So how do you finish out a year in which you made your big league debut with your hometown team?
“I got engaged this off-season,” shared Luke Voit, who surprised his fiancée during a trip to the Montell Winery. “2017 is for sure going to be a year to remember. Yeah, bought a house. Honestly, probably at the end of the season. It’s out here. It’s been good. It’s a process. I’m learning a lot about owning a house. There’s a lot of ups and downs but I can’t complain.”
Those ups and downs have already included dealing with a flooded basement.
“We had to get a sump pump and everything,” said Voit. “I had to fix the top of the garage, something I had never done before. I know how to do landscaping stuff, so that was a big project. Did a bunch of that. I had to learn to fix the disposal. That sucks.”
Besides learning helpful skills as a new homeowner, Voit has also worked on adding what he hoped might increase his chance to stay on the St. Louis Cardinals roster–playing outfield.
“Then of course, we sign Ozuna so it was like there you go,” he laughed. “But no, like last year I was the emergency catcher too so if Yadi and Carson get hurt, then I’ll be catching. Just like the college days. But that’s what could decide for them to make me the 25th guy if they need that. I’m trying to make outfield a spot for a day that Dexter or Ozuna or whoever needs a day off. Just trying to do what I can.”
Finding a place to take fly balls and work on the outfield, Voit called upon his friend Travis Griffin, who is the pitching coach at Maryville.
“They have an all-turf field now,” explained Luke. “I went up there and have gone to a couple of their practices and stuff. Just try to get routes and reads on balls.”
Besides the inclusion of outfield and working to improve his defense at first base, Voit is also hoping that his success as a pinch-hitter last season can help keep the scales tilted in his favor. He hit .313 (10-32) with a home-run coming off the bench.
“It was great because our hitting coach was a bench guy,” credited Voit of John Mabry. “So being with Mabes every day, day in and day out–just working on the mental side and the video side. Because when I first got called up, it was like I had just made a big splash and then baseball kicked in. You go in a slump and I was getting down on myself and I was taking it out on my at-bats and I wasn’t having the best at-bats.
“It’s something you just have to stay positive with and even if you do strike out or ground out or whatever, don’t get the job done, just kind of take any positive you can out of that at-bat. Mabes was great with keeping that and so was Billy. It does suck because you go 0-10 and then you go 5 for your next 5. But it’s something I think I got pretty good at and I don’t mind doing it. You can be a hero sometimes and sometimes you can be the devil. Just keep working on it and do what I can to get better at it and help the team.”
Soon after he made his debut, Voit dropped the phrase “bombs and doubles” which caught on quickly. He offered no such verbage during his media session at the Winter Warm-Up, only repeating his desire to stay in a big league uniform.
“Just go out there with a bang and that’s what I’ve been preparing myself this off-season to do,” said Voit of his approach for 2018. “Just do what I can and make people want to keep me on the team because I don’t want to go back to Memphis. I’ll do whatever I can and keep working hard.”
–Besides the addition of an ’80s theme night this season, the St. Louis Cardinals announced Journey and Def Leppard will perform in concert at Busch Stadium on Friday, August 24th.
Ticket prices and the on-sale dates will be announced at a later date.
Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain was a guest of Mike Matheny for a Cardinals game a couple of seasons ago and shared besides his love for music, he has a huge passion for baseball.
More information is available at cardinals.com/journey. This is the third concert scheduled at Busch Stadium for the 2018 season. Previously announced concerts will be headlined by Kenny Chesney in July and Ed Sheeran in September.
photo credit: BIll Greenblatt/UPI