Playing in Akron is More Than Just a Promotion For Gallas
Danny Madden | On 17, Jun 2014
It’s every young baseball players dream to play in The Show. Every little kid that grows up playing catch in their back yard with their dad at some point in their life has dreamed of playing for their hometown team. It’s just a part of growing up, those dreams don’t last forever though. Well, with the exception of Akron RubberDucks newest outfielder, Anthony Gallas.
As a kid growing up in Strongsville, Ohio, Gallas of course dreamed of playing for the Indians and making it to The Show. After being promoted to Double-A Akron, he’s now one step closer to achieving that goal.
“I’m excited for this opportunity, I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” Gallas said. “If you can play at the upper levels, then you can play at the big leagues. I just wanted the chance to do that.”
Gallas, 26, was recently promoted to the RubberDucks after batting a hot stick down in High-A Carolina. While he was there, he batted .276/.331/.480 with 21 doubles, eight home runs, four stolen bases, and 31 RBI in 58 games. After only playing 14 games in 2013, this season has been a huge turn around for Gallas from his shortened season in 2013 due to a season ending hip injury.
“Every time I swung I got a stabbing pain in my hip, that wasn’t me. I thought about how I could get better, what I needed to focus on,” Gallas said. “I thought I was getting a little inflexible lifting so much. I always had that ‘I have to outwork everyone’ attitude. I thought this offseason I did a good job of working smarter, not harder. Focusing on soft tissue work, flexibility. Doing things more to be healthy on the field, stay on the field instead of seeing how big and strong I can get. I think that’s helped me in my swing, my defense and my arm.”
For Gallas, the key for him is to be healthy. Gallas credits his success so far this season to the fact that he finally feels healthy. It seems to be showing at the plate. Aside from his hot start in Carolina, he didn’t seem to skip a beat after he came to Akron. In the five games that he’s played with Akron, he’s batting .333/.333/.619 and has already hit his first home run in Double-A.
When most players get pushed up the next organizational level, it’s just a promotion to them. Being in Akron is a little bit of a different story for Gallas though. Since he grew up in Strongsville, Ohio, and attended college at Kent State University, being at Akron is a bit of a home coming for him.
“I had close to maybe 15-20 people at the game [Friday] night. It makes it that much better. I almost get choked up out there just thinking about it,” Gallas said. “I know how hard I’m working everyday in Carolina, Lake County, Arizona and the offseason. They don’t see that. I see how I’ve progressed, but to see them come to the game and they’re like ‘Wow, you look like you should be here. You look like a ball player.’ They never saw the middle area, they only saw the before and after. It’s cool to show what I’ve been working for.”
Being in Akron for Gallas is almost like a dream come true. Going through his time in the minors, Gallas has had his bumps and bruises along the way. This has led to a slower development and progression. Now that he’s finally healthy and ready to play, he can show his friends and family what he’s done with his career thus far.
“It’s cool to show what I’ve been working for. I can only tell them so much on the phone. That’s what gets me excited,” Gallas said.
After his injury-riddled 2013, the thought of having a baseball career had almost fizzled away. When given another chance to compete in this organization, Gallas is grateful to return to playing the game he loves.
“I was thankful to be back on a baseball field after I was injured,” Gallas said. “I didn’t know if I was going to get the opportunity, so I was thankful for that.”
After having some unsuccessful seasons in the past, Gallas had to take a good, hard look at himself this offseason. Determining what kind of player you want to be is key to succeeding. Obviously, each player enjoys having success in anything they do, but there’s more to it than that. For Gallas, it wasn’t a matter of looking at his achievements, but more about looking at his failures.
“I had to figure out how I failed in years past and figure out what I was going to do to get past obstacles,” Gallas said. “I think the biggest thing is accepting failure. It’s going to happen. You have to realize that the only thing you can do is come back the next day. You have another chance to succeed and don’t get down on yourself.”
Now in his fifth season with the Indians organization after being signed by the Tribe as a non-drafted free agent in 2010. Gallas has spent most of his time though between Low-A Lake County and High-A Carolina. Gallas brings pro-ball experience to his new team, but that’s not the role that he thinks he provides. Instead, he’s more impressed with how mature this Double-A team already is.
“When I got here, everyone was doing early work. Everyone was getting their job done,” Gallas said. “I mean, it’s a really mature team. I think my role is to just be a good teammate filling in and just playing hard everyday.”
As a boy who’s chasing his dream, Gallas is on the right track to reaching his goal. Understanding failure, and taking advantage of his opportunities, the hopes of succeeding in this game still stand high in the eyes of the young Ohio-native. With family and friends being the most important people in his world, proving to them what he can do is something that Gallas looks forward to each and every day.
“They always tell me ‘Don’t do it for us, do it for yourself.’ At the same time, I want to do it for my friends and my family. That makes it special. If you don’t have them then what do you have?”