Pittsburgh Pirates: A Day in the Life of a Minor Leaguer With Chase Murray

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In the 15th installment of ‘A Day in the Life of a Minor Leaguer,’ I had the opportunity to speak with the Pittsburgh Pirates 13th round pick in 2019 – Chase Murray. Chase is a fantastic individual who is a man of faith and loves this game we call baseball.

Over the past two weeks and change, I’ve been blessed to be able to talk to more than a dozen Pittsburgh Pirates prospects. I have gotten the opportunity to get to know them not just as players, but as individuals.

As fans, we never see what players go through on a daily basis, especially in the minors. More importantly, we never know how they deal with things mentally.

Next up in ‘A Day in the Life of a Minor Leaguer’ is Chase Murray. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected the outfielder in the 13th round of last summer’s draft. This led to the left-handed hitter making his professional debut last summer for the Bristol Pirates.

As I mentioned, most fans don’t know these players personally. To fully understand who Chase Murray is I asked him what he wants the fans to know about him and who he is as an individual.

“I’m a Christian as well as a hardworking leader. I love baseball, movies, PS4, and now I’ve gotten into some Twitch streaming.” For those of you who love Call of Duty, be sure to follow Murray on Twitch, I hear he’s pretty good in the Gulags.

Most leaders and determined individuals have to put the time and effort into their craft no matter what they do. You could just sense the blue collar, nose to the grindstone mentality Murray had in his tone, which explains perfectly why he used “Hardworking” for the one word description he used for himself.

Baseball is a beautiful game, and inspirations come from many places in life. I wanted to know who or what inspired Murray to play this game we love so much.

“When I was three years old I played on my brother’s five year old team, and I was out there in diapers. My parents allowed me to be myself and chase whatever I wanted to do. I played all sports growing up, but ultimately I always came back to baseball and the video games as well and trying to emulate the player’s stances.”

Murray and I continued talking about his childhood. He said that when he was 12 he started to take things seriously, and he hit 40 home runs that year. I jokingly referenced his 40 home runs to the Little League legend “Big Al,” who was the “Dingers” king. You could genuinely tell that Murray has a deep love for this game.

We turned the conversation to coaches, and if there were any imparticular who impacted his life immensely.

“Other than my dad, he coached me growing up until I was right around 12. A man by the name of Brian Conley, who played in the Reds organization and his son, has been one of my best friends my entire life who plays at Texas Tech right now. He instilled in me how to act on the baseball field as well as off it.”

Previously, Murray mentioned a love for playing video games, and, more specifically, baseball games. I wanted to know if there were any specific players he aspired to be.

“When I was younger, it was Ken Griffey Jr. because he was with the Reds when I was growing up. He was someone I tried to emulate in my travel ball teams and when I would play whiffle ball. When I was 12, I was kind of ahead of my time with this, but I would look up Bryce Harper when he was still in high school. I would take pieces of everyone’s game and tried to make it my own. When I got to high school, I had to narrow it down and figure out how I moved and tried to compare them to how other players moved.”

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Murray continued to talk about how our generation is lucky with the resources we have nowadays with youtube and other advanced things. “This day and age, I think we are visual learners, and with people able to go online and look at that stuff, it makes it easier for us.” There is no doubt how easier it is to obtain the knowledge needed to succeed or just get that competitive edge.

Everyone has fond memories within their life and especially in sports. I wanted to know if Murray would reveal his special memory with me in regards to baseball.

“It was my sophomore year I had just committed to Georgia Tech at 15 years old. A target was on my back a bit, and I started off the year slow. At some point, things started to turn around, and my favorite memory was when we one to go to the state final four. I remember doing the dogpile, and it was so much fun.”

Above, Murray mentioned how he committed to Georgia Tech at a young age. So, I wanted to know what made the Pittsburgh Pirates prospect want to leave the comforts of home in Cincinnati to Georgia Tech.

“I had just begun the recruiting process after Christmas break in my sophomore year. The first call I ever made was to Brian Prince of Georgia Tech. We were talking on the phone, and we just hit it off immediately. I fell in love even more after I met coach Hall and I met the legend. I was intimidated to talk to him at first because I was a 15 year old kid, but I felt at home when I sat down in that chair. Then I said to my mom and dad I want to go here even though I had a couple other visits left to go to.”

Mental strength is a massive part in an athlete’s life. We as fans never see this, and I sound like a broken record, but this needs to be talked about more. So I asked Murray how important mental strength is for him.

“I think it’s just as important as the physical part of the game. I didn’t learn that until my freshman year of college. Before I could skate by without it in high school, then in my Freshman year, I learned they don’t have to throw a fastball every time, and you have to make your adjustments. I remember the North Carolina series; they didn’t throw me any fastballs, and I went hitless in the series. I was in the dugout after the Sunday game I told coach Prince I let everyone down and he told me you have to have a broader perspective it’s just one series and let’s learn from it.”

