Learning to go “with the pitch”
Monday, April 17, 2017
After the game, the young player and his teammates lingered on the baseball diamond. They basked in the glory of their triumph and willed the sun not to set on the day that made them victors.
“We refused to take off our grimy jerseys because we all feared the same thought; the next level will be different,” wrote Jacobi, a Norwalk resident who leads Greenwich’s Young Professionals Group, in his book “Going With The Pitch.”
“We were not sure how, but we all worried that the innocence of the game would disintegrate with the new pressure of college baseball,” he wrote.
In the years since that triumph, Jacobi has felt the flush of victory and acknowledged the sad truth that he wasn’t baseball star material. His story — and his insights into college sports and life beyond — have made him a regular at baseball recruiting and coaching conferences and eventually led to “Going with the Pitch.”
“…but with this it would become a lesson that others in a similar situation could read and study for both their betterment and the improvement of a team,” he wrote in chapter 20. “I would be the guinea pig, sacrificed into the baseball black hole so that those after me could read my story and change their path, if even just marginally.”
Jacobi, who now works as a Treasury Associate Manager for PepsiCo., said he learned to love baseball in the idyllic baseball fashion — from family. He fondly remembers attending major league games and going to batting practice with his father.
“We found community through baseball,” Jacobi said.
“Going With the Pitch” chronicles the ups and down of his baseball career. Its subtitle, “Adjusting to Baseball, School and Life as a Division I College Athlete,” begins with his high school dreams of playing college ball.
Technically, Jacobi is the protagonist of “Going With The Pitch,” but really, it’s the concept of change and adapting to it that drives the story.
His childhood love grew into high school competitiveness, where he was first humbled by the game, he said.
“I thought I would probably get recruited to play college ball,” he said. “Then I realized I was just one of many good players.”
In the early chapters of his book, Jacobi talked about falling out of love with baseball but still persisting.
“It had taken a lot of work, time, and effort to rekindle the flame that had almost been smothered,” he wrote of his high school baseball career. “…Being so close to hitting that low, I broke down and cried once at home after the championship game. I was obviously happy about being part of one of the most remarkable comebacks of my career, erasing a major late inning deficit, but more importantly I recognized that there was nowhere else in the world that I would have rather been than on that field.”
Jacobi found plenty of material and guidance to help him through the college recruiting process, he said.
His dreams of attending a top southern school, where warm weather provides a better backdrop for the spring sport, altered when a strong offer from SUNY Binghamton, a Division I school, arrived.
Once he was on the upstate New York campus grappling with actually being a college athlete, there wasn’t much out there to help him with learning to succeed as a college student and college athlete, he said. No advice he could glean from a book or movie available at the time prepared him for the emotional and psychological barriers he’d face.
That prompted him to keep recording his experiences in a journal and eventually turn them into two editions of “Going With The Pitch.”
His experiences are outlined in his book: arriving on campus as a freshman, he discovered the coach who recruited him, and the only one on staff who’d seen him play, was gone. He struggled to regain his footing with a new coach, a new team and a new understanding of his place in the world.
“When my confidence went, everything went with it,” Jacobi said. “I had to learn to separate the game from my personal life.”
By the time his senior year rolled around, Jacobi had given up his distant dream of making it to “The Big Show,” taking off much of the self-inflicted pressure to be perfect, and it was his most enjoyable season, he said.
He finally learned the trick to overcoming the biggest obstacle of all: himself. The lesson, which he tries to teach readers through his writing, is “to be ready to be ready,” he said.
Something in life is going to go differently than anticipated, he said. Life is a series of choices about how you’re going to react to those situations.
Both in his book and in his discussions about the book, Jacobi is forthright: He admits he could be a selfish player, that he’d sacrifice his batting form to get the big hit and even that he’d fall into sulking after games.
That’s the real goal, Jacobi said. People don’t read his book because he was an MVP slugger or famed manager. He was pretty average, he admits, as most athletes wind up being, and that’s why his story is relevant to so many.
