Robby Rowland MLB Blog: Pirates Prospect Discuss His Transformation, Trade and Much More
Friday October 5th, 2012
Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present the return of Robby Rowland, Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Prospect. Robby is back on MLB Reports with his latest MLB Blog. We have been very fortunate to have Robby appear several times on MLB reports, in interviews and MLB Blogs prepared by Robby in his own words. One of our fave alumni returns with thoughts from Robby’s World. Robby looks at his transformation as a pitcher, trade to the Pirates organization and much more. Get ready for a special treat. Robby Rowland is real, funny and informative. We know you missed him…as we all did! Get ready to fulfill your Robby Rowland fix!
Robby Rowland- Guest MLB Blogger:
For those of you who have followed my journey through these blogs, I apologize for taking so much time to write this one. I would like to say thank you to MLB reports for having me on once again. For those of you who are reading one of my blogs for the first time, I want to apologize ahead of time for the writing style. I have so much that I would like to touch upon and I may not always use the proper commas or periods that some English major would… or something like that, I’m not sure. One more thanks is to my computer class teacher, who taught me how to type without looking. I’m glad I can use this skill in my baseball career, unlike all the other subjects in school that seem useless now. I also am known to ramble on a little bit, so bear with me here. Hopefully you will enjoy reading this as much as I did when I wrote it.
As I sit here, listening to a country music Pandora station, I try to think of some things that you guys would like to read about. I’ve heard some good topics via twitter and I will try my best to write about those and try to pick out topics that I can elaborate on. I will try to make this blog entry as entertaining as possible because I know how boring reading can get… if what you are reading doesn’t interest you. I had to do it ALL 4 years in high school… well, I had to read the sparknotes of whatever, which were still boring when they didn’t have anything to do with sports!
I will first talk about my transformation of becoming a “sinker ball pitcher” just over a year ago. Then I will talk about getting traded at the beginning of the season. After I have covered those 2 subjects, I will go on to write about lighter topics. Hope you enjoy and I don’t bore you!
My 2011 season in Short Season was hands down the worst I have ever pitched in my life. Some can make the argument that it was just all-mental and that I just didn’t believe in my abilities like I had in the past. I wouldn’t say that they were wrong. Others can say that my mechanics were off and that there was something I was doing that wouldn’t let the ball go to places that I wanted it to. Again, I wouldn’t say they were wrong either. In September of 2011, I was invited to the D’Backs Instructional League where I worked with our pitching coordinator on finding out what the problem was. It didn’t take him very long to figure it out. What happened was when I turned pro I wanted to develop a really good 12-6 breaking ball to go along with my fastball. My arm gradually crept up to where it wasn’t my natural throwing motion. It was thought to be from the action of pulling down on this curveball to try to make it dirtier. Well that just turned into having my arm way above my head on every one of my pitches.
Now, if you can just picture trying to throw with your arm straight over the top. What has to happen? My head would move out of the way to let my arm come through. We call it pulling the body. If you watch the guys on TV pitch their body is in a straight line to the plate every single pitch. The goal was to get where my natural arm slot was, the way God intended me to throw. How did we do this? I stood on the mound one day and I was instructed to just throw like I was fielding a ball from shortstop and throwing it across the diamond. Well that’s what I did and for the first time in a while, the ball felt so good coming out of my hand. It was like everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at me with a confused demeanor. Now the task was just getting that arm motion into my pitching mechanics. It took me a couple of days before I could really feel comfortable with it. I got to throw 8 innings in which I finally started finding success again. The arm slot simply went from a straight over the top flat ball to a three-quarter release with some sink to it. It was pretty cool what I could get done with my first Instructs outing. I had my shortstop come up to me asking “since when do you throw a sinker!?” I’ve kind of just rolled with it ever since. It was the best thing to happen to me during my pro career. After seeing results that I liked, I believe that I regained that confidence I once had when things were going well for me. I believe to this day that having a season like I did in 2011 was the best thing for me. I am a firm believer in the quote, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
As most of you who are reading this know, I got traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 31st. I was drafted by the D’Backs in June of 2010 out of High School, so as you can imagine it was quite the rush. I came into the 2012 spring training with high hopes after having changed some stuff mechanically to regain confidence. Spring training didn’t start off the way I would have liked though. I tested positive for mononucleosis… yeah “just mono” not steroids. It was the last day of spring training when I got the call from the Diamondbacks farm director saying they were keeping Brett Lorin but not putting him on the 40-man roster. For those of you who don’t understand, Brett Lorin was selected by the Diamondbacks in the rule 5 draft. At first I didn’t think it was real, thought it was a dream or something. Remember, I’m only 20 still pretty young and shoot, I’ve never been traded before. I didn’t know what was going on! I finally received a phone call from the Pirates farm director just saying that I needed to get to their spring training complex in Bradenton, Fl.