Murray continued, “I needed it again in my junior year I had got hurt and wasn’t able to play my whole junior year. I then had to be a mental crutch for the guys, and I had to be a good teammate, and then I saw from a third person perspective how important it was to have a positive mindset is. I tried to pick people up even though I was kind of worried about the draft because I didn’t know what would happen due to my injury. It is important to pick your teammates up because if you come in with a negative mindset, you’re already at a disadvantage.”

Murray mentioned the draft previously, and he ultimately was drafted in the 13th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates last year. I wanted to know what it was like hearing his name called last year.

“Going into the draft last year, I was thinking I was going to get picked in the third to the 7th round, and then I tear my right oblique, and I didn’t get the chance to play my junior year again. Then during the draft, I get the call, and they asked if I was healthy, and I said yes, and then he continued to say we are going to get you early day three.”

We continued to talk about how getting drafted later put a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He mentioned how the odds of making it to the majors between a fifth and 20th round pick are around the same. Murray said that the Pittsburgh Pirates taking a chance on him was a good sign and that God put him with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a reason.

As a man of faith, he mentioned John 13:7, “Jesus replied, you don’t know what I’m doing now, but later you will understand.” Being picked in the later round allows him to relax and play the game he loves without pressure.

The Pittsburgh Pirates seemed to draft some essential needs last year in the draft. I wanted to know what made Murray who he is and what made him unique from the rest.

“First off every guy I got to work with, I love all of them, and they are all phenomenal players, and it’s great to work out there with guys that talented because it makes you even better. As far as my game, I’m a pure hitter with some power and can run. I just now figured out I have an arm with being taught how to throw again. I realized I could be a five tool guy, and it’s got me excited.”

Every player is unique, and they take away certain things after their first year of pro ball. I wanted to know what was the main thing Murray learned in his first year in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

“You probably hear this a lot, but you learn in pro ball it’s an everyday thing. In college, you have Monday, Wednesday, Thursday to get yourself right, and then you go into another game. In pro ball, you show up every day and do it all over again. When you’re going good, it’s great because you’re getting a hit every day, but when you’re going bad, you have to find a way to get back. So what I took away was trying to have a new mindset each day and act like each day is a new season.”

In Bristol, there were several talking points between skipper Mattison and hitting coach Prieto with Murray, but I wanted to know what the main thing what they wanted him to work on. “They wanted me to work just on the mind having a fresh mindset every day because I came into the summer extremely frustrated with how my junior year went. They knew I need a little extra love with the mind. They said we’re going to stick you in centerfield, and we’re going to have a great summer and don’t put too much pressure on yourself; just love the game again. Towards the end of the summer, I started feeling good again and felt like Chase Murray, and it felt great.”

We continued to chat about how the Pittsburgh Pirates organization hammers home the mental side of the game in every league and level. Pro ball takes a toll on players mentally, and it is incredible how the Pirates are heralded as one of the best in the league when taking care of a player’s mind.

Murray mentioned how they placed him in center field mostly, but I noticed that he played in left field as well. So, I wanted to know where he felt comfortable playing the most.

“I’ll play all three in the outfield. Truly I am comfortable anywhere I can move around and play wherever they want me to play.” That is the perfect mindset for a player to have and want to be in the line up every day if that means they can play.

During this extended off-season, I wanted to know if there was anything specific he was working on. “I’ve been working on treating my body right. I’m trying not just to work on keeping my weight but keeping right. With my swing, I’ve been texting with Kieran Mattison a lot about a specific video that I saw with Corey Dickerson. That was THE answer for me just because when I get going, sometimes I get myself in a habit drifting towards the ball because I want to go get it. What I saw in the video is if I throw my foot back foot towards the catcher and dig my heel, I’m forced to sit back on my hip and not have that glide.”

When it comes to careers, father time is undefeated, and eventually, everyone has to retire at some point. So I asked Murray what he wanted to do once he hung up his cleats and called it a career. “I have a passion for business. Fortunately for me, I went to a school that is one of the top ten schools for business. Georgia Tech is very prestigious, and I’m going to go back when baseball is done for me; hopefully, it isn’t anytime soon, but go back and finish my degree and potentially coach a little while I’m there.”

My next question was a little hypothetical, and it too dealt with the future and when Murray decided to hang up the bat and glove. I wanted to know when it’s all said and done, and there was a book made about him what would he want people to take away from that book about his career.

“I would say a guy who put a smile on everyone’s face, a great teammate, and one of the best competitors they knew. I want them to know I gave it all with what God has given me and gave back to the community around him and spread the word of Christ.”

Murray previously talked about his diet and taking care of his body, but my last question for him was what is his favorite food on the road. “My first thing when I get to the hotel is I look for an Applebees if the city doesn’t have an Applebees we are going Chipotle or Chick-Fil-A.” Sorry, Pittsburgh Pirates dietitians, my man loves his restaurants.

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If any of you are reading this and are planning on going to Cincinnati once this virus is handled, Murray has you covered with local eateries to check out as well. “Go to Skyline Chili, get two conies, and a threeway.”

Overall, Murray is a wonderful person and a hell of a ballplayer as well. If and when there is a season, I can’t wait to see him in the batter’s box once again.

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