A Day in the Life of a Chinooks Player
Written by Morgan Vukovich and Katie Hanson, Photos by Katie Hanson
Following his performance that earned him pitcher of the night against the Madison Mallards, right handed pitcher Marshall Kasowski showed us his daily routine that he has developed for the summer. Kasowski and a few teammates contributed to give you a day in the life of a competitive college summer baseball player.
Kasowski starts each morning by eating a good breakfast.
“I do my best to eat a lot of protein, carbohydrates, and things I need to keep my body performing at the highest level possible,” Kasowski said. “One of my favorites is an omelet with salsa. It is very healthy and a good way to get my body going.”
Players typically get to the field around 1:00pm every day. Before field workouts begin, the players like to get a lift in either at the University of Concordia Wisconsin facilities or Form & Fitness in Grafton.
“I like to hit the weight room every day, especially the day after I just pitched,” Kasowski said. “I usually lift for an hour and alternate legs and arms. I do heavy leg days and run short sprints the day after I pitch, so I keep my legs strong but not tiring them out before taking the mound.”
Players hangout around clubhouse throughout the afternoon. Their pregame activities consist of playing card games, shooting hoops in the gym, listening to music, playing games on their phones or just hanging out. There tends to be a lot of down time throughout the day, since the first pitch of the game is not until 6:35 P.M.
“Before and after batting practice, most of us guys listen to music,” Zac Taylor said. “Some of us shoot hoops, or play cards while we eat our pregame meal and we also go see our athletic trainers before we head back up to the field for the game.”
Many players can be found in the Athletic Training Room before they have to report to the field. Since the team is playing a game everyday, the players depend on their training staff to keep their bodies strong and give them the proprer rehab they need inorder to perform with high intensity every game. With 72 games throughout the summer, it is important for the players to stay healthy.
On this day, Lindsay and Katie, head athletic trainer and athletic training intern, assisted in helping Kasowski recover from his performance from the night before.
“Each day consists of a lot of massaging,” Carrie Getka, Chinook’s athletic training intern, said. “This helps keep their muscles loose and helps relieve them of any muscle stiffness.”
“On the pitchers, we like to use the Marc Pro, which is a tool that helps keep their arms from tensing up,” Katie Michel, Chinook’s athletic training intern, said.
Sometime between 3 and 3:30, the pitchers make their way to the field where they do some mechanical work in the bullpen.
“Around 3, we usually head outside and the pitchers stretch and throw,” Kasowski said. “Pitchers that need bullpens get them in, and then we shag flies while the hitters take batting practice.”
On this day, Nolan Bond was throwing a bullpen session while the other pitchers went through their daily routines before the game.
“Pitchers need to work on their different pitches before the game,” Zach Reeg, right handed pitcher said. “We need to get a feel for off speed pitches and work on perfecting our different mechanics. We also have workouts that consist of a lot of band work to help loosen our arms and work on our flexibility.”
After the pitchers get their workout in, it is time for the hitters to start batting practice. During batting practice, pitchers shag balls in the outfield, while hitters are working on their offensive side of the game.
“In batting practice, hitters focus on hitting the ball deep and to hit the ball the other way,” Darius Sewell said.
Players rotate for several rounds of hitting throughout batting practice. Each round has a slightly different focus than the others. It was Keving Riley's turn to get work in, in the photo below.
During and after batting practice, players are interviewed by the interns for their player profile or possible quotes to use in team stories. Below, Royce Ando is giving details for his player profile, which is printed in the Field Notes that fans are able to purchase each game.
After batting practice, which usually lasts about 45 minutes, the team grabs a quick bite to eat and then heads into the clubhouse to prepare for the game.
“After batting practice, the team grabs a bite to eat and then we head back into the clubhouse to cool off, change and relax until game time,” Kasowski said. “Card games, video games, music and cell phones are what makes up most of our entertainment before the game.”
At this point, the players have already been at the field for about three hours, and they have not even gotten to game time yet. In the Northwoods League, there is a lot of hurry up and wait time. This however, helps the players develop a routine throughout the summer grind of their schedule of 72 games.
The players report back to the field between 5:30 and 6 to prepare for the game. Before first pitch, players get in some stretching and play catch with teammates. Players usually help with the pregame ceremonies which consists of catching the first pitch or receiving the game ball delivery. At approximately 6:30, lineups are introduced and the National Anthem is performed. Then it is finally time for the first pitch of the game.
There are promotions between innings that fans are able to participate in. The players join in on the fun by cheering on the kids during the minnow race, or high fiving them as they run by. Player and fan interaction makes for an enjoyable atmosphere at Kapco Park.
Along with supporting the fans in between innings, the players are always seen supporting each other as they return to the dugout. Win or lose, they are always high fiving and pushing each other to do better.
Throughout the game, relief pitchers move down the right field line to the bullpen where they warm up in preparation to take the mound. There is always a minimum of three people in the bullpen when someone is warming up: the pitcher, catcher and another pitcher who lets the bench know when he is ready to enter the game. The bullpen at Kapco Park is where you will enjoy the most breathtaking views when it comes to sunsets.
Depending on the duration of the game, players typically make their way off the field and through the autograph line between 9:30 and 10. Autographs are part of the overall experience of the Northwoods League.
“I look forward to signing autographs for the kids after the game,” Tim DalPorto said. “It reminds me of when I was younger and how much I would look forward to meeting the big time ball players after the game.”
“Once the game is completed, we all shower, eat dinner, and head home,” Kasowski said, “By the time we leave the clubhouse it's usually around 10:00, making it tough to unwind after a game. When I wake up, it's time to do it all over again!”