By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– For seven seasons, Jerry McMullen split time in the Minor League system with the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Soxs farm systems as well as the Independent League-ranks as a relief pitcher just living that baseball dream that many dream of doing.
And though he didn’t break into the Majors, the lefty McMullen did yield a 15-14 record with seven saves and 292 strikeouts in his career in 323 and one-third innings pitched as he controlled the mound during his time post-collegiate baseball.
About three years ago, McMullen opened Capital City Sports after spending some time in the pharmaceutical field when the fun of the job, which steered him in another direction away from the medical field to more of a coaching and teaching role.
“When the fun went out of what I was doing…it was a good income, it was a good career, but it wasn’t about the money it was about the enjoyment of the job,” said McMullen. “I just didn’t have the drive anymore and asking my wife, asking her if she can support our family. I was thinking three-or-four months to get it going and get it operational.”
McMullen’s wife Molly agreed and McMullen went and started to write the Business Plan for the facility, getting the loan and then piecing it all together. But the place holds even more of a reason for him outside of a new career path as he brings up his childhood.
“The place has a bigger meaning to it, it’s about the kids. I didn’t have that when I was growing up. My dad wasn’t part of my baseball, sports…football, wrestling up until after my sixth grade (year),” starts McMullen.
McMullen’s dad battled alcoholism and after being hit by a vehicle, McMullen’s dad took the route of sobriety and it gave McMullen a new outlook of his own situation.
“After that point, he chose not to drink anymore and not have that being his part of his life and I realize at that point I realize he could read and he could do math like everyone else’s parents,” smiled McMullen. “He just didn’t choose to spend the time with me and once he started to show up to my fields and games, support and cheering me on. Working with me, playing catch, helping me with my homework, that’s when my career path instantly changed.”
McMullen’s effort in his schoolwork and sports changed and McMullen tries to relate to the kids with a laid back environment as he jokes around with his 4pm client. McMullen now helps pitchers go through what they need to work on.
“I work with a lot of the pitchers surrounding colleges and getting younger kids up to and utilize and have them maximize their potential of their body,” said McMullen. “Understanding to use their bottom half and upper half and really that’s what we’re after, the ability to not to say, ‘you got a good swing going’ or ‘you look like you’re throwing harder’. There’s the ability here to validate that information. Bat speed, radar on kids throwing, that’s not what I’m about.
“It’s about control and you can have the worse mechanics, but still have good control and visa versa. Everyone has their strengths and styles.”
McMullen is joined by:
Alexa Peterson, a former South Salem and University of Oregon Softball Shortstop and played in the NPF in 2014. Playing four seasons Professionally.
Ricky Ward, a former San Francisco Giants Minor Leaguer and hitting coach.
Sam Kirby, who spent three years as a hitting coach at Lane Community College and four-years at Western Oregon University as a Catching and hitting instructor. Kirby was the Head Coach for the Niagara Power Baseball Club in Niagara Falls, NY.
All three help out with hitting at the facility while McMullen focuses on pitching. Kirby uses an iPad to help athletes with bat speed, attack angles, etc. Ward also does too offer fielding work as well.
For a membership it’s a 12-month commitment that is 60 dollars a month and you can rent a cage through the member log-in. For more information on Capital City Sports, visit: https://ccssalem.com/