Jake Marisnick: Astros have strong vibe
Houston Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick, sidelined since mid-September with a thumb injury, shares his insider's perspective on the Astro's journey to the World Series with MLBPlayers.com. Jake, a speedy, 6-foot-4 center fielder from Riverside, Calif., hit a career-high 16 home runs for the Astros this season. Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the third round in 2009, Jake, 26, was traded to the Marlins in 2012 and joined the Astros in a six-player trade at the July 31 deadline in 2014.
Going to the World Series is the culmination of everything our team has worked so hard to accomplish since last offseason. Right from spring training I felt good about our club. I worked in the offseason with some of the coaches and other players and I was excited to feel the vibe of the team – the way we came together, the way we jelled. We brought in guys like Brian McCann, Josh Reddick, Carlos Beltrán and they just fit right into the team. The vibe carried through the season and set the tempo for us to get here.
The vibe has been great. This team is so confident. There's never a time when we feel out of it. It doesn't matter what the situation is. It's kind of a unique team, it's a team that's hard to hate. You don't have guys who are over the top, they just have fun playing the game. It's a bunch of kids out there. They just have fun without going too far with anything. They play the game the right way. You have a team of guys who are confident and play the game hard.
Not playing every day, I decided to take the positive mindset of, ‘I'm going to impact the game when I get a chance. I'm going to find a way to help this team win.' as opposed to playing the pity party, not playing.' I think that different mindset helped. I got a chance to do a lot of that early in the year.
Just the way the team was playing early on was unbelievable. We carried momentum from spring training right into the season and we got going. We hit a snag about August and we were just trying to get our groove back. Fast forward to the July 31 trade deadline and we got Justin Verlander and Cameron Maybin and we got our vibe back. We get new life and then we start rolling. It was just fun to see the different dynamics of the team and how things changed when we made the move going forward.
Then came Hurricane Harvey, which devastated our city. The storm and the way the city and the fans have come through has been an uplifting feeling, I think for the fans, for the city and us as players. We were scheduled for a three-day road trip to Anaheim when it hit, but then we couldn't get back to Houston, so we flew to Dallas and then to Tampa for a home series that wasn't at home.
We played the Mets in our first game back in Houston and the vibe of the stadium and fans was unbelievable – it was probably one of cooler series a lot of us have played in since we've been in the big leagues. The emotion going on was amazing. There were goose bumps when we took the field just knowing what the fans had gone through, and knowing what we were able to bring to them. We were able to bring them a distraction and some happiness. You definitely got that feeling the way they were cheering.
Since then, a lot of us got a chance to go to shelters and visit with the families and kids. Seeing what they were going through was tough on a lot of us. They lost everything. To get a chance to talk with them and have fun with them – play some games, get them cheered up and moving in the right direction – was gratifying for us.
People are still going through it. The hurricane is gone, but people are still rebuilding. I think we are a way for them to get some happiness. We feel the city behind us and feel the atmosphere when we play there. There's definitely still some energy coming from that.
Now, unfortunately, I'm about five weeks out of surgery for a broken thumb and I've been working hard to get back on the field ever since then. It happened back on Sept. 14 against the Angels. I hit a little bloop base hit and tried to stretch it into a double. But when I slid into second and tried to maneuver my hands, I hit the base the wrong way and cracked my thumb. When I got up I didn't know it was broken, I thought I just jammed it. I went to the dugout and said, ‘Hey, can someone come look at this? I don't think it's too good right now.' I went down and got x-rays and it ended up being broken.
That was a tough pill to swallow. I went through the whole year getting to play with these guys, but now I'm limited to watching and doing whatever I can to help from the bench.
The biggest thing for me during rehab was getting myself ready for an opportunity to play, hoping to get a chance to play here in the postseason. That has been my mindset. But whatever happens, I won't let myself get down. I'm still with the team and I want to be as upbeat as possible. I watch the way my teammates are playing and use that as energy and motivation to get myself ready.
I'm basically a fan right now, just watching, but the Astros are a team I love to watch.