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All right Hey, everybody here with my longtime friend and sports fitness wide array of things, legend Eric Cressey. We’ve had the good fortune to do two of these, just kind of almost state of the union type things, what you’re seeing. And I thought, man, this would be a wonderful opportunity to catch up again.
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How are things your way? Things are great. Thanks for having me back. It’s a highlight of every January. That’s probably a good segue. The January is your way. You are obviously heavy into the professional baseball world. I mean, you work with athletes in a host of sports, but very heavy into the baseball world. So I expect that January’s are a full plate for you.
It’s never dull. I think it was 48 bullpens at the facility on Tuesday this week. So, yeah, it’s fun though. It’s, it’s the baseball calendar. You, you probably know this from your coaching year. It, it goes very cyclically in terms of how much people love or hate baseball. They kind of go through waves of, they can’t wait for the season to end if they’re on a bad team. And then they get back and they’re all excited to train for the off season, see all their buddies, and then, like, six weeks in, they’re like, man, when we get to start throwing again, and then it’s throwing is boring. Wanna throw bullpens, and then bullpens are boring. They wanna throw live to hitters, and then they’re just anxious to get to spring training, and then spring training gets boring and they wanna start the season. And it just, there, there’s always these hills and valleys of what they want. So you just gotta understand how to pivot with it. And, January’s just an interesting time because guys put so much pressure on themselves to, to be ready. So like, you can have a day where, 47 guys throw great bullpens and one guy throws a bad one and he goes off the rails and you, you gotta do damage control. So we’re prepared for what we knew what to expect.
So I, at this state, would you mind giving people kind of a lay of the land? I mean, you still have your CSP business and kind of just a quick 40,000 foot view of that. Sure. But then, obviously you’re, you’re also a integral part of the New York Yankees too. So give us a little rundown.
Yeah, for sure. So the Massachusetts facility for Kresge sports performance was found in 2007. That one’s still going. So we’re, we celebrated 15 years this past year. So my business partner, P to P, and then our director of performance John O’Neal really had that up. I’m up there in the summers. But for all intents and purposes we’re Florida residents, and I, I have a lot of responsibilities with the Yankees as well. So the Florida facility opened back in 2014, and we actually relocated to Palm Beach Gardens to kinda like a larger showcase, almost like spring training complex in conjunction with the city of Palm Beach Gardens in 2019. So yeah, we’re we’re eight years, or eight and a half years in, I should say, in Florida and 15 in Massachusetts.
At the end of 2019, I signed on with the Yankees as, as Director of player health and Performance, you know, so my, my other full-time job. And, and in that role, I, I oversee strength conditioning and a nutrition as well as to some degree, like kind of our manual therapy initiatives. That’s something I do in conjunction with our sports medicine department. And then we also work closely with performance science, so kind of your, your sports science entity. So the days are never dull, but on the Yankee side of things, I do everything from direct player interaction to kind of like being involved on, on overall like organizational strategy with respect to player development. A lot with respect to am amateur scouting before the draft pro scouting. And then certainly, we do a lot of continued education stuff in-house and yeah, so it’s never dull. Pre-agent medicals, you name it, I’m kind of involved on it. So it’s actually been a very fulfilling role. I think in entrepreneurship, especially when you’re kind of the founder and president, you, you’re always expected to have the answer to every question and be the last voice. So, working as an employee has actually been very fulfilling in the sense that I get to be the dumbest person in a room more often and, and really find opportunities to learn and grow. So, I mean, there’s so many different questions or ways that I could go with this. And it’s also fascinating to me, even though I do get to talk to you some is mm-hmm. So how do you toggle between the roles that you have with CSP. With the Yankees, and obviously I mean, you’re a husband and father of three.
Yeah. It’s not easy. And I’m in full transparency. I’m, I think I’m, I’m learning about it every day. If there’s, one thing I, I’ve definitely learned is that if you, it’s the old adage of like, you, if you chase two out, two rabbits, both get away. I try to be all in on one even in just within the day. I’m a terrible parent if I’m trying to answer emails while I’m playing with my kids and all that stuff. So what I’ve really tried to do is just batch my responsibilities as best as I can. And really what it comes down to is, is sacrifices. Like, you can probably attest this as well as like you never realized how much free time you had until you had a kid, right?
