Saturday, Jan 31, 2015
Stone Devoted to Miners Success
MARION -- You probably don't know his name.
You usually only see him when something bad happens.
But without him, the Southern Illinois Miners wouldn't be the same.
"We don't survive without Chris Stone, not from day number one," Miners manager Mike Pinto said.
Chris Stone is the only athletic trainer the team has ever known. After finishing grad school at SIU in 2007, the Arkansas native landed a job with the Miners.
"They approached me and asked if I was interested and I said, 'Sure, why not?'"
Stone has played a big part in the Miners success the last six years, helping players stay in shape and rehabbing those who get hurt. But injuries have made it tough for the team to make it past the first round of the playoffs. That's why Stone spent the off-season coming up with a plan to keep his players on the field.
"We really looked in the mirror and wanted to find out what we could change, how we could be better, how we could prepare our guys for the long season," Stone said. "I did a lot of research with different strength coaches across the country and developed a program that I thought would work well for baseball."
On top of the players daily routine of stretching, throwing and taking batting practice, they now have to complete individualized workout programs specifically designed by Stone. Most days it includes running, agility drills and lifting.
"The strength and conditioning program we're on right now is unparalleled, the best in this league," Pinto added.
"Stoney is obviously going beyond the call of duty to help us achieve our dreams," Miners pitcher David Harden said. "Not just to win the championship but he knows that every one of us wants to make it to the next level."
Just like the players, Stone wants to advance his career as well. Soon he'll leave to team and head back to school to become a physician's assistant. The only thing holding him back is the desire to finish what he started, and finally win a Frontier League Championship.
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Humidity: 80 %