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Catch and A, Pt. 2: Baldwin discusses problem solving, his journey from Austin to Yale

by Jesse Dougherty
Friday, July 25, 2014

Catch and A, Pt. 2: Baldwin discusses problem solving, his journey from Austin to Yale

Robert Baldwin (Yale) was, as he puts it, as close as you can get to taking the LSATs. With aspirations to eventually attend law school the catcher was scheduled to take the test in early June and knew that he’d be traveling to play in Chatham around the same time. Then the team called him and told him he had to fly up to make it to the first practice, and Baldwin decided he could take the test at a later date. 

It wasn’t as hard as a decision as one may think — the opportunity to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League against a test that will never go away. Baldwin quickly got to the Anglers, and he’s savored every moment since. Here’s what he said about being a catcher and his road to the country's premier summer league. 

Robert Baldwin (Yale) is hitting .289 for the Anglers this summer. 

Jesse Dougherty: A Texan at Yale, who stars on the baseball team with law school aspirations. Do people ever look at you funny when you tell them all of that'

Robert Baldwin: It’s definitely a lot of things but I don’t see it as too different. My whole life school and sports have been connected, and I was around people like that. Baseball was always important but I always wanted to do well in school and go to a good college. My parents gave me that mindset at a young age. 

J.D.: Now you come from Westlake High School in Austin where NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Nick Foles went. How did you decide on baseball in such a football-savvy area'

R.B.: I played football and was a tight end in middle school. I liked it a lot, not ever as much as baseball, but I definitely thought I was going to try and play in high school. It’s just what everyone did and it seemed normal to do the same. But there was one game when I was facing a kid that would go on to play in college and we were just banging away every snap, just hitting each other at the line. When I got in the car on the way home I told my dad I had a really bad headache, and he kind of just guided me right there to the smart decision that baseball was better. From there I zoned in on baseball and really focused on it to make it my sport.

J.D.: So hypothetically take away that one game, could football have been your future instead'

R.B.: I don’t think so. I was always more partial to baseball and I love catching. I like calling the game and being the field general. Baseball has so many small things that a sport like football doesn’t, and I enjoy all of that so much. 

J.D.: What are you studying at Yale'

R.B.: Political science with a focus in energy studies.

J.D.: There has to be a lot of problem solving in political science and energy studies, much like baseball. Do you make a connection'

R.B.: There are definitely some similarities. A lot of political science in school is free response stuff. So you have a thesis to a question in politics and then you work to prove it with your response, giving your points and reasoning of why what you’re saying is right. Then you have baseball and there’s some of that. Like if I’m calling a certain pitch in a 2-1 count, I have to really believe that that is what should be thrown. Like defending a thesis or answer to a question, I have to, in my head, back up why I’m calling a pitch or swinging at a certain pitch. 

J.D.: From where I’m sitting, it sounds like you think a lot on the field. That true'

R.B.: I don’t think I’m thinking that much more than anyone else. Catcher is a special position in that you have to always be thinking about situations and what is going on in the game, maybe not just in one at-bat. Like I said, I really like all that. The strategy stuff. I work out at a place in Texas in the summer where a lot of pro athletes go. I got to catch a Homer Bailey bullpen session there once and it helped me see how much goes into every pitch. Here’s a guy who has made it big and I learned a lot from working out with him. 

J.D.: As far as you playing at Yale, is there any sort of pipeline from Westlake to Ivy League athletics'

R.B.: Maybe more of one than you’d think. We had some swimmers and some rowers go to Ivy League schools in the past few years so I don’t think I’m any kind of first or anything. It’s a good academic school and good sports, so people make the trip. 

J.D.: How about Westlake baseball to Yale baseball'

R.B.: You know (pause), I think I may be the first to do that.