And then there was a baby that was gonna cry for four hours a day, and you just had to hold it. And you never realized how much you appreciated sleep and until you you didn’t have it. So I don’t play fantasy football anymore. I don’t really have any hobbies. I largely work because my, my job is my hobby. I really, really enjoy what I do. And I’m, I’m super passionate about it. But I always come back to I think it was the it was Randy Zuckerberg who said it was family, friends, fitness sleep and and, and nutrition or something like that. I can’t remember what the fifth one was. But they were like, pick three. And for me, like friends kind of come through, oh, excuse me. The fifth one was career.
So friends largely come through my career. So I, I kind of double dip in that regard. I’ve never been a good sleeper. Obviously family is very, very important to me. And, and being honest, like my, my fitness has probably suffered in this. Like, I, I went from devoting a lot of time to being a really high level power lifter and competing, and, and I probably work out a lot more than I train now at age 41. So that was something that I was willing to kind of like compromise on it. So yeah it’s probably like half fitness, half friends, family and work. And I’m okay with that. It’s something, you know, I’ve kind of like resigned myself to some new goals, but yeah, I take advantage of five to 7:00 AM every day and just try to find time to, to squeeze it all in. But the biggest thing I would tell people is like, try to be all in on what you’re doing. Because if you’re trying to do 10 different things at once, it usually doesn’t end well.
Well I’m happy to let the listeners in kind of on a maybe not, so, secret. Secret is like one of my favorite things that I get to do, and we do our annual podcast. It’s just like, man, I may have the good fortune to text back and forth with you throughout the year or whatever else, but it’s probably the closest thing I get to a sit down lunch that, that we’re going to get, or something like that. Unless I happen to run into you at a industry event or something like that, by, by good fortune, you know? Yeah. So, yeah, I, I think that there’s a lot of truth to it, it’s nice to be able to co-mingle a couple of those things. Yeah. Feel like you’re getting fulfillment in two areas simultaneously. So now that’s great.
Yeah. I, I think birds of a feather flock together. Like, you realize some of your most valuable relationships. Like, I mean, I, I probably keep in touch with four or five buddies from high school even fewer from college, just cuz I was like two years at one school, two years at another, and two years in grad school. Like, I think you realize pretty quickly that your industry draws you together. Like I’m, I’m very close with my business partner, Pete. I’m very close with my business partner Shane. Like, our kids play together. Steve Cek is one of our athletes who just retired after 12 years in the big leagues. Like, we both have three daughters. We live in, right down the street from each other. Our wives are close.
So like, I was, it was hanging out with a client, I guess client entertaining every time we had dinner with them or went to a birthday party together. But, those things co-mingled quite a bit. And I think, life just kind of brings you that way if you, if you really, you have your kind of guiding principles and, and those, govern the kind of people you hang out with both in business and in your private’s life. You always seem to kind of find your way. So you have probably long been one of the, the most studied PE like how, how do I wanna say this, right? Like a lifelong learner. Just constantly immersing yourself in new things. What, in the last year or so, what has caught your interest if, if anything special or different?
Yeah, for sure. I think the first thing I’ll say is like, a lot of that is I try to be prolific and that word I think, needs like some derivatives, like, I think they’re both production and then they’re consumption goals. So like for me, I, I map that out, at the beginning of every year is like, I wanna cover 25 books a year. There’s a certain number of podcasts I wanna do. And then they’re, how many seminars do I wanna speak at? What products do I wanna introduce? Like how many podcasts do we wanna record? Those are things that I try to do. And education has definitely changed over the years. It’s, in the past it was, get to 6, 7, 8 seminars a year and, and speak at a lot of ’em.
And, when I took on the Yankees role, I kind of realized I was gonna have to pull back on a lot of my travel and other ways. But what was nice about it is I was gonna be surrounded by such a collection of really, really bright people that, I kind of got a, a massive curriculum in just onboarding. So I get to communicate with our base running department, our defensive specialists, our pitch design guys, and just the resources I’ve had access to. Like, I mean, the Yankees are our, they’re the gold standard, like it’s us, it’s the Dodgers, there’s, the Astros, the Twins, there’s kind of those upper operational on teams that really understand, how to really scrutinize how players move and what they do.
