Toronto Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar has had an interesting road in baseball since being selected late in the 2003 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. He played numerous years in the minors, pitched in the Independent Leagues and has also overcome significant injuries. He recently shared more on his path to the Majors and about himself in an email exchange with me.
After being released from the Padres organization in 2009, Delabar spent the following year working as a substitute teacher and assistant high school baseball coach in Kentucky. “Education is huge,” Delabar said regarding its importance. “Those who believe education ends when school is over are wrong. You constantly have to increase knowledge because the world around us is continually changing, whether it be technology, world news, or even politics.”
Though Delabar was coaching and teaching, he himself learned a thing or two that same year after being introduced to a new training method, led by former MLB pitcher Tom House, that focused on fastball velocity. After completing the program, Delabar’s fastball velocity increased from his pre-injury 87-93 MPH to the upper 90s.
While perseverance, determination and hard work enabled him to become a stronger pitcher, Delabar also admitted that his fortitude enabled him to overcome each injury. “Being hard-headed has helped,” he said. “Like many others that have had injuries, every single player has to dig a little deeper to get back to where they were originally or even better than before.”
Healthy and with increased velocity, Delabar now calls Toronto home after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners at the 2012 trade deadline. This past offseason brought many high expectations to the team and the fan base. When asked about the atmosphere playing in Canada, Delabar explained, “The Rogers Centre is like a volcano ready to erupt. The fans in Toronto have been waiting a while for a contending team to come back to the city. With such a long playoff absence, you could understand how impatient fans can be when the team doesn't play well, but if they weren't upset, you wouldn't see the passion they have for their sports teams.”
In conclusion, Delabar admitted some things that few Blue Jays fans know about him. “I love rock music and I absolutely love singing karaoke.” If you think that didn’t shock you enough, Delabar also informed me of his secret talent: “I’m Spider-Man,” he said.
What does your ‘Spidey Sense’ tell you about Delabar? Comment below.