“I haven’t saved the world,” Jacobi said. “But I know I’ve helped someone and it’s kept me connected to the game…I love it more now than maybe I did even before.”
Author Ken Jacobi’s blog featured on PathwayBaseball.com
Check out the blog post below!
The Freshman Fall- Part 1
Stamford Resident Publishes Book
Ken Jacobi of Stamford published “Going with the Pitch: Adjusting to Baseball, School and Life as a Division I College Athlete (Second Edition).” Jacobi, a recent graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business, writes about a four-year chronicle of his time as a Division I student-athlete playing baseball in the Snowbelt. He currently serves as a Treasury Associate Manager/commodities trades at PepsiCo in Purchase, NY. For more about his book, visit amazon.com
Life in Division I: Binghamton University Magazine
Ken Jacobi ’09 spent four years playing Division I baseball at Binghamton University, chasing and finally catching a dream his senior year when the team won an America East Conference Championship. The years leading up to that accomplishment, however, were filled with hard work and dotted with self-doubt and reality checks.
Using his experiences to help other student-athletes, Jacobi has written a book called Going with the Pitch: Adjusting to Baseball, School, and Life as a Division I College Athlete.
“The book is less about milestones achieved and records set than it is about the process of going through college as a baseball player,” Jacobi says. “Throughout my college baseball process I was constantly looking for books that I could relate to. There were books about the recruiting process and other books about Major Leaguers, but there was little out there in between those two. The story is one of struggle and perseverance, something Binghamton knows a lot about.”
Jacobi arrived in Binghamton for a series of events in August 2009, where Binghamton University Magazine asked him a few questions about his book.
Milford Patch -Milford Native Writes Book on Being a College Athlete
Ken Jacobi offers unique perspective on his experience as a Division I college athlete.
“Former BU athlete Jacobi visits area to promote book”
BINGHAMTON – Former Binghamton University baseball player Ken Jacobi will be making his first visit to the area since writing his book “Going with the Pitch: Adjusting to Baseball, School and Life as a Division I College Athlete.”
Jacobi, an outfielder and designated hitter for the Bearcats who graduated in 2009, will have a table set up at Thursday’s Binghamton Mets game, the BU bookstore on Friday afternoon and Barnes and Noble on Friday evening at 7.
His book, based on a journal he kept during his four years playing baseball at BU, which included a third-place finish in the 2009 NCAA regional, was published in April.
Jacobi, 24, goes into detail about some of his personal gripes about a lack of playing time while at BU, but he said the motivation for publishing the book was to help future college athletes who will have the jarring experience of being away from home and adjusting to college life while playing college sports.
“My goal is to make it a positive book,” Jacobi said. “I went through some struggles, but I think I’m better for having gone through it. The point of the book is to be a positive message to the next generation of student athletes.”
Jacobi, who started 106 games in four seasons and had 48 RBIs and six home runs, said he has not heard from any of the members of the BU baseball coaching staff since publishing the book, but he said he likes to think he is still on good terms with them.
Jacobi said approximately 750 copies of the book have been sold since April, and he has also done 20 appearances talking to little league and high school athletes about his experience.
ItsRelevant.com : “Book Shares Man’s Baseball Struggles”
Ken Jacobi struggled through four years of Division I college baseball. Now, he is sharing his story so others can learn from his hardships.
Jacobi, who grew up in Milford and now lives and works in Stamford, published his book, Going With the Pitch: Adjusting to Baseball, School and Life as a Division I College Athlete in April 2011. The book follows his career as an outfielder and designated hitter for Binghamton University from 2005 to 2009.
“I wanted to share with baseball fans and athletes — especially players in high school — what it’s like to be a college baseball player,” Jacobi said. “And I don’t mean a top prospect who is at a big time school. This book is about the ins and outs, the struggles of an everyday player.”
Binghamton is far from a baseball power. The school boasts less than 12,000 undergraduates. Its baseball program has only played in one NCAA Tournament. It is a school, Jacobi says, where most players know their career ends when they graduate. He says that finality is the reality for most student athletes.
