Field of dreams

Alumnus Daniel Robinson finishes first year on Division I baseball team


Photo credit: Kyle Svecz

Robinson during a game while on the varsity baseball team. Robinson currently plays for Central Michigan University.

It’s tied in the sixth inning, and alumnus Daniel Robinson looks up to the pitcher before he swings. Fans chant, but it’s no longer shouts of green and gold. “Fire up Chips,” hums from a sea of maroon. Robinson became a starting player on Central Michigan University’s (CMU) Division I baseball team last year.

“Coming in, there (were) a lot of traditions that they made freshmen do, but it was nothing too crazy,” Robinson said. “I thought there were a lot of guys where you could just tell that being good guys, and not only good players, and good friends to the team (was important) as well.”

His relationship with the sport began approximately 10 years earlier when Robinson tossed around a ball with his father, Ken Robinson, for the first time. Ken introduced baseball to Daniel, teaching him through batting practice and words of advice.

“I’ve spent a great deal of time with him, kind of developing his skills since he was very small,” Ken said. “I was his baseball coach in Little League for a while, but most of it has been working with him individually and as my son, I would throw pitches to him and then try to teach him the finer points of skills as he developed.”

Preparing for a future in baseball started at a young age, but Robinson chose to immerse himself in the possibility of a professional career by committing to CMU’s team.

With a scholarship in hand and a guaranteed spot on the team, Robinson knew CMU was the best choice for him. But commitment goes beyond signing recruitment papers. College-level coaches require the players to live with each other, attend 6-8 hour practices throughout the year and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.

There’s a lot of adjustments that freshmen coming in have to make: adjusting to a new coaching staff, a new lifestyle with college, and the new level of play.

— Daniel Robinson

“The intensity of college is a lot more than high school. (There are) a lot more places you have to be, like weightlifting, team meetings, then obviously practice. The level of competition is a lot higher,” Robinson said. “In high school, you maybe see one or two guys during the year that were Division I pitchers, but now you’re seeing those guys every day. It’s just a lot more competition.”

Although 9.7 percent of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college baseball players rise to Major Pro, CMU produced 14 Major League players and 10 top draft choices, making CMU a solid option.

Ken finds that Dan has split his time well between baseball and his other commitments. He also recognizes Dan’s strong knowledge about the game.

“I think he’s come to understand the game of baseball. Not only has he grown in his skill level, but I think he’s come to understand things about situations. He’s come to understand how the game is played,” Ken said. “I just want him to be very balanced about his academics, his athletics and his development as a person.”

Robinson couldn’t predict if he was going to play frequently as a freshman when he first arrived, but ended up being satisfied with his playing time. He started his college baseball career by setting goals for himself, his main one being to reach a .300 batting average.

“Individually, I just want to be a really good teammate. For the younger guys coming in next year, I want to be able to help them out and really make them feel at home. There’s a lot of adjustments that freshmen coming in have to make: adjusting to a new coaching staff, a new lifestyle with college, and the new level of play,” Robinson said. “I want to play professionally, to go out and work hard every day, just to try to make my dreams become a reality.”