By Alexandra Molnar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Playing baseball with a pro-style set up – six days a week for nine weeks – would certainly be tiring for some athletes. But not for Charlie Butler. Not when your dream is to play in the major leagues.
Butler, a Marlborough native, just finished his first season pitching for the Worcester Bravehearts. The 56-game season ended with the Bravehearts winning the championship in their inaugural season.
Now a junior at the University of Maine, Orono, Butler has been playing baseball since he was 8 years old.
“I really love everything about [baseball],” Butler said.
His sports career started with hockey, since it was popular in his family (one of his cousins plays in the National Hockey League), but switched to baseball which he much preferred.
As the pitcher for the University of Maine Black Bears, Butler keeps up with his game over the summer. His college coach gave him two options: return to the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), for which Butler pitched for the Sanford Mainers last year, or play with the Bravehearts. Butler chose the Bravehearts which he called a “great fit.”
The Bravehearts is a franchise of Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) which consists of 10 teams in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
“[You] can's beat it,” Butler said about playing for the Bravehearts. “It's a great atmosphere.”
Butler's extremely focused and mature attitude has served him well. He cites his biggest achievement as being accepted at the University of Maine, which had been his dream since age 12. When he was younger, Butler played with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and had a coach who played baseball for the University of Maine and then for the Red Sox for one season. So when Butler had the opportunity to play at the University of Maine, “it was like a dream come true,” he said.
Playing collegiate-level baseball is a full-year commitment, with the season starting one week after school commences and continuing with individual workouts through the winter.
Though Butler dreams of playing in the major leagues, he is very focused on the present.
“I just take it one thing at a time, one day at a time,” he said.
He continuously sets goals for himself, including during the summer. He is currently focused on working out every week, eating healthfully, and “get[ing] better and stronger everyday” in order to get a starting role.
Despite his dedication to baseball, Butler takes time to enjoy other hobbies, including fishing, four-wheeling, and spending time with his family and friends. His friends describe him as “funny” and “crazy sometimes.”
“Crazy in a good way,” Butler said with a laugh.
In addition to Butler's goal to play Major League Baseball, Butler aspires to continue being involved with sports in his career. He is studying kinesiology, physical education and administration and is interested in pursuing a career as an athletic director or a physical education teacher. He is also interested in law enforcement.
Butler's positive attitude and ability to recognize what makes him successful helps him overcome what he finds to be the most challenging aspect of baseball: the mental part.
“Baseball is mentally challenging. So if you have a couple [of] bad outings, staying positive, knowing that the next time you go you'se going to get another shot, you'se going to do [well] again,” Butler said.
The positivity that Butler finds not only comes from his teammates and coaches, but from within himself.
“Some days you have to personally tell yourself “I's going to be okay,”” Butler said.
Butler does not just talk about the importance of a positive attitude; he lives it. As a pitcher for the Black Bears and for the Bravehearts, Butler wrote two messages on his hat that he tells himself every time he takes the field: “prove people wrong” and “be your best self.”
“There's always going to be people that tell you “you can's do something” or “you'se never going to make it.” Believe in yourself. Whatever you do, believe you can do it, because if you don's believe you can do it, you'se not going to be able to do it,” Butler said.
Butler carries these philosophies into other parts of his life. Butler emphasizes: “Stay positive, have fun, and work hard. You get what you work for.”
If Butler is rewarded for his hard work, then he may achieve his dream of playing in the major leagues. His favorite team is the Red Sox, but “any team I's be happy to play for,” Butler said.