By: Director of Athletic Communications & Public Relations Kevin Ruple
BEREA, Ohio -- Injuries to baseball pitchers are fairly common, and often end a promising career on the diamond. Once an injury of that magnitude occurs, the player feels a large void in his life. The key to overcoming that stigma is how fast do you recover.
For recently graduated Baldwin Wallace University Masters of Accounting major and former baseball pitcher Alec Palmer (Oakdale, Pa.), it took a year to rediscover his love for the game and a new direction where he could reconnect with his coaches and teammates as well as create a career that currently involves working with Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer.
The Injury that Ended His Playing Career
As a freshman, Palmer saw action as a reliever and had a promising start to his sophomore season. But, during one winter indoor practice as a sophomore prior to spring break, his arm went numb.
"I came to BW as a freshman with plus off-speed pitches and an average fastball," said Palmer. "By no means was I a flame-throwing right-hander! Then during the winter of my sophomore year, my arm went numb. I had a shoulder full of scar tissue and a labrum that was shredded like pulled pork. The rest of that spring and during the beginning of my junior year, I tried to stay in pitching shape and come back. It just never happened."
"I had to go into Coach's [Head Coach Brian Harrison] office to tell him that I was done. It was devastating to me," said Palmer. "What I had done for 18-19 years was gone and it felt like I was empty. My absolute best friends were on the team and I had to stay at home, doing nothing in baseball, while they were playing the game that I love. It was a realy tough year."
This is where the often-utilized sports adage comes into play: You know the quality of the athlete when you see them get knocked down and how fast they get right back up and get back into the game. That's the real Alec Palmer!
Alec and Momentum
"Currently, I am working for a company called Momentum," said Palmer, who appeared in four varsity games as a freshman and compiled a 0-0 record with a 0.00 earned run average (ERA) with four strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched. Opposing batters hit just .095 off of him. "Trevor [Bauer] co-founded the company in hopes of improving to help to improve his professional athlete marketing persona. He wants to give his and the Indians fan base an inside look into his life away from baseball."
"He felt it was important for fans to get to know him and know that he is just like everyone else," said Palmer. "So, he was looking for a videographer to document his off-field activities like moving into his apartment, going drone flying and shopping for groceries and household items. I meet with him, execute the filming of content, edit and produce the content with assistance and guidance from his business partner, Taiki Green, and then publish."
How Did This Opportunity Occur
"Honestly, I send a 'cold call' email to the general Momentum email through its Twitter biographical account," said Palmer. "I explained who I was and what I've done with BW Baseball along with a link to my portfolio. I also explained how my experience could benefit their goals. It was a crazy opportunity, but at the end of the day, the worst case scenario was that they didn't respond. They [Trevor and Taiki] responded the next day. Trevor texted me a few days later and we were off-and-running."
What His Professors and Participating in Athletics at BW Taught Alec and How it Resonated with Bauer and Green
"I told Trevor and Taiki that the baseball program at BW taught me many intangible skills that led me to teach myself technical skills," said Palmer. "The business school, specifically professors Ven Ochaya, Param Srkantia, Linda Chase and Susan Kuznik helped the shape me into the innovator and creative thinker that I've become. They allowed my creativity to breed and grow."
"More importantly, each of the professors taught me to strategize, to understand the person that I am and to always be pushing to be an innovator," said Palmer. "That is why I got involved in creative media, and specifically with the idea of helping Coach Harrison and the baseball program. This was my conduit to help not only Coach Harrison, but the team and my friends. Without the guidance and lessons taught to me by these outstanding professors, I never would have had the confidence to take on such a task of creating an entire opportunity out of nothing. I truly thank them for what they did for me."
Palmer's Own Independent Study
"Funny enough, I graduated this year with a B.A. in Accounting and an MBA, so technically I had no formal education in media and film," said Palmer with a laugh and smile. "I am self-taught. I sat down with former BW photographer/videographer Nate Parsons and he explained some very basic fundamentals of shooting photography and video and how the software worked to weave it all together."
"From there, I spent hours and hours teaching myself through trial-and-error, YouTube tutorials and networking with other creatives," Palmer continued. "Through all of these different avenues, I was able to grasp the breadth of knowledge and work hard to become successful at my craft."
Growing the BW Baseball Brand and Developing a Passion
What Palmer has done for Harrison and the BW baseball program is second-to-none at the NCAA Division III level. His creativity in terms of video and photography has helped to continue to elevate the program into the elite in Division III, according to Harrison.
"What Alec has done for our baseball program is phenomenal," said Harrison, who led his fourth Yellow Jacket team in his nine seasons into the NCAA Division III National Tournament. "He has given us effort, determination and passion in ways in which we need. He helps at practices and games. He films. He creates photography, graphics and video that is invaluable to our current student-athletes, parents and campus community; and even as important, he's aided our recruiting efforts. He is as valuable a member of our baseball program as any student-athlete or coach. I wish I had 20 more Alec Palmer's!"
Palmer Feels the Same Way!
"The underlying intangible skills and support that I have received from Coach Harrison, Coach DeAngelis [Assistant Coach Tom DeAngelis], Coach Hagen [Pitching Coach Steve Hagen] and Coach Krupar have been invaluable," said Palmer. "They taught me skills such as self-motivation, dedication and leadership that you don't learn in a normal classroom education. I can't thank them enough for always making me feel like I am an important part of the BW Baseball Family."