This week's blog features a look into the journey of Assistant Instructor Nick Robinson.
Growing up, it felt like every aspect of my life was centered around baseball. From my games, to attending my brother’s games, to the bright lights of Mets games. As the youngest in my family, I was able to observe and learn from three generations-- my grandfather, dad, and brother. I specifically remember the influence each of them had on my perspective of baseball and its impact. My grandfather has listened to just about every Mets game played on the radio. As I sat with him and listened to games, I was learning about each of the steps taken before a pitch was thrown. The batter digs into the box, the pitcher gets the sign, comes to a set, checks his runner, and delivers the pitch. With my dad, I remember the first MLB game I attended and the awe I felt the moment we walked through the dark tunnel. With each step I took, I could feel the lights shining bright on my face as we got closer to the field. Finally, as I reached the end of the tunnel, I looked out at the green and brown landscape. I gazed around the stadium and took it all in. Lastly, my brother, who is probably my biggest influence. From as early as 5 years old, he would tell me, “You don’t want to be a catcher”, and I would be dragged to his travel games. All our baseball memories are engraved in my brain, still discussed to this day.
I attended Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, four years behind my brother. As he graduated and I entered as a freshman, it was there that I became known as “Little Robinson”. It was a title I was proud to have but also came with many expectations. As a high school athlete, I was 6’3” and moved like a baby deer. In many ways, I had a completely different pitching style than Alex. While Alex was a stocky, hard-throwing left-hander who struggled with command, I was a skinny, command-oriented pitcher who never lit up the radar gun. Since I wasn’t always the hardest throwing pitcher, I had to figure out different ways to get batters out; I developed 6 different pitches by the time I was a Junior and learned pitch sequencing.
During high school, I wasn’t a highly recruited player, and it wasn’t until the end of my junior year that I committed to the University of Rhode Island. At URI, I learned how to move more efficiently, which allowed me to develop as a ballplayer and, more importantly, as a college athlete. In my 5 years as a pitcher at URI, I took on many different roles as I started, relieved, and closed games. We prided ourselves on being the small state school with something to prove, playing the best competition in the country, such as Texas A&M in front of 6,500 fans and 8,000 faithful fans at the University of Arkansas, along with Mizzou and the University of Florida to name a few. All these matchups created great memories that resonate with me as I reminisce about my experiences at URI.
In 2020, when the pandemic shut down our season, college athletes were awarded another year of eligibility. Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to compete with my teammates and returned to Kingston, RI for my fifth year. That year was a very different experience from what I had been accustomed to. We began practice in small groups and were required to follow many rigorous rules and safety guidelines. For me, it was such a gift to have had the opportunity to go back for my fifth season at URI. It was a second chance at playing and one that I wouldn’t let pass me by. After a great start to the season, I suffered a season-ending injury fracturing my elbow throwing a pitch. When the season ended, I decided to enter the transfer portal and search for a fresh start for my 6th year. Now at the University of Maryland as a graduate student, I am looking forward to providing my veteran experience to an already talented pitching staff.
I am thankful for all the steps throughout my career that have led me to where I am today. From a long and lanky, slow-throwing kid who was given a chance to play D1 baseball, I now get to compete at a Big 10 school. The best way I can describe my journey so far, is that you never know where you’ll end up, so you might as well KEEP GOING.
Until next time,