A glimpse into Alex Robinson, his background and how The Yard started.
From a young age, baseball was always a passion of mine. I quickly became addicted to the intricacies of the game, combined with the strategy, and suspenseful build up. I loved competing every day, pushing myself past what I thought I could do, and realizing I had more to give. The game taught me so much from how to deal with both failure and success, to consistent work and relentless drive.
I grew up in New York, Long Island to be more precise. My grandfather was a Brooklyn Dodger fan, and when they left for Los Angeles, he refused to root for the Yankees. When the Mets came to New York in 1962, he replaced his love for the Dodgers with the Mets. My dad grew up a Mets fan, and so did my brother and I. We loved going to Shea Stadium and watching the Amazin’ Mets. Growing up watching Mike Piazza, Billy Wagner, and David Wright, I wanted nothing more than to share the field with them, or better, compete against them.
I attended a private Catholic high school named Holy Trinity. It was there I met a group of like-minded baseball players who became my best friends. We did everything together; we trained, practiced, lifted, and conditioned together. We motivated each other to be the best we could be and held each other accountable. We had an extremely close group that was able to translate our off-field chemistry into on field success. The idea of teamwork and the pursuit of excellence really took shape for me in high school.
I accepted a baseball scholarship to pitch at the University of Maryland, where I played three unforgettable seasons for the Terps. Many of the other recruits in my class were from the North-East and Mid-Atlantic regions of the country, so we all knew of each other in one way or another. After seeing each other at various tournaments, showcases, and campus visits we all quickly became close. We could tell that we had a really special group of guys that was going to be able to make a difference immediately. The same feelings I got from my high school team began to resurface with my new teammates, who over a three-year period would become my brothers.
My freshman and sophomore year we played in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), playing arguably the best competition college baseball has to offer. In my junior year Maryland moved to the Big10 conference, and we became “the team in the south” compared to schools like Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State. At the end of my junior season, I felt that I was ready to pursue a professional career.
I was selected in the 5th round (140th overall) by the Minnesota Twins. Finally, the opportunity to call myself a professional baseball player arrived, and I couldn’t have been prouder to call myself a Minnesota Twin. It was a dream; I would be able to play a game while supporting my family. I was slowly reaching my goals, one at a time. Next was to make my MLB debut. I thought that I should’ve been selected higher in the draft, so I played every day with a chip on my shoulder and a desire to beat the person in front of me. I played all over the country in some of the nicest stadiums, while also playing in towns you’d never heard of, in stadiums you’d think were abandoned. Competing against future stars like Pete Alonso and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and playing alongside Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton was an incredible experience and a lot of fun. I’d spend the next seven years playing in the Twins minor league system, and that would be as far as I would go. During my fourth season I tore my labrum and rotator cuff in my throwing arm. I’d spend the next year rehabbing and getting back to the player I knew I still was. When I was finally cleared by the team doctors, we were sent home due to the Coronavirus, and uncertainty set in. Ultimately, I was unable to maintain my arm strength and the wear and tear became too much for me. I hung up my cleats in 2021 and had to figure out what was next.
I decided to take a remote sales position shortly after I retired and immediately realized that I had more to offer the game of baseball, even if I wasn’t able to physically play. I had been training athletes of all ages for over seven years and wanted to help the next generation of ball players reach their fullest potential. I had always wanted my own baseball facility. I grew up in a baseball facility, learning what it meant to put the time and effort into something you're passionate about. Learning to have a growth mindset while taking a minute to appreciate the progress made. I wanted a place where athletes could come and get a wholesome experience, including baseball training, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and academic tutoring. I wanted to create a space where athletes of all ages, genders, and skill levels could come work on themselves, and leave feeling good about the work they put in. From there, The Yard Baseball Academy was born, and we’re just getting started.