So that’s been a masterclass that’s made me, substantially better. And I’m, I’m super appreciative of it, is just, I think sometimes we think about like, what’s the, what’s the best seminar to go to? What’s the best book to read? Sometimes it’s just, what’s the best person that’s in the same room as you? And do you have the right question to ask them? And that’s been really, really helpful for me. But I think, one of the things that I think and I couldn’t tell if your question really necessarily related to the training, the business, that side of things. I put a lot of thought into like what would make me successful in a director role because now that I’ve done the math on it, like I have over 50 people that I guess technically are under our, my department with respect to both Massachusetts, Florida, as well as my Yankees role. And I put a lot of thought into it because I wanted to make sure I did it well. Cause I haven’t always done it well, and I think historically we’ve gotten like the Michael Gerber, the E-Myth like the technician, the entrepreneur and the manager. And I became pretty aware that I was, a good technician and a pretty good entrepreneur, but not necessarily a great manager of people. And the the reason was very simple is like, I, I was so busy doing the former two, that being a good manager requires time. It requires, giving people, attention to hear them out and all those things. And, and I just didn’t always have time to do that when I was doing, nine evaluations per day and writing more programs than anybody at the facility while trying to put out social media content and podcasts and all that stuff.
So I really endeavored to make sure I surrounded myself with people who could do that. Our masterpiece facility, Pete, is, is a real star with respect to like, helping people, just work through challenges, plan their career paths, things like that. In Florida, I’ve, Shane and I have Anna, to help out with that. And then with the Yankees, Donovan Satis is, is our assistant director of player health and performance. And Donovan is just like a, a wonderful guy who’s been in baseball for an extended period of time, really understands that dynamic. And what it’s allowed me to do and I’m very careful with using this word cause I think it, it has like a condescending implication, but I, I think the more that I’ve read about it, the more it is accurate.
It’s like there’s the, the visionary in here is the integrator. And I, I’ve done well in like a visionary role. I haven’t always done well in an integrator, largely because the time constraints. So I’ve, I’ve tried to really find awesome integrators who can help out, and it’s been a really impactful change for our career or my career. And, I think for the people that, that work with me on a daily basis. So when I look at this like big picture director role, I think this is probably the lesson for a lot of like younger coaches that are maybe listening to this, is, everyone knows, like, to be a director, you have to be progressive, right? You have to try to be better next year than you were this year. You have to try to find value where other people have missed it.
Like that’s, that’s what everyone gets excited about. Everybody wants to go to nine p r I courses every week and, back it up with a massage therapy degree and d n s and, 15 other acronyms and all that stuff is well and good, you have to keep getting better. But I think people get too caught up in it and they realize that the, the more progressive they get, the more it sometimes impacts them negatively with, the other two components is, really second, you have to, you have to lead people and manage systems. And then third, you have to, you have to really understand scale. And I, I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been able to do the Yankees thing is because I understood what it took to take a business in Massachusetts to a business in Florida and what the challenges were there.
We’re now in the Yankees organization, we have affiliates all over the country. We have an international operation in the in the Dominican Republic. So I’m, I’m very, very mindful of not just being progressive, but thinking about how is it that any of those ideas that I have, any of the new exercise I think up or the better programming things, I, I create, how do they work within our systems and do we need to redesign our systems to, to accommodate what we wanna do? How does it work with the people that we have? And then last but not least, how does it scale as we bring more people in or more and more clients come in, like, can you teach this? Can you leverage it? So you look at like, some of our off-season training stuff, like we I have specific ways of kinda like batching athletes that I think is, is unique with respect to training baseball players.
