BRISTOL - The Bristol Blues pitchers have excelled so far this season and a big part of that has been Blues pitching coach Jordie Scheiner.
Now in his first full season as the Blues’ pitching coach, Scheiner first earned the title last season after then-manager Barry Lyons was let go and current manager Pat Riley was promoted. Scheiner has enjoyed getting to spend an entire season with the team this summer.
“It’s good to be back for a full season,” he said. “It was nice to come in at the end of last season and help out as much as I could but it’s good to start fresh with a great group of ball players. Obviously, I work specifically with the pitchers but I’ve definitely gotten to know all the guys just as a team. It’s definitely a good experience.”
Scheiner has been playing baseball for a long time and was recently playing in the Futures League and also professional ball in the Atlantic League and the Canadian-American League. While he is enjoying his role as a coach now, Scheiner did not envision this path for himself even a year ago.
“At the beginning of last season, I wouldn’t have really believed it because, at that time, I was a player,” he said. “I didn’t think at all that I’d like coaching as much as I do now. I’m very fortunate to have kind of fallen into that occupation.”
Pitching has been a forte for the Blues, both this season and in the team’s short history, and, even though there is the occasional off-night, Scheiner stays confident in the staff as a whole.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, whether it’s losing guys and sometimes guys not having their best stuff, but I definitely believe that we do have a solid staff,” he said. “I’m excited to see what happens in the next couple weeks.”
The Blues pitchers are all either pitching in college or are preparing to make the jump from high school so they are all very talented but there is one aspect that Scheiner has really tried to instill in these young slingers.
“It’s just keeping the ball low,” Scheiner said. “When you start to play at a different level, guys are going to be able to pick up on pitches that are above the knees and they are going to hit them no matter if they’re on the outside corner or inside corner. You need to keep the ball low and that’s what I’ve been working on with guys here.”
Working with Riley has been fun for Scheiner, partly because of their similarities and past history on the diamond.
“It’s been great fun,” he said. “Pat is similar in age to me so we have that to get along with. We actually played against each other in college [in] a school rivalry so it’s good to come together and coach together. I’ve definitely had a fun time with Pat.”
While Scheiner has enjoyed being part of the Blues coaching staff and team, he has been a welcome presence on the field and in the locker room.
“I’m very confident in his judgement and his coaching ability,” Riley said. “I’m extremely happy that he’s alongside us and he’s here. The guys appreciate what he does [and] I appreciate what he does.”
Scheiner also has another connection to the Blues through his past. His father, Elliot Scheiner, is one of the owners of the Bristol FCBL team.
“Obviously, my father being one of the owners of the Blues definitely kind of keeps my excitement up with this team and definitely helps the love for baseball and love for the team,” Jordie said.
The feeling has been mutual for Elliot, who says he leaves the on-field stuff to Jordie and Riley as he trusts their abilities and judgement.
“For me, it’s been great,” Elliot said. “Having my son involved as pitching coach is great. Just being here and doing what he wants to do. He played three years of professional ball so he still loves it just as much.”
The Blues have hit a bit of a lull in the season, unable to string multiple wins together. But Jordie Scheiner continues to believe in the team, as the rest of the organization does, and hopes to be able to help lead the players out of the slump.
“The guys know that we have a solid team,” he said. “Everyone kind of believes in the Bristol Blues. I would say keeping the heads up and making them stay positive is kind of helping us through this rough patch.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org