ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Now 28 years old, Dustin Peterson has been around the block
of the International League a time or two. Drafted out of high school in the 2nd
Round back in 2013 by the Padres, he’s now in his 10th year playing
professional baseball and his sixth year in the International League.
“I’ve got six years now in the International League,”
Peterson says. “I know just about every door, every entrance to every stadium,
every back drop, every train that rolls by, I’m used to it and I’ve
embraced the lifestyle.”
Embracing the lifestyle has been critical for Peterson.
Although a seasoned veteran in his second season with the IronPigs, he had been
on and off the Development List for the start of the season, making playing
time irregular. A change in mindset, specifically just having fun, has helped
Peterson ride the wave.
“When I was taken out of the game in 2020 due to COVID, I
really realized how fortunate I was to have a job in previous years. Then,
getting back in to actually playing in 2021, you know one day could possibly be
your last. So why should I be so stressed and trying super hard when I can just
relax and have fun?”
For Peterson, this was a lessons learned with time. As his
career has pressed up, the Phillies are the fourth organization he’s played
for. He’s come to understand how fleeting the moments in this game can be and
that success can be even harder to capture when you’re too caught up in the
“When you relax and have fun you’re probably going to end
playing even better anyways than the tense, try hard version. You’ve just got
to appreciate the opportunity you have. Baseball doesn’t last forever so might
well have some fun with it while you are still doing it. You could be on the
Dev List one day and hitting three-hole the next, you know?”
One new piece of fun for Peterson and the IronPigs this
season is the addition of their brand new homer celebration. Whenever someone
hits a homer, when they return to the dugout they have a stuffed animal Pig hat
(completely with flapping wings) that the home run hitter gets to wear.
Peterson rocked his first homer of the year on May 2nd against
Syracuse and was more than happy to get in on the celebration.
“I mean it’s pretty fitting, isn’t it? I think [Aramis]
Garcia is the one who originally brought it. It’s fun, it’s a way to celebrate
and something to have fun with. You always have to keep that spark around the
game and the team going. We’re all just playing a game out here, so as much fun
as we can have, the better everyone is going to play out here.”
Last year, Peterson settled in very quickly with the
IronPigs after being traded early in the season from Milwaukee. In 102 games
last year, Peterson hit .244 with nine homers and 47 RBI, while adding in 22
doubles and two triples. He was a key cog on an IronPigs team that finished
above .500 for the first time since 2018.
Fun might not be a calculatable stat (yet), but Peterson
might be atop the IronPigs leaderboard in it so far this season. It’s a mindset
that has kept him fresh and ready to contribute whenever the situation arises