Being the crazy kid I am I decided to drive across country to get there. I called my old man up asking if he would drive with me, he happily accepted so he jumped on a plane and the next think I knew, we were off. We made the trip in 2 1/2 days. I felt bad for my dad, as he had to deal with me in a car for that long. For those of you who know me, you would understand. We pulled into “Pirate City” which is the Pirates home for spring training. It is a lot different from what the D’Backs have. The Pirates actually have rooms in which you stay in the complex, so everything is just one big facility. They told me that I needed to stay down in extended spring training. I was pretty bummed about that because I was in extended last year and I wanted to get my career going. My goal was to start in full season and impress people. Well now I was in a new organization where I didn’t know anyone. It wasn’t until May 19 that I got the call up to the Pirates low A affiliate in Charleston, WV.
I spent the rest of the 2012 season there where my confidence continued to grow. Baseball became fun again and I loved every bit of it. Now I sit here in Pirate City while attending the Fall Instructional League and it feels like I have been with this organization for years! The Pirates are truly a class act organization, as were the Diamondbacks. I am truly blessed to have received the chance to play with these two organizations.
From what I have read from y’alls tweets, guys want to hear about the bus rides. Well, I will tell you my personal opinion on the bus rides in the minor leagues. They are flat-out terrible! Now I know what you are thinking…“You play baseball for a living, stop complaining.” I understand what you’re saying, but at the same time it probably IS the worst thing about playing minor league baseball. Let me give you a brief description of myself before I go into this “bus ride topic”. I got kicked out of A LOT of classes in my life. Not because I was a bad student (I was actually a pretty good one! I know; weird). It was because I just could not sit still. You should see me writing this blog right now. I’m sitting on a couch bouncing up and down.
Now for me to be on a bus for 4-14 hours, let’s just say it isn’t easy. I sometimes get lucky and snag my own seat so I can spread out a little bit. But it still is pretty bad. I usually start off the ride with music, then move on to some sort of gaming device a little later. When I get sick of that, it’s time to switch to some slow jams music. You know, the stuff that will put anyone to sleep. If I’m lucky, I can get some sleep, but it’s usually never for a long period of time. I definitely watch a movie somewhere in there too. Hopefully you didn’t lose any respect for me after this topic just giving my personal opinion on the minor league bus trips.
I know what you are thinking once you read the topic… oh jeez Robby talking about food again! Well, I just want to touch on what us minor leaguers eat or get the chance to eat. As you guys know, our schedule is a lot different from the typical “9-5” workday. Being that we usually don’t wake up until 11-1 anyways, our breakfast is usually just lunch, unless we go somewhere that serves breakfast all day (Waffle House). So once we get our first meal of the day in, we usually head straight to the field where we have food in the clubhouse or we can order for delivery. Then the confusing part comes: what to eat after the game? Well, what is usually still open at 11-midnight? As you see, we can fall into the fast food game pretty easily. Personally I have become very fond of Waffle House! Never heard of it until I got traded. No, that’s wrong. I first heard of it in the movie “Due Date”. But man- is that place phenomenal or what!?
Anyways, back to the topic. The guys that have played for a while will start going and buying groceries so they can cook for themselves. But the confusing thing in that is who wants to cook when they just played a game? I know, I know, you can take this as complaining- or just me telling you guys what’s going on in my head.
Well that’s all I got for now. Please let me know via twitter if there is anything you would like to hear about.
Thanks again for reading this and a Very Special Thanks to MLB reports for having me on once again.
***Robby Rowland is a pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. A big thank you to Robby for his time in preparing today’s MLB Blog! Please feel free to leave any comments and feedback at the end of this page. You can also reach Robby anytime on Twitter (@RobbyRow_12)***
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Posted on October 5, 2012, in Interviews with MLB Stars and tagged arizona diamondbacks, baseball, cloverdale, guest blog, minor leagues, missoula, mlb, offseason, pitcher, pittsurgh pirates, pre-game ritual, robby rowland, starting pitcher, toledo mud hens. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.