“That’s the mass audience this book appeals to,” he said. “Like me, most players play in college and then it’s over. Then you’ve got to go work for a living.”
The book chronicles both the highs and lows of Jacobi’s college career, from transitioning to college during his freshman year, to struggling for playing time, to winning the America East conference in 2009. He says his lowest point came during his junior year, when the grind nearly made him turn his back on baseball.
“I wanted to quit. I’d had enough,” Jacobi said. “I wanted nothing to do with baseball anymore.”
But he persevered. Eventually, he realized major league baseball wasn’t in his future and decided to enjoy baseball while he still could.
Jacobi kept a journal of his college career as “a way to remember” it when it was over. Little did he know he was actually writing his book.
And now he has a story to tell.
“I don’t go out and give direct advice in this book,” Jacobi said. “All I do is retell my story. And I hope people take something away from it and learn from what I went through.”
So far, Jacobi has seen some results. He says a man whose son plays at Cornell University e-mailed him about the book. Jacobi says the man explained how he and his son read the book and learned what to expect in the coming years.
“It was great to hear,” Jacobi said. “That’s what the book is all about.”
Jacobi estimates the book has sold between 1,000 and 1,500 copies so far.
Book announced on Southern Collegaite Baseball League website
Former HCBL player writes a new Book on the “College Baseball Experience”
Ken Jacobi graduated from Binghamton University in 2009 as a four year player on their baseball team. After his Junior year he got the opportunity to play in the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League for the Hawaii Aliis. He says “What ensued was the greatest, and most important, summer of my entire life!”
Ken has just released his new book; “Going with the Pitch: Adjusting to Baseball, School, and Life as a Division I College Athlete”, a first hand experience into the life of a college athlete.
“The book offers a unique look into the world of college baseball as told from the perspective of a former player and is far less about milestones achieved and records set than it is about the process of going through college as a baseball player. Throughout my college baseball process I was constantly looking for books that I could relate to. Sure there were books about the recruiting process, and other books about Major Leaguers, but there was very little out there in between those two.
“I wanted to read a book about what it was like to play college baseball, not just how you got there or what you do afterwards. I didn’t necessarily want to hear from someone who was an MVP and hit .420, but instead I wanted a story told from a “normal” kid, like the 99% of the population, just trying to make it into the lineup on a day to day basis. But nothing like that existed, so I decided to do it myself.
“This project took two long years to go from the 1,000′s of pages of notes and journal entries I made throughout school into this “finished version”.
“Having played in the HCBL, I devoted an entire chapter to my unbelievable experience out there. I am not exaggerating when I say that this chapter is by far the most important of the entire book. I came to Hawaii as one type of baseball player and left as a totally different one. I am still not sure exactly why this transformation happened, but I am forever grateful that it did!”
The official book website is www.GoingwiththePitch.com. It offers sample chapters (including the Hawaii chapter), blogs, videos and more. The book is available in Nook (BarnesandNoble.com), Kindle, and Paperback at:
HCBL congratulates Ken on completing his book. So much of what we try to do with HCBL is to inspire young men to become good and industrious people. And as you know its so much more that baseball, its really about the people, the experiences and most importantly enjoying the journey.
CT Post – “Jacobi’s book a primer for prospective collegiate athletes”
“Going with Pitch” appears in the Connecticut Post and Danbury Times.
Article in the New Haven Register
Former Hopkins outfielder and Register All-Area selection Ken Jacobi has recently released a book title, “Going With the Pitch: Adjusting to College Athletics.
Jacobi, who kept a journal during his four seasons at Binghamton University, offers his view into the world of college baseball from a player’s perspective.
“Hopefully it prepares high school kids to understand the business part and the real side of it,” said Jacobi, who graduated from Hopkins in 2005. “If it helps one kid, it’s successful in my mind.”
“Going with the Pitch” on the Fox CT Morning Show
On the set of the Fox CT Morning show, I got to share my story and talk about the book.