The Story of Travis Neubeck
UNRL ATHLETE // MIAMI MARLINS
Baseball is a game that revolves around failure. A player who fails to get a hit seven out of ten at-bats is regarded as successful, even great. Failure is inevitable, but it leads to success if one learns from it. This is the case for Travis Neubeck.
Wanting to be in the military since he was in 8th grade, Neubeck attended the Air Force Academy on scholarship to play baseball. However, his aspirations to become a pilot would only last one semester. With a heavy workload of school, baseball, and basic training, Travis was admittingly in a bit over his head. Perhaps his aspiring rocket scientist roommate was the first sign. He was working his tail off just to get grades deemed unacceptable by the Academy. By semester’s end, Travis had a 1.29 GPA, which was strange for someone with an immaculate academic history. He received a letter from the Air Force stating he would be required to sit in front of a board of high-ranking officials to discuss his future at the academy. This “burning at the stake” moment was a wake up call for Neubeck. He decided to leave the Air Force Academy, not knowing where he was going from there.
He was overwhelmed at the thoughts of what to do next. With Air Force behind him, Travis began to get excited about a fresh start. Presuming he would have to go the junior college route, he visited Iowa Western but immediately knew it wasn’t for him. On the way home from the recruiting trail, Neubeck received a call from the head coach of Indian Hills Community College. Never having heard of Indian Hills, a few days later he headed back down to Iowa to for a visit. He had anticipated a large campus, but was pleasantly surprised with the small town setting. Travis knew this opportunity would allow him to focus on baseball alone, and he did just that one day at a time.
After an impressive stint at Indian Hills, scouts started calling. Travis was doing it all for the Falcons. He pitched, played the field and showed off his skills at the plate. The scouts were impressed with Neubeck’s versatility, but they wanted him as a pitcher. On draft day, Neubeck had numerous conversations with MLB teams who were interested in his services. None of which were the Miami Marlins, so it was a huge surprise when he subtly saw his name scrolling through the bottom line. The television screen read: The Miami Marlins select Travis Neubeck from Hugo, MN. Sharing this moment with his father, he was overwhelmed with joy.
Travis’ dad has always been a crucial influence on his life. With over 22 years of umpiring experience, his dad has been the leading mentor in his life. Travis basically grew up at Midway Stadium, which is where the St. Paul Saints used to play their home games. Travis got to sit at field level, listening to his dad and the other umpires converse about the game. This is where he learned to understand, respect, and play the game the way it was supposed to be played.
Much like Air Force, Neubeck holds himself to a high standard. His non-fulfillment at the academy wasn’t for a lack of effort and he doesn’t regret his experience. It taught him that things do turn around if you keep your head up. With the confidence to overcome anything, Neubeck has a willingness to fail because he knows that it will eventually lead to success.