And so I, I drive a lot of the, the big picture programming discussions for basically, we have 180 players domestically plus the 26 guys on our major league roster here, plus 90 guys on our Dominican Academy. And then anybody that’s on the injured list on top of that. So you’re, you’re talking about 300 plus players that all are unique the way it works as you educate staff and you say, Hey, here’s the program, these are the, these are the, the guardrails. Don’t go outside of these, but use your intuition to adjust based on what you see in front of you. You know, you’re gonna change them up based on when their bullpen schedule is, or did they roll an ankle last week or something like that. And it’s, I think it’s worked really, really well. But it’s, it’s all just because I have a mind to, like, you can’t just be a nerd. You can’t just get excited about like, doing cool stuff. And that’s what every young coach thinks it’s about, because that’s the stuff that gets you clicks on social media and, and things like that. And I’m very mindful of like, creating systems that will would work if I got hit by a bus tomorrow. I don’t, I don’t want to be like the linchpin in every operation, Man. That’s that’s outstanding. That is. Yeah, I mean, it, it, it’s fun to watch the evolution of things because in the past we’ve talked about any number of topics, like the first time we did one of these, it was very pandemic heavy the first time we did well, the second podcast we did, but the first, the last time, I know I talked a lot with you about how you were pretty prolific when it came to content and how you were able to build a really significant presence without being one of the antagonistic people that seemed to play a big part of the Twitter landscape in baseball. Mm-Hmm. I’m sure other platforms would same, and so I think it’s been good to be able to kinda weave in and out of these topics. So with, with that last kinda comment, with all this stuff on your plate, I mean, you still are putting out podcasts. You, you still are, are sharing some, some content. How has that changed? How has that evolved for you?
Yeah, I, I definitely have done less writing and more more content from the podcast standpoint. That was a shift to be honest. I stubbornly resisted a podcast for a really long time. People told me I should do it for years. And it’s, it’s actually been something that’s been been really rewarding cause because I’ve learned, and, and you know what? I think it’s done, it’s done a few different things, right? It’s obviously, there’s, there’s an actual monetization, that comes with it through sponsorships and things like that, don’t get me wrong. And it, and it’s a regular content piece, so it kind of creates a level of top of mind awareness for our brands. But what I think it also has done is it’s strategically positioned our brand with really good people who have benefited from our services.
A lot of our guests are, you know, major league baseball players who in one way or another credit, you know, their, their work with us, you know, is an important part of their career. So there’s that. So I think, and honestly, it’s selfish. I really like to learn, I like to ask questions of people, and you don’t get me wrong. You learn more in some than others. And, some people tend to be better guests than others that that’s gonna be the case for any podcaster. But I’ve really enjoyed that medium. It’s as much as it’s I guess it’s a little bit more regimented in terms you have to block off time to record and all that stuff. I outsourced a lot of the editing, whereas in the past when I wrote, I was my own editor, so it was, I was responsible for really a hundred percent of the content creation. So I have actually really enjoyed that.
The other thing I’ve found too is I’ve really, you may have even been longer than I have, but I’ve been pretty much writing every day since about 2001. And, and really even before that, like I was active on like internet strength conditioning forms for a couple years before that. And like, I never realized just how much content I put out that’s gone into like, the internet archives and, I’ve gone back and look at some of it’s terrible and not applicable at all, and there’s other stuff that’s actually pretty good. So I, I’ve done my best to kind of bring some of that content back to the forefront where it’s old content to new subscribers. And, and I think that served us pretty well in that regard. Or just, new mediums. Like, Instagram wasn’t around in 2006 when I was writing articles and stuff. So tried to use things a little bit more you know, intelligently instead of just always trying to reinvent the wheel, trying to, to rehash some of the stuff that’s been good in the past. How much do you lean on other people for the production or distribution? If you are, if you are the actor, so to speak? Yeah. You’ve got the whole film crew over there doing anything else, what, how is that?
I mean, I think in terms of like the actual, like podcast recording editing, it’s, it’s all outsourced. Literally. I get the embed code and like the images and I post it as a blog and they, they upload everything. You know, I, I do all the interviews, but, you know, that’s been something that’s like, that was like a necessity. Like I was never gonna learn how to edit it or anything like that, or have the time to do it. And I’ve done more in a video medium. I think earlier on it was all more audio based. And that was convenient, honestly, because a lot of baseball players would do it like on the road. We do like a FaceTime audio and video seems to be really taking over across most platforms.
