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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Baseball: Staff, players and fans prepare for the season with the Annual Baseball Line Drive Luncheon

Mickey Storey shares his challenges with playing in the MLB and head coach John McCormack explains his excitement for the upcoming season at the annual fundraising event organized by the Paradise Club
FAU+Alum.+Mickey+Storey+with+host+Frank+Forte+at+the+2024+FAU+Baseball+Line+Drive+Luncheon+on+Feb.+5
Erika Fletcher
FAU Alum. Mickey Storey with host Frank Forte at the 2024 FAU Baseball Line Drive Luncheon on Feb. 5

FAU Baseball held their annual Baseball Line Drive Luncheon, organized by the Paradise Club, on Feb. 5 to kick off the 2024 season. Head coach John McCormack spoke on his thoughts for the upcoming season and special guest Mickey Storey shared his insights as well. 

The event was held at the Schmidt Family Complex at the Owls Perch. FAU charged attendees $60 to enter or $420 for a table of eight, unlocking access to the event and a food buffet.

Attendees helping themselves at the buffet (Erika Fletcher)

Many former baseball players attended the luncheon with their families and friends, putting a smile on McCormack’s face. He said he appreciates their attendance because he recruited them in their teens and saw their personal growth. 

“You get into coaching because you want to win games and you stay in coaching because you want to impact lives,” said McCormack. “To see the fathers and men that these guys have become is more important to me than baseball because at this university we are trying to get young people ready for life.”

This season, the team welcomed 18 new players, ranging from incoming freshmen to transfers. McCormack explained that this is typical in today’s age of college sports because the transfer portal increases player departures and new athlete arrivals. 

“We did a really good job of replacing who left with exceptional people… We’re seeing great teammate type stuff from these guys. The test of how good of a team we are is coming up in a few weeks with our first game,” said McCormack. “Up to this point I’m extremely proud of them and thankful for everything that they do.”

Trey Beard is a freshman pitcher who Frank Forte, the host of the coaches show, described as having a high chance of being one of the three pitchers in a consistent rotation. 

“Trey has a chance to be special. He has an advanced ability to pitch and a very unique arm slot. His change up is really good and nothing seems to faze him,” McCormack said. 

Baseball head coach John McCormack and host Frank Forte speaking at the 2024 Line Drive Luncheon (Erika Fletcher)

McCormack explained that many players struggle with the transition from living at home to being on their own, but Beard is navigating the challenges well. In his first semester he held a 3.97 GPA and currently has been demonstrating his maturity in the locker room.

After the end of last season, the team lost their star player Nolan Schanuel. During his junior season he was the Conference-USA player of the year and was selected by the Los Angeles Angels with the 11th overall pick in the 2023 MLB draft. He was the first FAU player to be drafted in the first round. 

With Schanuel advancing his career, McCormack said that the group has to come together in order to become a good offensive team; they can’t rely on one player to do all of the work. 

The guest speaker at the event was former FAU baseball player, Mickey Storey. During his time at FAU, he was a pitcher and ranks second on FAU’s all-time strikeout list with 292. In 2005, he was named the National Freshman Pitcher of the Year. Currently, he is the manager of the Houston Astros’ Triple A affiliate, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys. 

During his third season with the Owls he experienced an injury and was drafted by the Minnesota Twins, but declined the offer and decided to come back to continue his career at FAU.

Mickey Storey and McCormack hugging as Storey makes his way to the front to speak at the Line Drive Luncheon (Erika Fletcher)

“I decided that I’m going to go back to school and give it another shot because I didn’t want to go out on an injury. I came back and it was even worse. I was still hurt, but then I met my wife… Coming back to school was a blessing in disguise,” said Storey, a former FAU baseball player. 

Storey played in the MLB for two years and was drafted as a 31st round pick. He debuted in 2012 with the Houston Astros and played for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013. 

“I signed with Oakland after two years of injuries with FAU. They brought us in and told us the draft class and the percentage [of making it]. They were trying to tell us that two or three of you will make it to the big leagues… I should have been a first rounder but it didn’t work out. That was my mindset and it never changed,” said Storey.

The MLB taught Storey the importance of adversity. A person might think they know what to expect but they need to be able to overcome challenges. He stated that players need to have confidence in their abilities because if they think down on their skill then it will be reflected in performance.

“You get there and you think that you’re supposed to be there and then you don’t perform or you get hurt. They reel out some guys that were better or make a trade. You end up with multiple organizations,” said Storey.

When he played for the minor leagues at Oakland, Mickey said that the players were praying they didn’t get drafted to the Astros because they were the worst team in the league. But, he ended up getting picked up by the Astros. 

“I debuted and I thought who cares, I’m in the big league just like the Yankees guys,” said Storey. “It’s all good because I made it. I got there and I pitched really well.”

After Storey answered two crowd questions, McCormack took the stage to end the Luncheon by thanking those who attended and the alumni who helped organize it. He shared that the painting of the outfield wall was completed last week. 

Everyone clapped and rose from their chairs, some leaving while others began to mingle after listening to the two speakers. 

Megan Bruinsma is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email her at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @megan_bruinsma. 

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Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a junior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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