Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman and his Amazin’ off-the-field work in 2020

New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman has had an All-Star season off-the-field in 2020.

Before MLB and MLBPA reached an agreement on the upcoming season, many MLB players were losing hope and voicing their frustration with the negotiations on social media. New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman, however, channeled his energy into using his platform to do some good with his extra time.

Thanks to one tweet, he may have signed himself up for a busy 2020 offseason of working with Tampa-area kids.

As recently as June 15, things were looking rather bleak for baseball in 2020. That day, Stroman decided to lend his services to any nearby baseball team that was interested.

Coaches wasted no time reaching out to him. Within two days, Stroman had received over 70 emails from coaches in the Tampa area responding to his inquiry.

Joel Salinas, a coach for the Tampa Heat Under-9 youth baseball team, got in touch with Stroman right away.

The next day, Stroman appeared at his team’s practice to work for two and a half hours with 11 members of the Tampa Heat U-9 team. This included catching batting practice, running sprints, taking ground balls, and offering advice about how to work hard and make it to the major leagues.

Clearly, Stroman’s day at that baseball practice made a strong impression on everyone associated with the team.

“It’s such a cool experience for [the kids],” said bench coach Hans Loebel to the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s someone who’s current, someone who, if there was a season going on, (they’d be watching). They’re all going to be Marcus Stroman fans from here on out, and that’s the coolest thing.”

“It’s awesome (being out here), and it’s refreshing,” Stroman said after the event. “I love this. Any time I can get around young kids that are truly the next generation of athletes and just being around to talk and answer their questions and to show them that I was in their position one day and it’s possible (to reach the big leagues).”

His Twitter reflected this enthusiasm. Stroman posted several tweets about the experience and retweeted and commented to many others who thanked him for his time.

This type of motivation and outreach is nothing new for Stroman. In January 2015, he trademarked his signature “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart” catchphrase and began building it into a full-fledged foundation, helping as many people to follow their dreams as possible. HDMH recently donated to the Food Bank For New York City and Long Island Cares to aid with COVID-19 relief.

When Stroman tore his ACL in March of 2015, he went back to Duke University and took enough classes to finish his degree, while also completing the rehab necessary to get back on the baseball field. That fall, he led the Blue Jays past the Texas Rangers in the ALDS, where they fell just short of making it to the World Series.

In 2017, the same week that he accepted his Gold Glove award at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, Stroman appeared at a Hofstra baseball clinic and spoke to over 200 kids there about baseball, encouraging them to work on every aspect of their game and pursue their dreams.

“I love interacting with kids,” Stroman told Newsday back in 2017. “You’re the role model they’re looking for. I’m the guy who can tell them to chase your dream.”

At the time, Stroman was pitching every fifth day for the Toronto Blue Jays, who drafted him in the 1st round out of Duke in 2012. His career trajectory changed last July when the Mets traded Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson to the Blue Jays in exchange for Stroman. Some Mets fans questioned the trade, looking at the Mets’ dismal record and wondering why the team was trying to “win now.”

But as fans got to know him last year, we saw that Stroman is so much more than a baseball player. He is striving for a larger legacy than just an All-Star starting pitcher. He recognizes that he is in a unique position to be a role model for both aspiring ballplayers and baseball fans everywhere.

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Now, Stroman is in a new chapter of his career, based less than an hour from where he grew up. If his recent outreach is any indication, Stroman appears more driven than ever to continue doing Amazin’ things, on and off the field, for years to come.