Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • Moving On

    We laid down on the floor for our last official night. The last night was spent the same as the first - on something other than a real mattress. Full circle.

    I always told myself I would be done playing if I experienced a long period of time without enjoyment. Passion and heart are what got me to such a point in my career and without them, it would become increasingly difficult. As this season wore on, I started to lose that heart and passion for playing the game I love.

    Managers, coaches and teammates noticed I wasn't the same guy I once was. My performance dropped, it wasn't the same as it had always been. For whatever reason, I didn't have the drive I once had.

    As my passion for playing wore off, my passion for coaching and teaching became even stronger. In Fort Myers, I was able to give tidbits of mental wisdom I had gained to young prospects. In New Britain, I discussed approaches with teammates. This kept me going, but I knew it couldn't sustain me as a player. So I retired from my professional career.

    Many people told me along the way to play until someone tore my jersey off and that's the way I played until this year. I gave baseball my all until the end, but once I lost that feeling, I didn't need the jersey ripped off because my dreams and priorities had changed. In my eyes, this didn't make my career a failure, it just made it complete. It was time to be done.

    I beat so many odds to play for as long and at as high of a level as I did. My parents thought I would grow up to be an artist when I was younger. Overnight, I became athletically inclined. At age 10, people said I ought to play second base because I would never be big and strong enough to play shortstop. I didn't make the varsity team in high school until my junior year. I thought I would have a nice Division 3 college career until the head coach at Holy Cross told me I had what it took to be a Division 1 player. Later, I signed to play at the University of Minnesota.

    Still, I was seen as a second baseman because I probably wasn't going to have much chance of playing SS at that level. I had no pro aspirations, I just wanted to get in the lineup. A little over a year later, I was Baseball America's First Team Freshman All-American Shorstop. A few years after that, the Twins called my name in the 25th round, which may have been the most emotional moment of my career. I remember looking back in time that day and wondering how it could be possible. Two years later, I was the first player from my draft class to reach AA.

    Beyond all the accolades and accomplishments, the relationships I have made are what I will take with me. I met my wife through a baseball connection. Four of the groomsmen in our wedding were teammates of mine at one point. I stay in close contact with many former coaches.

    I learned a number of lessons through the game as well. I learned how to interact and communicate with people from all kinds of different backgrounds. I learned how to work through the lowest lows, I learned how to deal with the highest highs. I learned how to cope with stress in a game where every move you make is seen.

    So, as my wife and I roll along on one more cross country trip, we talk about what's next and we ponder the future. We are excited about the unknown and that we will be going into it together. We will never forget the memories we have forged through my playing career and we are looking forward to forging more in whatever is next.

    I want to thank my wife for putting up with me, for traveling all around the country and for always supporting me. My family members were the best fans; thanks for great advice, answering late night phone calls and living the dream with me. I also want to thank everyone else who had an impact on my career at any time and the Twins for the incredible opportunity to play professional baseball. Thank you to the Twins Daily community for following along and for caring to read my thoughts and ramblings.
    Comments 37 Comments
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      You're a great dude, A.J. And I think I speak for everyone when I say that you'll be successful in whatever it is you choose to do. I, personally, appreciate you opening up the doors on what it's like to be a ballplayer, for taking the time to talk to people (like me) who are much less knowledgeable than you. And for sharing late-night baseball stories in the Beloit Applebees.

      You're a prospect, man, and someone is gonna be real happy to call you up... in the real world.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Thank you for all you have brought to Twins Daily ... for giving us an understanding of the day to day life in MiLB, for taking us along on your journey, for helping us to understand the drive and determination it takes each and every day.

      All the very best to you, your wife and your extended family members. It seems as though you will have many options to share your passion for the game and for life ... whether through the written word, through coaching or through another avenue.

