Outfielder Danny Mars has been one of the Portland Sea Dogs’ best and most consistent performers this season.

Chipotle’s food is the secret to Danny Mars’ success this season.

Mars, an outfielder in his first year with the Portland Sea Dogs, started eating at Chipotle before games during a road trip early in the season.

Now the Mexican grill cuisine is part of his daily routine.

“Wake up, I get Starbucks in the morning, around like 10, and then I’ll do Chipotle at like 12:30,” Mars said. “I’ve been more on the Chipotle train because there’s a lot of protein in that — I don’t know, I’ve just been feeling it, so I’m on that now.

“We were on the road somewhere, and there was a Chipotle right near the hotel, so I did that and I think I played well that game and stuck with it. I’ve felt good playing and I’ve felt like I’ve had a lot of energy, so I’m sticking with it.”

Among current Sea Dogs players, Mars ranks first in batting average (.318) and is tied for first in hits (71), triples (three) and stolen bases (eight), and is tied for third in doubles (12). He ranks seventh in the Eastern League in batting, 11th in hits and eighth in triples.


Yeah, Chipotle seems to be working. But it’s not in a Popeye’s-spinach sort of way, or even a superstitious way. It’s routine, and routine is important to Mars.

“It’s working. I’m just trying to stick to a routine. And, you know, feel good and confident and comfortable going into every game,” Mars said. “It’s been good. I feel like I’ve had a good amount of consistency, which, you know, a lot of it comes back to routine.”

Before every game, after he’s arrived at the stadium, Mars eats peanut butter sandwiches, fruit, chocolate milk and a lot of water. After every road game, he orders pizza — Papa John’s with ham and bacon.

“With the stuff I eat and whatever,” Mars said, “I feel good doing things every day and getting into a routine and just trying to put together good results to help the team win during the game.”

Mars’ routines are part of his mental preparation. As delicious as Chipotle might be, it’s more about the process of finding something that works and continuing to do it.

That carries over on the field, when the switch-hitting Mars takes the same swings every day in practices, and then in the games.


Routine became part of Mars’ routine last year, his first full season of professional baseball (his 2015 was derailed by injury), while playing for Salem. He learned from Red Sox mental skills coach Justin Su’a and then figured out things about himself.

For instance, Mars said, he learned before this season, what Su’a calls “peak-performance sleep” is for Mars 7.5 to 8 hours — not more, not less.

Mars’ performance elevated the second half of last season as he focused on routine and doing things the same way every day (by the way, his go-to meals then Panera before games, a Subway sandwich with spinach when he got to the field, and Applebees after games).

“You need any edge you can get in this game,” Mars said.

Mars, 23, was drafted by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. The Sarasota, Florida, native played at Chipola College, a junior college, and had committed to continue his career at Florida State.

Playing for the Seminoles was his dream, but something better came along.


“Honestly, professional baseball wasn’t really — obviously, everybody wants to do it, and I wanted to do it — but that wasn’t really in the plans for me,” Mars said. “I more just wanted to play at Florida State, so I worked my butt off for that and kept getting better at what I did and got an opportunity to play professional baseball, and, obviously, you can’t turn that down.”

At Chipola, Mars played well and the team was one of the best in the country.

“The better your team plays, the more guys come out and watch the games, so I guess that helps a little bit in getting noticed,” he said, “and I just put together a solid year and I think some guys just liked how hard I played and gave me an opportunity.”

Coming into this season, what Sea Dogs manager Carlos Febles liked about Mars was his base running. Febles said then that Mars, though fast, probably wasn’t the fastest player on the team, but he’s smart and fearless.

“Mars is a good base runner,” Febles said. “Mars is the more aggressive base runner (of our fast players).”

“I’ve always had more of an aggressive nature on the base paths,” Mars said.


“Whether it’s stretching a double into a triple or a single into a double, I’m always looking to impact the game with my speed in the best way possible that I can.”

Now in his fourth season as a pro, Mars has continued to rise through the Red Sox organization. He’s been up for the challenge every time he’s advanced to a higher level. There’s proof, at least on paper: save for his injury-plagued 2015 season, his numbers have improved each year, and are on pace to do so again with the Sea Dogs this season.

That’s not how Mars is measuring his performance, though.

“I just try and get better every day,” Mars said. “I don’t look at the stats, I don’t look at numbers. It’s just a feeling thing for me. I’m trying to get better every day and help my team win.

“I’m really just trying to be the best player I can be.”

And, that involves Chipotle.

“You find something and you feel like it works and you stick with it, and you don’t feel like you go into the game ever second-guessing yourself,” Mars said. “You know what you need to feel and you know how you need to feel in order to go out and give it your best effort and performance.”

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