Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- Success isn’t something Lucas Erceg struggled to find early on in his professional career.
In 2016, the California kid was selected in the second round of the MLB draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He was considered to be one of their top 30 prospects.
“I got drafted as a third baseman and went through the farm system pretty quickly,” said Erceg.
Maneuvering through the minors with little setback is possible, but most players are served a curve ball or two.
“I think 2017, you know, my first full season just being out in the middle of nowhere, being young and able to have a six pack of beers. Then I’d go out the next day and hit two doubles, added Erceg.
But in 2019, playing triple a ball, Erceg began to see a significant drop in his production. Then the pandemic hit and alcohol became a daily escape.
“At the time, my girlfriend, who’s now my fiancee, she, you know, was doing a lot of things and she was working,” said Erceg. “She would just come home and I’d be drunk and playing video games and not really realize how much I’d actually been drinking.”
The denial was real, growing up with a mother who was an alcoholic. Erceg never wanted to admit he was like her, that he had a problem.
“I always joked with my teammates you know I’m a functional alcoholic and never really thought of myself as a true alcoholic,” said Erceg.
It wasn’t until his girlfriend gave him an ultimatum, help yourself or I’m moving on.
“I was like, you know what? I’m going to take a look at myself in the mirror one last time as this guy and kind of figure out who I want to be,” added Erceg.
And on June 10, 2020 that is what he did, that was the first date of sobriety. Now, in 2022, he’s back in Triple A with the Nashville Sounds and he’s trying to reach the bigs on the bump.
“I enjoyed pitching and I always thought of, just having it be just another thing that I can do on a field,” said Erceg.
Success feels different now for this 27-year-old. It’s measured way beyond baseball, and if Erceg ever needs a friendly reminder of that he looks down at his glove.
“It’s so clearing now that I think about the two mindsets I was putting myself into. I just take it one day at a time and appreciate everyday.”