Lastings Milledge: Save the Best For "Last"

Wisdom may come with age, but apparently skill isn‘t so picky. The youngest player on the Capital City Bombers is also one of the most talented across the board. Nineteen year-old Lastings Milledge is a recent edition to the Bombers' team and has already proven himself to be an outstanding defensive outfielder who possesses some skill with a bat as well, .345.

The Florida native supposedly gets his unique name, indirectly, from his siblings. Following on the heels of two older brothers, his parents decided that the third would be their final child. Thus, with the true practicality and creative license inherent to parents, Lastings received his elite name.

Both of his brothers, as well as his father, were baseball players. The natural progression, therefore, was for young Lastings, then five, to pick up a bat. As he grew, more and more of his energy went toward the game. Of his childhood, Milledge says, "I didn't do anything at all. I never went out. I always focused on ball." Today, when asked what he appreciates the most about his current lifestyle, he calmly replies, "Just living. If you have no life, you can't play baseball." When he first began to play ball, Lastings was both a third baseman and a shortstop. Now regularly occupying center field, he's happy there because it's, quite bluntly, "less work."

Most of the work Lastings does put in is found in his base running. Spending upwards of eighty percent of his time on the skill, he says that it's the strongest part of his game. Since last season, Milledge has also been working on shortening all parts of his game. His swing is now more petite, more concise. With an upgrade in the quality of pitchers, the realization has hit that what worked in high school won't fly with a more talented pool of players. Armed with this newfound knowledge, everything in his repertoire has shrunk. Seconds are being shaved off by removing unnecessary movements as Milledge strives to take his game to the next level. Defensively, he aims to cut time by "getting better reads on balls, better angles."

In the off-season, Milledge prepares with a steady workout. He gets into the habit of doing the same routine everyday, something that helps cultivate discipline. If the fateful day comes, however, when there is no season to prepare for, Milledge has a backup plan. Not exactly your prototypical computer geek, he nonetheless, "loves computers." Instead of designing programs, Lastings prefers troubleshooting. Computer technology holds a special appeal for this guy who dreams of "making it to the big leagues."

Lastings Milledge is poised to go a long way in his chosen career. His highly inclusive talent has made an impression among his teammates, many of who predict a bright future for their colleague. Jamar Hill, a fellow outfielder, says, "He'll end up being the type of player who can do anything he wants on the field. He has the power; he can run. He contributes a lot to our team." With the support of both his team and his family, his parents are traveling to follow his games, Lastings has high hopes. Right now though, he's just enjoying the good times, garnering pleasure from the little things, and "taking it one day at a time."

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