      It has been our privilege to read your thoughts the past couple of years. Enjoy your life -- and let us know how you're doing from time to time!
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      You will find a new (and better) career quickly. You can look at this as baseball taking away previous time from your writing career.
    1. lukingood's Avatar
      lukingood -
      Best of luck. I enjoyed your writing.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      AJ, congrats for going after your dream and making it happen and congrats again for stepping away when it was not your dream any more. Wishing you the best on the next page of your life.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Good luck in your future. Really appreciated what you did here.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Thank you for discussing a tough subject in such a personal and candid way AJ. You'll always be a favorite of this community, and I can hardly wait to see what you do next.
    1. ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
      ChiTownTwinsFan -
      All the best to you, AJ. Thanks for all that you've shared with us here.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      By the way, everybody, I bugged AJ all day yesterday and told him he needed to keep writing here occasionally... and I think he'll be willing to do that from time to time... I hope so at least... OK, it I didn't have to bug him too much.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      One thing that really needs to be mentioned is that sometimes we only look at a journey like A.J. Petterson's as a means to an end, and forget that sometimes the journey is an ends in itself. Minor league baseball is a special thing, and too often the game is clouded over when it is only seen as a dream. Anyone who has been to a game knows it is more than that. It is worthwhile in itself. Congratulations on a great baseball career A.J.
    1. triplethreat's Avatar
      triplethreat -
      AJP, you have blessed us with your writings, thoughts, philosphy, ... . Thank you. We wish you all the best.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Best of luck!
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      It's been a pleasure following you from draft day until today. I had a chance to talk to you at a game in Iowa about growing up in Minnesota, to talk MiLB with you on my podcast, and to read your thoughts here on Twins daily. It's been a pleasure. I wish you much luck in whatever comes next for you. Go Twins!
    1. benji21's Avatar
      benji21 -
      Best luck to you AJ. I hope you really enjoy the next phase of your life.
    1. dgwills's Avatar
      dgwills -
      Very few people have as much success in sports as you have. I know most of us would of loved to have been in your shoes for a few days. I always enjoyed your post . You seem like a genuinely good person. Keep us updated!
    1. tarheeltwinsfan's Avatar
      tarheeltwinsfan -
      AJ, To quote Bob Hope: "Thanks for the memories." Now onward and upward. You'll be fine young man. I hope you keep writing. I especially admire your honesty in your writing. I hope you will keep in touch.
    1. Wyorev's Avatar
      Wyorev -
      Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
      sometimes the journey is an ends in itself... Congratulations on a great baseball career A.J.
      Ditto the other comments here. Mulhouse and Shane and all... I like this line: "Remember, the detour is the journey." AJP thanks for sharing your journey with us. I join the TD community in gratitude, and in wishing you the best in whatever comes next!
    1. DocBauer's Avatar
      DocBauer -
      AJ, thank you so much for all the tremendous insights and contributions you have shared with us. Not only the baseball side of your life and journey, but the very real personal side to things you revealed.

      There is only a few at Twins Daily that have met you or know you in any way. But I think articles, openness and candor makes us all feel that we've met you and know you, at least a little bit. The Twins organization was lucky to have you, and might just be a little bit bleaker now without you. Who knows, perhaps your career path, if you do follow new dreams that lead you to coaching and the such, might lead you back to the Twins organization one day.

      If you decide to agree to Seth's request to continue writing here, you will have some very grateful readers. Best of luck to you and yours AJ.
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametra...140329_MIN@BOS

      Always remember playing and scoring in your Call Up game this past spring training. Those are the moments that make the journey worth while. Great reading your articles and a pleasure following your gritty utility style of play. You are the definition of a hard nosed "Ball Player" - Enjoy your new ride??????
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Like the others who have posted, I enjoyed your posts very much. Stick around and keep contributing.

      I never wanted to even hint at this before now, because, well, why. But I have to say that this outcome does not surprise me. There was always a tone, I'll call it melancholy, in your writing here that presaged a crisis or decision soon to come. I say that only to reinforce that IMO this decision has been brewing for quite some time, whether you realized it explicitly or not, and thus it surely is a solid one that comes from the heart. So, very best wishes to you in your next phase and proceed with confidence - I'll also echo the others who said that I'm sure you'll make your mark.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.