Maturity key to McVay’s success

Photo by: Jonathan Segal
Steven Rowell/ Contributing Writer
Less than a week ago, Mason McVay’s dream became a reality. On June 6, the San Francisco Giants selected the left-hander from FIU in the 26th round of the MLB First-Year Player draft.
The moment McVay realized he had gotten drafted he was with his girlfriend.  He got a call from his father that he had been drafted and that the phone was blowing up with calls and text messages about the news.
While McVay has now made it to the professional level, it took hard work and maturity to get to this point. One person that McVay credits for his upbringing in his baseball career is his father, Michael McVay.
“Without him, it wouldn’t have happened. He made it fun. He helped me remember it is just a game. He would throw in a couple jokes here and there when I’m struggling or frustrated, “ McVay said.
From being his coach in the Little Leagues to his pitching coach when he was a starter at Miami Killian Senior High School, McVay’s dad was always at his side.
 McVay earned Miami Herald First Team All-Miami Dade Honors in 2007 when he posted an 8-5 record with a 1.89 ERA during his junior season at Killian.
After high school, it was time for McVay to make a decision on where he would be playing collegiate baseball. With interest in UF, USF, UM, FSU, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, McVay decided that FIU was the best fit.
“I wanted to play somewhere close to home, so I could be close to my family. I grew up a UM fan, but coach [Turtle] Thomas is a good recruiter, and at FIU it just felt right,” McVay said.
Once McVay became a Panther, head coach Thomas helped McVay become a more mature player.
“The coaching staff helped me a lot with the mental side. The strength coach would push us until we couldn’t take it anymore. Coach Thomas taught me how to get through the pressure barrier. He kept reminding me that it’s just a game,” McVay said.
After McVay’s freshman year where he appeared in 22 games and had an 0-2 record with an 8.06 ERA in 22 and 1/3 innings, things went south for the left hander. McVay found out that he would have to undergo Tommy John Surgery. It would be the second surgery on his arm, the first procedure done during his senior year in high school. The news devastated him.
“I was distraught, I cried when I found out. I had an amazing recovery. The most painful part was missing all season. It was the season of the [Garrett Wittel’s] hitting streak, and we had a good run in the Sun Belt tournament, and it was painful that I couldn’t be a part of it,” McVay said.
After missing the entire 2010 season McVay was ready to get back into action with a new mentality.
“I was really pumped. Don’t take a game for granted, you never know when your last game is,” he said.
McVay bounced back from the surgery with a record of 1-1 and a 3.56 ERA in 27 games, pitching 30 and 1/3 innings.
Going into his final season, McVay changed from a relief pitcher to a starting pitcher. Not much of a big deal for McVay.
“I wanted to start. [Coach Thomas] told me he wanted me to start, and I started in high school,” he said.
He finished his final season with a record of 2-3 and an ERA of 3.36.
With college in the books, McVay now has his sights set on making it in the big leagues. He is approaching it in a calm and professional way.
“I’m looking forward to the competition, and it’s a business now. Don’t worry too much, and don’t get too high or too low, and just work hard,” the left hander said.
For the left hander, he’s hoping more highs than lows will follow him as his big league journey begins.

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