On June 7, 2014 he got the call.
Five days later he decided to sign as a professional baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals organization. No more than a couple months later, the 20th round draft pick found himself stuck on a broken-down bus waiting out a rainstorm – three hours into making some of the best memories of his professional baseball career.
But these memories didn’t come with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. They came on a broken-down team bus, surrounded by his teammates, in a heated four-hour long game of Mafia, a classic ‘who done it’ card game.
Collin is from Austin – graduating from Cedar Park High School, playing summer baseball for the Austin Wings, and frequenting Torchy’s for a Mr. Orange and a couple Fried Avocados on flour, extra sauce.
Through three years in the minor leagues, he had the stats for some pretty incredible on the field memories. You just don’t stick around that long without the stats to back it up. Whether it was his fifteenth inning walk off RBI in State College, his five-hit game in Cedar Rapids, or his defensive web gem in centerfield to rob a homerun in Palm Beach, he credits his success to a simple non-baseball trait he always carries with him – even into broken-down busses on the side of the road in rainy western Pennsylvania.
“When I make a decision, I commit to it. At the field, in the weight room, and in the broken-down bus beating the pants off of some big time Major League prospects in an epic game of Mafia.”
“It ended up being one of the most memorable nights of my career. I was on fire. Man, you should have seen me play.”
Some stats don’t make the box score. While Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals Manager, never got the stats from the life-changing game of A-Ball Mafia, he should have. The St Louis Post-Dispatch never ran their front page story, ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian never called for an interview, and there was no championship parade when the bus finally made it back home just in time for sunrise.
But Collin didn’t care. He was riding a first-ballot-hall-of-famer hot streak that would have had Bryce Harper shaking in his Nikes if he was lined up across the bus from Collin that night.
While not everyone can carry their weight over four seasons with one of the best baseball farm systems in the league, deciding to commit fully to something as small as a side-of-the-highway game of rainstorm Mafia doesn’t take much.
Just ask Collin.
Collin is now retired from professional baseball and helps kids learn how to hit, run, throw, and – most importantly – commit to the whatever they do with everything they have. The only thing hotter than his Twitter feed is the routes he takes to fly balls in center field. Watch out, #ATX kickball leagues. I hear The Folde has a ringer in 2017.