McAdams' makeup and personality make him special
NILES- Josh McAdams could be a special player, but as a person he already is special. It’s the plain and simple truth of it.
He exudes a certain brightness about him. It’s that exuberance only exhibited by those special people. When he smiles, those around him smile; they just can’t help it.
While his smile is contagious, it is his heart that is extraordinary.
After the Mahoning Valley Scrappers lost their second game of the young season, low and behold, well after the game ended there was one player left on the field standing near the wall upon the first-base line. It was McAdams.
McAdams stuck around to talk to a bunch of kids, signed balls, and gave them hugs as if he was talking to his own children.
His amazing relationship with the fans, especially the children, is thanks to his mother. He treats these kids the only way he knows how.
“My mom has a home daycare, and she’s had one for thirteen years,” McAdams beamed. “I’ve been around kids my entire life. I lived fifteen minutes away from the Rome Braves, the Low A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, so growing up and going to those games and seeing guys like Francoeur, McCann, Heyward come up and take the time to talk to me, it really meant a lot to me. So, seeing these little kids, I mean, there’s no reason for me to rush back in the locker room, I ain’t got nowhere else to go. It’s ten o’clock at night and there’s nothing more I would rather do than talk to and have some words with some kids and sign a few autographs. Fans make this game possible, so the least I can do is show my appreciation for them being here.”
After a loss in which McAdams carried the offensive load, he’s the last one on the field. Just laughing, playing, and appreciating the blessing of becoming a professional baseball player.
This attitude, this glowing warmth, follows him right onto the diamond.
When you watch McAdams take the field, he brings on a sense of nostalgia and reminds you of some of the greats of old.
Maybe it’s his hiked up pants, his formidable size, or just the way he plays the game, but McAdams just looks as if he was born to wear a baseball uniform. It’s indescribable really.
He trots out on the field, wearing number seven. For some players, a number is meaningless. For others, it’s lucky. For McAdams, it’s in homage to his favorite baseball player of all time.
“My favorite player ever - I never got the privilege to watch him play - was Mickey Mantle,” said McAdams, remembering his boyhood hero. “That’s why number seven is my favorite number in the whole wide world and I was so happy to get that this year. I’m going to do that number proud.”
His love for an old-school player like Mantle just adds to his abundance of charm.
While McAdams isn’t a centerfielder like his idol, he is a left and right fielder; a good one at that.
Drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft by the Indians, McAdams made his way to Arizona straight out of Calhoun High School in Calhoun, Georgia.
An interesting prep prospect, McAdams was ranked as the 257th player in the nation by Perfect Game and the 151st player by Baseball America.
In high school, McAdams was known for his power, size, and arm strength. Hitting .447 with six home runs and nine doubles, McAdams showed off his great bat, smacking the ball around the diamond. He pitched in addition to playing in the field, and lit up his opponents, finishing 6-1 with a 2.68 ERA during his senior year.
At 6’4, 215 McAdams has all of the makings of a big league power hitter, but when he arrived in Arizona, that power didn’t shine through.
For the Arizona League Indians last season, McAdams finished hitting .225 with 0 home runs and 20 RBI, while striking out in more than a third of his at bats. The power that was so intriguing in high school didn’t make it’s way to the pros.
McAdams knows what happened last season, and has put all of his effort into hitting the ball with the power he is known for.
“I need to cut down my strikeouts and just be a run producer,” he said. "I’m trying to swing for more power, trying to be more productive in run-production. With swinging for power, strikeouts are going to come, but if I can both swing for power and swing for average, then the strikeouts will disappear.”
The Indians, regardless of his performance in Arizona, have faith in McAdams and rewarded him with a move to Mahoning Valley, where he will act as the power source and cleanup man for the Scrappers.
McAdams is well aware of the expectations that are placed upon him, and strives each day to meet them.
“When they drafted me, [the Indians scouts] said, ‘hey, we want you to be a big power guy in the outfield...we want you to be a middle-of-the-order guy who we can rely on if there’s men on base...you can drive them in, whether it’s a home run or a ball in the gap,'" McAdams said. "So, that’s what they’re expecting of me. I’m just trying to do what I can to please everybody.”
It’s hard not to have faith in Josh McAdams. When you meet him, it’s so easy to see what a special ballplayer he can be.
His love for the game is only equalled by the love he has for those around him.
When asked about any players he has a good relationship with, McAdams said, “He’s not with me right now, but D’Vone McClure. He is one of my best buddies in the whole wide world. Hopefully he’s doing good in Arizona, and hopefully I’ll see him soon."
Thinking of his friend who is thousands of miles away, McAdams even tweeted: “I wish my home boy @Dmcclure22 was here.. But I know he'll be here soon”.
His thoughts of McClure shouldn’t have been surprising. It’s just a testament to the kind of person he is.
One of the youngest guys in the Mahoning Valley clubhouse, McAdams is already a leader. He may not know it yet, but as the cleanup hitter and a starting outfielder, guys are looking up to McAdams for guidance.
“I don’t like to classify myself as a leader, because that would be kind of arrogant of me," McAdams pondered. "But, an unspoken leader? I’d like to think so.
“I’ll accept any role this organization gives me or my team gives me. My ultimate goal is to help this team win. No matter how that is, whether it’s being a leader or just being someone that follows, because you gotta do both to be successful, I’ll accept any role.”
Be it a leader or a guy just trying to play good baseball day in and day out, it’s hard not to root for a guy like McAdams.
Guys like him don’t come around often. Incredibly likable, energetic, old-school, and humble, McAdams has the perfect formula to become the consummate fan favorite.
As McAdams walks back to teh clubhouse he shouts, “Hey look man, I’m the last one here. This is awesome.” And then he let’s out a big ole’ “woooooo” before he greets a team employee and ducks behind the clubhouse door.
There’s a kid that embodies the human spirit, enjoying each minute of his life, not to mention his professional baseball career.
Due to the nature of the game of baseball, it’s impossible to tell if Josh McAdams will make it. In baseball, you can never really tell who is going to make it and who won’t. Sometimes, the most talented guy never makes the big-time, while the hardest worker doesn’t either. It’s just a game of chance.
However, in the game of life, it’s easier to see. You can see the kind of people that are going to make a big impact on this world. The people that genuinely care for the good of those around them. Those that enjoy the life they’ve been given, and cherish every blessing. Those are the people that are going to make it.
In the game of life, you can bet that Josh McAdams makes it, and makes it big.