Rockland County, NY (Jan. 26) – Like oil and water, baseball players and winter do not mix.
One of the newest members of the New York Boulders, Nanuet’s Colin Kelly is already sick of the cold weather, snow and everything else that is associated with the winter season. The 26-year-old righthanded pitcher, signed this past October by the Boulders, though, has not let that hamper his preparation for his initial campaign with the Frontier League team.
“I can’t wait for the weather to break, to be able to get outside and throw and get the season started – I am pumped,” said Kelly, who was the first post-merger signing by the Boulders after the team and four other former Can-Am League franchises merged into the Frontier League. “I don’t like the winter – don’t like anything about it.”He added, “I just wish it was warm and I could be outside and throwing and getting ready.”
A 2011 graduate of Nanuet High School, Kelly played collegiately at Catholic University in Washington, DC. After three solid seasons to kick off his career at Catholic, a freak injury sidelined him in 2016. “I got hit with a line drive and broke some ribs,” Kelly said. “I missed the whole year and it drove me crazy because I couldn’t do a thing – couldn’t pick up a ball, couldn’t touch a glove. That was the toughest part – just sitting around and watching.”
He returned to the mound in 2017 to wrap up his career at Catholic with a 16-10 record along with one save, serving as a starter and reliever. Graduating with a degree in accounting, Kelly decided to forego the business world for the world of professional baseball. Over the last two-plus years, he has pitched for several independent league teams, including the Frontier League’s Gateway Grizzlies.
“I mean, I always wanted to play professional baseball,” said Kelly, who stands 6’4” and weighs in at around 200-pounds. “Accounting or baseball? I think I rather have a bit of fun and play baseball for a while. My sights were always set on professional baseball.” He continued, “When I was two years old, I picked up a glove and fell in love with baseball and knew that I wanted to someday play pro ball. Then, when I was in college at Catholic, one of my teammates – he was a senior when I was a freshman – signed on with the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization. So, from that time on, I knew that, even though I was playing D-3 college ball, I could still get the chance to play pro ball.”
Playing with the Boulders, though, is really a dream opportunity for Kelly, who was signed by the team shortly after excelling at a workout in Massachusetts that was witnessed by head scout Kevin Tuve, who is also charged with leading the player development department of the Boulders. “He (Tuve) came up to me after the throwing session and asked me if I wanted to play for the Boulders,” Kelly recalled. “I was like, yea, why not? Hometown team, why wouldn’t I want that.” He continued, “There were a bunch of other guys up there that teams spoke to and, since they weren’t giving out contracts right away, theywent on and talked to a bunch of different teams. I just shut it down after (Tuve) spoke to me – I knew where I wanted to go.”
Immediately after the talk with Tuve, Kelly had to tell his parents. He knew they would be excited, however he did not expect the reaction he got from his mother, Maria. “My mother was always upset when I would leave for baseball and have to travel,” Kelly said. “Even when I left for school, she would get upset, so, I figured she would be happy that I was signing with the Boulders and would be staying home.” He continued, “Well, at first, it didn’t go as expected. She really thought that I was messing with her. She didn’t believe it at first – it took some time for me to convince her that I was telling her the truth and thatI was staying home.” Kelly added, “Dad (Tom) was good right from the start. He could tell that I wasn’t messing with her. Now they both can’t wait for the games to start. My friends can’t wait either. I am going to have a lot of people at the games this year.”
Preparing for the upcoming season, Kelly has been working out in Stamford, CT. Included in his regimen are throwing sessions two to three times per week. “I just started throwing, the goal is to build up arm strength and be ready to go off a mound by mid-March,” said Kelly, who lists a fastball, curve, slider and change-up in his repertoire. “I am more of a sinker type pitcher,” Kelly said. “No four-seam fastball for me.”
After that, it will be training camp with the Boulders beginning May 4 at Palisades Credit Union Park.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet that I am a Boulder and that I will playing at home,” Kelly said. “I remember when the stadium was being built and it seems that was all everyone was talking about. I didn’t get the chance to play there when I was in high school, but I did get the opportunity when I was in my freshman year in college when we played in a tournament there.”
He continued, “I don’t know what it is going to be like the first time I put on that uniform and get out on the field for real. I know it is probably going to be amazing – who doesn’t want the chance to play for their hometown team.”
Kelly does not know what role Boulders’ manager Kevin Baez has in mind for him.
“I will do either – start or relieve – whatever they decide for me,” Kelly said. “I do like relieving, though, better. I like not knowing when I am going to work, but, being down I the bullpen, I am always involved in the game. I watch the hitters during the game and pick up what they like to hit, what they struggle with.”
The Boulders open the 2020 season on Thursday, May 14, traveling to face the Sussex County Miners before hosting the Washington Wild Things to start a nine-game homestand at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 15. Season tickets and packages for the 2020 season are now available – for more information call 845-364- 0009 or slide to NYBoulders.com
GETTING TO KNOW THE REAL COLIN KELLY
Favorite professional baseball team (besides the Boulders): New York Yankees (of course.)
Favorite baseball players: I liked James Shields, Mike Mussina. I stole my fastball grip from Chien-Ming Wang. I took my delivery from Shields and my curveball from Mussina.
Favorite sport besides baseball: Football. I am a huge Jets’ fan. We have tickets to the Jets.
Favorite non-baseball athlete: New Orleans Pelicans and former Duke basketball standout J.J. Reddick. Favorite dinner: Steak, I guess.
Go-to late night snack: Peanut butter sandwiches.
Future vacation spot: I’d like to go to Italy – really, I would like to go all around Europe.
If you had one superpower it would be: Teleportation. Why not? I hate driving, so I could get wherever I want easier.