For most who spend the summers of their younger years on diamonds playing baseball, throwing even just one pitch from the mound of a big-league ball park is a fantasy — a dream you hold close and hope for, despite the slimmest odds it ever comes true.
Nate Pearson knows what throwing that first pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays meant. He knows what it could lead to if even wilder dreams come true. And he knows what it will take to ensure it’s only the beginning.
“I know I have a shot to be great,” Pearson said during a Friday appearance on Tim and Sid. “I know the opportunity that I have and I’m not gonna blow it. I’m not gonna do anything stupid. I’m gonna focus on my craft, and just try to get better each outing, do everything I can to just keep learning and not be close-minded and always adapt — change my routine when I need to, just not get too fixated on one outcome or one routine.
“You gotta keep pushing the limits, you gotta keep striving for greatness.”
Livestream Toronto Blue Jays games all season with Sportsnet NOW. Plus, watch marquee MLB matchups, the post-season and World Series.
Part of that striving involves adding more to his pitching arsenal than the dominant fastball which helped him rise to prominence as a prospect.
Pearson put that weapon to good use during his big-league debut, when he threw five shutout innings and topped out at 98.7 m.p.h. in a 4-0, 10-inning loss to the Washington Nationals.
Velocity like that alone could earn him a spot on MLB rosters for years to come. Pearson isn’t content with just making it to the majors, though.
“I love that I throw hard, it’s a big part of my game,” Pearson said. “But once I got into pro-ball I realized I can’t just throw hard, I gotta be able to pitch. And if I want to be a Hall of Famer, I gotta get some secondary stuff that’s just as good as my heaters — and that’s what I pride myself in, that’s what I worked for.
“…I want people to say that ‘Oh man, he’s so gross, he’s nasty, you seen that slider? You seen that curve-ball changeup?’ I want them to be talking about my whole arsenal, not just my heater.”