Arguably one of the most intimidating aspects of baseball is a pitcher’s daunting stare-down. Standing just 60 feet away, the pitcher controls the batters’ mind in every facet imaginable. From the likes of Jonathan Papelbon to Andy Pettitte to Bob Gibson, these pitchers crafted the art of the stare-down where it became a bigger menace to hitters than Dennis was to Mr. Wilson. The Blue Jays now have their own stare-down pitcher, although this one is more nontraditional than the aforementioned stalwarts.
Meet non-drafted free agent signee Corey Gorman, a left-handed pitcher from The University of Scranton who was signed by the Blue Jays just moments after the 2013 First-Year Player Draft ended. The 6’0”, 185-pound lefty from Wilkes-Barre, Pa. hardly presents a physical threat. However, once he is on the mound, the stare-down affect takes full course.
Gorman, who has been clocked at 94 MPH, peeks just centimeters over his glove when taking signs from the catcher and unintentionally dons a slightly sideways hat. While his hat tilt is not quite as exaggerated as Fernando Rodney’s, it does make a statement to opponents.
Going into his junior year, Gorman knew there was a chance of being drafted. After being invited to many MLB workouts the summer before his senior year, he convinced scouts he was worth the trip to Scranton, Pa. to watch him pitch his senior season.
The 2013 Landmark Conference Pitcher of the Year is coming off his best season for the Scranton Royals, when he boasted a 3.55 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings in 10 starts, helping his team reach the conference championship game. In his four years, Gorman compiled 227 strikeouts, the most on record at Scranton.
Gorman says he never would have even had the chance for an opportunity in professional baseball if it wasn't for the unending support from his family.
“They knew how much this meant to me, so they would do whatever it took to make this happen, between driving me to workouts when I didn't have a car, and calling friends who had connections with scouts,” Gorman says. “The support from them is more than I could have ever asked for.”
After not hearing Corey’s name called in the 40 rounds, his brother Joe quickly called Corey to offer some condolences, but little did he know those condolences would turn into congratulations.
“Right after the draft, my brother called literally seconds after I got off the phone with Toronto to console me after not getting drafted,” Gorman says. “Nobody knew about the news so he was the first person I told and then I told my parents and close friends and coaches.”
After graduating from Scranton in May with an MBA, Gorman had just started a job at First Liberty Bank as a Credit Analyst in Olyphant, Pa. Although he was only working there for a week, he says they were very supportive that he was pursuing his dream.
“I feel bad that they found out through my local newspaper that I signed and the Monday that I had to clean out my cubicle was pretty awkward. Luckily they were nice about it, congratulated me and wished me luck,” Gorman says.
While Gorman is happy to have the chance to play professional baseball, he knows he still has a lot of development ahead.
“I would like to improve my velocity, location, consistency, my composure on the mound, my understanding of the game, my fielding, etc. Everything could use work and that’s what I plan on doing,” Gorman says.
Despite growing up just two hours north of Philadelphia, Gorman’s favorite team was the Braves and his favorite player was Chipper Jones. Gorman even wore number 10 in every sport until college, where the number was worn by his head coach Mike Bartoletti, who is confident Gorman has all the potential to succeed.
“Corey has all the physical tools and I believe his better days are ahead of him,” Bartoletti says. “He has a huge upside.”
Gorman’s Scranton teammates couldn't be more proud of him and senior catcher Mike Amaturo is happy the Blue Jays signed him.
“He’s got a lot of talent. Not too many lefties can sit in the low 90’s with a power slider. I’m glad Toronto gave him a shot at professional ball,” Amaturo says. “I really think he’s got a chance to move up the ranks in the Blue Jays system.”
Currently, Gorman is on the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, which is comprised of roughly 35 players, 16 of which are pitchers. The season consists of six games a week, and runs until the end of August. The Rookie league team plays its home games at Bobby Mattick Training Center at Englebert Complex in Dunedin, Fla. He got his first win in the season opener against the GCL Phillies, when he pitched 1.2 innings allowing no hits.
In addition to working on his game and starting his professional career, Gorman is also enjoying being around many pro players who are rehabbing in Florida, such as Jose Reyes, Brett Lawrie and Kyle Drabek.
When Blue Jays scout Bobby Gandolfo informed Gorman that the Blue Jays were going to sign him, Corey was eating his beloved Chick-fil-A and watching the movie Old School, just like a regular college kid would do.
Now he is a professional ball player chasing a lifelong dream. The path ahead for Gorman is unsure, but for this future stare-down intimidator, he is going to cherish every moment and give 110 percent.
“It’s a humbling experience to be honest. I never would've thought that I would receive so much support,” Gorman says. “It’s awesome and I couldn't be more grateful.”
Eddie Ravert is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained first-hand.