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Bradley Hilltopics

Spring 2009 • Volume 15, Issue 2  

Campus View

Home sweet home | SHOUSE '90 signs with Tampa Bay Rays | Historic BU baseball slideshow

 

SHOUSE ’90 signs with Tampa Bay Rays

By JUSTIN PHELPS ’05

In his 11th year in major league baseball, BRIAN SHOUSE ’90 has appeared in at least 50 games in seven consecutive seasons. He joined Tampa Bay in February. (Tampa Bay Rays / Skip Milos)

 

Baseball historical marker on Olin Quad

Tampa Bay pitcher BRIAN SHOUSE ’90 works out at Bradley during the offseason. He lives in Washington with his wife TRISHA WHITTAKER SHOUSE ’90 and their three children.

BRIAN SHOUSE ’90 enters his 19th season in professional baseball with a challenge. That’s nothing new for the 5-foot-11, 180-pound left-handed pitcher.

Now, seven years after reworking his throwing motion to “reinvent himself,” Shouse has joined the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays at age 40. “People would tell me I couldn’t do something; I wanted to prove them wrong,” Shouse said. “That was a lot of my motivation throughout my career. I set high goals, but that drives me — a good challenge. And I’m going to have a challenge this year being 40 and still pitching, but I’ll enjoy it.”

In a profession where players are often evaluated on two subjects — throwing hard and throwing strikes — he has maintained his place in the Majors despite losing velocity on his pitches after he changed his throwing motion from overhand to sidearm seven years ago. “I’m able to get more movement and sink,” he said. “My job is to come in and get a ground ball for a double play. It really saved my career. Who would have thought that at age 33 that I’d get seven more years in the big leagues? It was a blessing. And it feels like it has been easier on my arm.”

Shouse credits longtime Bradley baseball coach Dewey Kalmer for preparing him for the Majors. Shouse came to Bradley because Kalmer offered him a scholarship and the chance to pitch as a freshman. “I was eager to get the ball and pitch,” said Shouse, who majored in education. What he also learned was how to survive in pro baseball.

“What was great about Bradley was that Dewey ran the program in a sense of how a professional program is run,” Shouse said. “You have to do a lot of it on your own.” Kalmer gave players guidelines and expected them to maintain their own workout regiment. “There was nobody there to babysit you and tell you what to do,” Shouse said. “You had to do it. If you didn’t, you’d be left behind. That was great. It developed me into the person I am, my work ethic, my character, what I expect from myself.”

ESPN lauded Tampa Bay for signing Shouse in February. The network reported he would be a welcome addition because of the quality left-handed batters in the AL East, the Rays’ division. Shouse is excited to be reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, who suggested and helped Shouse rework his throwing motion.

The former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher had his first experience with the playoffs last season. He compared it to a Bradley-Illinois State basketball game. “When you go, there’s the intensity and hype,” he said. “You’re always on the edge of your seat for every basket and play. That’s kind of how it was, but magnified even more. You’ve got butterflies, your heart is pounding, and you’re wondering how guys can handle the pressure. Then you wonder, ‘If I get in there, how am I going to handle it?’ To have 45,000 fans backing you up, screaming, living on every pitch, it’s indescribable. Unless you’ve actually experienced it or have been there, you really don’t know. It’s breathtaking.”

 

Home sweet home | SHOUSE '90 signs with Tampa Bay Rays | Historic BU baseball slideshow