Maximus overrated, I think not
It's funny how the sports desk used to receive calls regarding the talent level of Yuba City's Max Stassi.
"The guy is overrated, and you guys over there at the Appeal kiss his butt."
Of course, they were a bit more harsh with the language. Nice, right?
It's been awhile since we've heard from our anti-Stassi friends. I wonder where they went?
Here's the fact, folks: Stassi may very well be the greatest baseball player to ever come out of the area. And when I say area, I'm not just talking Yuba-Sutter.
But more importantly, Max is someone you can root for.
What makes his story great is the factor that spoils so many others.
To put it simply, Max is a good kid.
He's a stand-up guy with character. He doesn't struggle with the law or find himself in compromising situations, and at 18-years-old, he's apparently figured out that much sooner than most.
This is an athlete who appears to be well on his way to The Show and whose jersey you could feel safe throwing on your kid — that's not easy these days.
Sure things can happen, but if you know Max, his family and or even talked to some of his friends, you know Stassi's foundation of focus, work ethic and baseball are keystones to his success.
Maybe he was born with a gift. But it's what he did with it that has enabled the baby-faced kid to bump shoulders with the big boys in Arizona. He's blue collar; he worked for it.
And in baseball especially, you can work for your success.
You don't necessarily have to be tall or have a build. There's no combine for the big leagues — you don't have to jump high and they don't care how many bench-press reps you can do. Sure, speed is a plus, but it's not a requirement. All MLB cares about is if you can swing the stick, have a glove or deal from the mound — it's that simple.
In football and basketball, athletic ability is a must. In baseball, it's a luxury.
Max's regimen of training surpasses most college athletes, let alone high school.
When he was a tike, Stassi used to get up everyday at the crack of dawn to go to the gym with his father. He made baseball his life and did everything he could to prepare himself to be great. From manicuring the field to taking extended hours of batting practice, Stassi put in his time so that by his freshman year, he was ready to set the batting average record at Yuba City High School.
Or at 18, to go yard in just his second at-bat for the A's in spring training.
They call him Maximus.
Overrated, I think not.
Overrated is camping out two days in advance in front of the 99 Cents Only store to get an iPod Nano.
Really Yuba-Sutter? Really?