MLBbro Jason Heyward Uses Social Media To Provide Leadership To Teammates

MLBbro Jason Heyward Uses Social Media To Provide Leadership To Teammates

In this day and age, sports figures are identified more by their contracts than their play and overall impact to the team that pays them.

One of those players is our MLBbro, Jason Heyward, who may have an unfair legacy of not living up to the eight-year, $184 million contract the Chicago Cubs handed him before the 2016 season.

After Heyward’s 2015 season with slashes of .293/.359/.439 at the plate and second-straight Gold Glove Award in the field, the Cubs and their fanbase thought they had stolen a franchise player from their division rival, the Cardinals.

 

Our MLBbro aka “J-Hey”’s combination of solid hitting and better defense in the outfield was supposed to be the cornerstone of Chicago’s North side success for years to come.

Seven years later, some fans and media members have given up on Heyward’s worth to the team.

His slash line of .248/.280/.347 with 281 RBI over 710 games doesn’t add up to his salary. But what gets overlooked by many in professional sports is his veteran leadership behind the scenes. Some of it balances out the struggles that fans see on the field.

Don’t Let The Numbers Fool You, Jason Heyward Can Be Productive At The Plate

Nothing illustrates this point more for Jason Heyward and the Chicago Cubs than Game 7 of the World Series back in 2016. J-Hey called a team meeting during a rain delay to rally his teammates to the Cubs’ first World Championship in 108 years.

 

 

Just think of how much his teammates respected our MLBbro to lock in after his speech – despite Heyward batting .104 (5-48) over 16 games in the postseason. This is the example of leadership and respect he provides in the dugout as a liaison between the manager, coaches and players. Championship teams need that one player. Heyward has been one for years.

Social Media As A Team-Building Tool

With the Cubs stumbling out of the gate at 11-19, Heyward has used social media to keep his teammates inspired through this rough patch.

 

Despite his .222 batting average with only three RBI, his leadership and professionalism is appreciated by Cubs President, Jed Hoyer  according to NBCSports.com.

Roberto Clemente Award | MLBbros Tony Kemp and J-Hey Kid Nominated

“He’s a guy who had a lot of [veteran] players that influenced him as a young player in Atlanta, and he kind of pays it back now,” Hoyer said, referring to, among others, his current manager, David Ross. “He’s really good with those [young] guys. Everyone always talks about Jason being such a pro, how he handles all of his business off the field, how he prepares for games, how he prepares in the offseason. Everything he does is kind of first class in that regard.”

 

With Jason’s career winding down, his latest message to his peers: don’t take baseball for granted.

 

 

“And be on winning teams for the most part. I’ve done a lot of that,” he said. “Enough to appreciate what it’s like to have winning seasons and to feel what it’s like to lose. To see transitions happen. I’ve been a part of three of those now, in Atlanta, in St. Louis and then of course here.”

“We’ll see what happens,” Heyward said. “I know I have less years ahead of me than I do behind me, and I’m grateful for that.”

“The rest will take care of itself.”

 

The Jason Heyward Baseball Academy Got Em’ Screaming “West Side” In Chicago

The Jason Heyward Baseball Academy Got Em’ Screaming “West Side” In Chicago

Jason Heyward has already helped bring a World Series Championship to the city of Chicago. Now, Heyward is ready to help create the next baseball hotbed in the midwest.

After breaking ground last year, the Jason Heyward Baseball Academy is scheduled for a soft opening this coming winter. Heyward himself has selected the academy’s head of baseball operations, and is in the process of finalizing the hire.

“There’s so much opportunity to create a place to host tournaments, to host a league, to have a travel-ball team have that as their home base facility-wise,” Heyward told the Chicago Sun -Times.

“But just give all the kids in the community a place to get excited about going to play. I remember what that was like for me playing in East Cobb, being from McDonough, Henry County, just out of Atlanta.”

 

Roberto Clemente Award | MLBbros Tony Kemp and J-Hey Kid Nominated

 

 

The East Cobb travel team Heyward played for is the East Cobb Astros, a national powerhouse based in Georgia. The Astros have produced dozens of MLB players, including fellow MLBbro Brandon Phillips. The high cost of travel ball has been well documented, but one of the keys to a quality travel baseball program that often gets overlooked is access to state of the art facilities.

With the Jason Heyward Baseball Academy, Black kids on the West Side of Chicago will now have their opportunity to build a powerhouse similar to the one that produced Heyward. The JHBA sits on a 10-acre site in North Austin, a predominantly black neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago.

“I want all the kids to get the right fundamentals and, if they love the game, to keep playing,” Heyward said. “But, if not, we would like to expose them to front-office jobs, media jobs, coaching jobs, all that kinds of stuff, as well.”

Heyward Still Leader In Cubs Clubhouse

The Cubs may not be contenders anymore, but Heyward has remained a pillar in their locker room, just like he’s been in the community.

Heyward, one of three remaining Cubs from that 2016 Championship squad, was hitting .316 with an OBP of .381 before the Cubs took on the Rays Wednesday. Albeit a small sample size, Heyward has once again showcased his ability to get on base. This is a welcomed sight after posting a career low .280 OBP last season.

 

Don’t Let The Numbers Fool You, Jason Heyward Can Be Productive At The Plate

 

Jason’s effectiveness at the plate may seem like a flashback to days of “prime” Heyward, but his glove has always remained elite. However, this season would provide a different challenge for the five time Gold Glove recipient, as the Cubs asked Heyward to play center in order to accommodate $85 million man Seiya Suzuki.

Some have wondered if a move to centerfield was the right move for the 32-year-old Heyward, who has had several injuries over the past few seasons. But so far, the vet has shown he still possesses enough athleticism to man the most difficult spot in the outfield.

After helping to end the longest championship drought in North American sports, many fans would say Jason has done enough for Chicago.  He just keeps giving more of himself for various causes.

 

 

But for Heyward it has always been bigger than baseball, and now the Jason Heyward Baseball Academy will help create opportunities on and off the field.