So going to a more video kind of mode I think has served us well. Even it’s just getting stuff up on YouTube. So the podcast has steadily trended up and it’s become more than just a labor of love. It’s been something that, like, to be honest, actually, right before we got on this call, I had a call with one of our major leaguers guy we started working with after his Tommy John surgery. And he was like, Hey, I was, I was actually listening to your October, 2022 q and a yesterday, and you were talking about like scapular control and guys who had had Tommy John surgery and some of the tendencies you saw. I’m like, I don’t even remember talking about that, but sure, let’s have a discussion. So it was cool to see that it is impacting not just like, know dads and the little leaguers that are in the backseat on the ride home from games, but, it is having an impact on guys even at the highest level. So that’s been cool.
Very good. So what, like, what would be a winning 2023 for, for you, for the Cressey family? Yeah. What would be success in, in, in your eyes? Yeah, absolutely. I think first and foremost, like I’m with the New York Yankees and anything except for a World Series ring is, is a failure. And we’re probably one of the few organizations in all professional sports that they’ve used it like that. So we hold ourselves to a really high standard.
And frankly, I love that challenge and it’s been pretty cool. This was actually the first year where I really got to see like a true playoff game. In 2020. We, we were in the bubble, so it was a, it was an empty San Diego stadium. In 2021, I actually got Covid and I wasn’t able to go to our wild card game in Boston, so I didn’t get to see it. And so this year, it was actually the first time I got like my, my first feel of Yankee Stadium pack for a playoff game.
So you experienced that and you, you absolutely want more. So that was really, really cool. But you know, it’s an exciting time because we’re going into our fourth year, you have to change some things around and it just takes some time for things to work. And, certainly a pandemic and major league baseball’s, lockouts and I slowed some stuff down. So I think we’ve got some really good systems in place. We’ve got some really good people in place, and I’m just excited to kind of see it through. And, and I, I see a lot of the younger guys you started to see it last year with our major league roster were some of these kids that they were low a when we came in, they were, they were doing like remote training, with us during the pandemic and so we were able to kind of make up a lot of lost time with our minor league guys.
So it’s, it’s cool to see some of those impressionable youngsters come up to the big leagues and really carry forth a lot of the principles that we were really excited about, kind of instilling across the organization. And then honestly, on the, on the facility side of things, like we had another year of, well into double digit growth actually both facilities. And really more than anything else is figuring out a way not just to continue growing, but to scale effectively make sure we take care of our employees well, but just as importantly, make sure that, that our family life is trending in a good direction as well. More time with our daughters. And just kind of a, I think a little bit more of a separation of work and home. So my wife and I, we work together. So that’s a constant struggle. Cause a lot of times you’re, you’re racing around a lot during the day and you have a chance to, to talk about it until after the kids are in bed. But I think we have gradually gotten better and better and it’s trend in a, in a more positive direction.
Awesome. Though, I mean, those are conversations I know we’ve had for many years, and I think that’s just part of the nature of working with your significant other. Yeah. And there are a lot more pros than cons, you know? That’s the truth. That’s the truth. So let’s see. Any other questions I have? Well I mean, who’s gonna be playing the Yankees in the World Series this Year? Oh man, that’s a tough one. That Padre’s lap is pretty good. You can never rule out the dog pretty much anything. It is pretty impressive, but the, the Met, it could be a Subway series too. Mets are looking pretty solid as well. And not, no knock on the NL Central, but I, I think you’re, you’re looking at an NL Eastern, NL West, kind of a victor. So we’ll see where it goes though. So when do you head off to spring training and Yeah, all that stuff.
Yeah, February 13th is actually your report date this year. There’s World Baseball Classic this year. So there’s some some early reports for guys that are, that are participating in that. And then pitchers and catchers are officially the 15th and position players rolling after that. But how it is now, it’s a little bit more of a gradual onboarding because so many guys work out at the complexes. So we have quite a few of our major league players who are already working out in, in Tampa and they’ll often report early. So it’s not like there are times when it’s like speed dating when you have to onboard everybody on the same day and do blood work and performance assessments and movement screens and armor stuff and all that. But it gets a little bit more gradual onboarded every year, especially now, like kind of Covid isn’t as much of a thing as it was in years past.
Very cool. Well, you know what, you’ve got a full plate. I don’t wanna take up any more of your time, but it’s always wonderful catching up. Me too, my man. Always fun, Eric. Good luck to the Yankees and excited to, to spend some time and hopefully we’ll get to do another recap next year. Absolutely, man. Can care of yourself in the meantime. All right, sounds good.
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