We told you back in March about Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman and his father, Earl, who is the true definition of a tank. Marcus gets the ball today in what is a must-win in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Rangers and Earl, a police detective on Long Island, is a nervous mess, according to CBC. “I’m always nervous,” Stroman told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway today. “You know people were comparing me to Derek Jeter’s dad but Jeter was at it 20 years … I don’t know how to relax yet.”
The Blue Jays haven’t won a playoff game since 1993 when Alomar, Carter, Rickey Henderson and Molitor beat the Phillies in six games. No pressure at all for 23-year-old Stroman who has pitched in only 30 career MLB games and had knee surgery in March, limiting him to only four starts this year.
That said, it’s not like Marcus hasn’t dealt with pressure in his life. Earl instilled some serious discipline at an early age.
When he was in the fifth grade in Medford, Long Island, Stroman’s parents separated and his father, Earl, a Suffolk County detective, moved to a house about a mile away. Stroman already had a strained relationship with his father, who made him run parachute sprints up hills and push weighted sleds from the time he was six years old. Stroman hated it. Earl would make his son read the newspaper regularly and gave him reading comprehension tests based on what was in the news. If Stroman got any answers wrong he’d have to start over again. Sometimes, Earl would convene full-on living-room sparring contests between Stroman and his older sister, Sabria, when they were both in karate.
“My dad pushed me to the edge. It was hard. It really took a lot out of me,” Stroman says. “But that’s how my dad’s wired. He wanted to be successful in life and he wanted the same for his kids. He hated failure. If I ever failed at something there was no discussion—it was back to the batting cage or back to working out.”
Marcus eventually went to Duke, was drafted 22nd overall by the Blue Jays and he went back to school this spring while recovering from his knee surgery to finish his degree.
He posted this on Instagram for Father’s Day: “Words can’t describe how important this man is in my life. Thank you for everything. Without your presence, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. Love you pops!”
And now Stroman gets the ball against the Rangers with everything on the line. Earl will be there.