Former pro hurler MacDonald holds pitching clinic at Waldo County YMCACRHS graduate's minor league career spanned nine seasons
Belfast — Former baseball player Mike MacDonald held a youth pitching clinic on Sunday, Jan. 19 at the Waldo County YMCA in Belfast, an event that saw roughly 20 children take instruction and, ultimately, receive guidance from the hurler who played in the minor leagues for nine years.
“Teaching the game of baseball and passing it along to kids from the area that I grew up in is a passion of mine,” MacDonald said. “And to be able to share those experiences that I've had throughout the years with them means that much more to me.”
MacDonald, a 2000 graduate of then Camden-Rockport High School, also went on to play college baseball for the University of Maine at Orono and was drafted in the 15th round of the 2004 Major League Baseball draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.
From there the 32-year-old Saco resident played in the farms systems of the Blue Jays, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox, along with a brief stint in the independent leagues.
Over his nine-year Minor League career, MacDonald threw 1,165.1 innings, sported a 64-66 record and a 4.47 earned run average. In 244 games, he had 194 starts, five complete games, three shutouts, five saves, surrendered 1,314 hits, allowed 579 earned runs, allowed 83 homers, walked 324 and struck out 692, according to baseballreference.com.
After not receiving offers to play pro baseball last spring, MacDonald retired in April.
“I'm moving on to life after baseball, starting a new career and looking forward to spending time with my family and not having to be gone seven months out of the year,” he said.
MacDonald, now a sales associate at Patriot Subaru in Saco, said his adjustment to life after baseball has “gotten better as time has gone on.”
“The first few months it was hard to watch games more than one inning at a time because you miss it so much,” he said. “You miss the competitive part of it, the camaraderie and things like that, but as time's gone on you learn to appreciate the other side of it and things you missed out on when you were gone like family, friends and being able to enjoy a summer in Maine for the first time in a long time.”
While he is a full-time resident in southern Maine, the Midcoast native has not forgotten his roots as he makes the annual trip to the area to “pass on that knowledge that I've been fortunate enough to have to the kids that might not otherwise be able to get it.”
“To travel down to southern Maine where I live and I do most of my teaching is hard for people and it can be financially difficult,” he said. “But to be able to come up here, provide a clinic and give the information I've been given on a daily basis, it's just feels great to be able to do that.”
As is evident by his ability to teach and relate his baseball knowledge to youngsters, MacDonald could be a prime candidate to land a high school baseball coaching job.
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Matt Kinney, a Bangor High School graduate who spent time with the Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants, recently was named the varsity baseball coach at Hermon High School.
MacDonald, who was a three-sport athlete during his time as a Windjammer, said he is “never going to rule anything out” when it comes to coaching.
“You always think about that,” said MacDonald. “Right now I have a good time doing lessons and clinics and doing that kind of thing. I enjoy that aspect and I certainly enjoy coaching kids things that I've learned. But at the same time I just want to enjoy that time with family, but down the road I would not be opposed to that.”
MacDonald made history in July of 2012 when he became the first Maine-born player to play for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. He had a terrific home debut at Hadlock Field, tossing seven shutout innings in a 7-0 win over Reading, the Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.
He finished the season — and ultimately, as it turns out, his playing career — with the Pawtucket Red Sox.