The baseball season may be over for West Virginia, but that doesn’t mean baseball has stopped for Randy Mazey and the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers’ season was off to a strong start, racking up 11 wins and five losses out of the gate. Much of that was to do with their strong pitching, which was near the top of the country several stats, including top-ten marks in WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings.
“We were really pleased with all of [our pitchers], to be honest with you,” Mazey said. “Our ERA was under 3 and we were in the top 25 in the nation in pitching, so if you’re gonna do something really good early on, you want it to be pitching because our hitting always comes around late in the year.”
Since the cancellation of the year, Mazey is now a coach without a team, and his student-athletes are baseball players without baseball to play. On top of that, gyms are closed, and everyone is told to stay at home.
That’s not an excuse to get out of shape though, Mazey says. In order to stay in shape, he recommends a sandlot approach to the sport.
“Back during throwback days, when I was a kid, you just took a bucket of balls or a bucket of rocks out there and just threw and threw and threw,” he told WV Illustrated via FaceTime from Monongalia County Ballpark. “So you can manage if you’re serious about being a good baseball player and serious about your craft, you just need a baseball and somebody to throw it to and you can stay sharp. It’s hard to stay in game shape without playing games but you can do some things. Heck, I’m out here working on my swing right now.”
Baseball is far from the priority for everyone at the moment, especially Mazey. When it comes to times like this, he invoked a line spoken by Curly in the film “City Slickers”:
Do you know what the secret of life is?...One thing, just one thing. You stick to that, and everything else don't mean....
“I think I’ve got it figured out….I think it’s balance,” he said. “At a time like this, if you don’t have balance in your life, or hobbies or interests outside of baseball, then you’ll go crazy right now.”
Luckily for Mazey, he says he’s found that balance. The skipper has found himself with a lot of extra free time in the spring without baseball games to manage, which has freed him up to do some things that he hasn’t been able to do in decades.
“I’ve had an opportunity to spend time with my family that I haven’t gotten to do in 35 years in this profession,” he said. “So I’m enjoying my family, enjoying my hobbies.”
On top of that, he and his family are keeping busy out of his workshop.
“The Mazeys are building custom screen doors out of my workshop right now, so if you need one, don’t be afraid to reach out and have one of my kids build a screen door for you,” he said. “So we’re doing a lot of different things right now and I encourage our players not to get so wrapped up in baseball. At a time like this, you don’t have it, and you’ll have nothing else to do. I feel for those people, those coaches that are so obsessed with their particular sport, that at a time like this, their absolutely going crazy.”