organization he put up some solid numbers. His best season came with Stockton in 2010 when he his .272 with 17 home runs and 92 RBI. Upon becoming a free agent, Barfield spent time in the Colorado Rockies organization, in the Mexican League and Independent baseball. 

Over the past couple years, the 28 year old outfielder didn't found his groove until he spent 2016 with the Sugar Land Skeeters. WIth them he played the first full season of his career since Double A Midland in 2012. 

His breakout season, which included league MVP honours, is something that's becoming common place for ex-pros in Indy baseball. With nearly 600 at-bats, Barfield led the team in home runs with 27, RBI with 85, was first in OPS (.915) second in walks (62) and second in batting average (a career high .306). 

So far 2017 is much of the same. After 15 games he's second in the league batting a ridiculous .390, and is leading the league in hits (23), home runs (5) and runs scored (14).

If this doesn't garner some interest from the scouts, I don't know what will! Stay tuned, it's probably just a matter of time before the MVP signs a minor league contract and starts the climb through minor league ranks once again.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Eight year vet rises to the challenge, signs with Round Rock

04/24/2017 10:23 AM - Devo

It didn’t take long for Josh Wilson raise some eyebrows. After resigning with the York Revolution for a second season, the veteran infielder signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers' Triple-A affiliate (Round Rock Express) becoming the first Revs player to sign with a Major League franchise this season.

None of this is new for Wilson who’s entering his 19th pro season. He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the third round of the 1999 MLB June Amateur Draft. While at Mount Lebanon HS, Wilson was named the State Player of the Year, and helped guide his team to a state championship.

The Rev’s loss is Round Rock’s gain. Wilson was to play a major role with the team this year, regardless, Revs manager Mark Mason didn’t expect anything less from someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty for any team he plays for.

“I’m really excited for Josh,” commented Mason. “I believed he should have had an infield job in the big leagues, and I’m very happy for him to have a chance to pursue that. He came here and was a consummate professional for us and put himself in position to have this opportunity. That’s what our league is all about.”

Wilson may not be your everyday household name, but after eight years at the MLB level (with nine different teams) and with over 431 games under his belt, his track record is stable enough that any team who claims him will get a guy who can play anywhere at any given time.

In just under 1,100 at-bats he’s amassed a career .229 batting average with 10 home runs and 84 RBI. You’ll even get a guy with who can steal a base when needed (14/18).

At 36 years old, the clock is winding down on his career, but the Indy’s have proven once again that despite everything that’s happened in the past, if you have talent someone will find you.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

From one bird to another, Nolan Reimold signs with LI Ducks

04/15/2017 1:29 PM - Devo

Birds of a feather...

All but twenty nine games of Nolan Reimold’s eight-year MLB career have been spent with the Baltimore Orioles. After being granted free agency by the O’s in November of 2016, Reimold inked a deal with the Long Island Ducks of the Independent Atlantic League.

What the Ducks are getting is an established MLB calibre player with over 13 years of professional experience under his belt.

“Nolan has put together an impressive career in professional baseball and has extensive experience at the game’s highest level,” said Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff. “He is eager to help this team win as well as earn an opportunity to return to the Major Leagues. We look forward to having him with the club.”

Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2005 MLB June Amateur Draft from Bowling Green State, Reimold has dealt with serious injuries over his career and has been used more of a utility guy than anything else. Despite never playing more than 104 games in a season, he’s got legit power and can drive the ball out of the ballpark at any given time; 56 home runs/61 doubles in 480 games.

The Ducks are one of the best teams in all of Independent baseball (three league championships), and have a rich history of current and former MLB’ers (Rich Hill) leveraging their time there as a platform to be seen.

By no means does 32 years of age mean Reimold is over the hill. On the contrary, this might just be the reboot he needs to help at team out come the trade deadline for a playoff run.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here
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