For Richard Stock, the off-season is all about family. However, his family connections are felt more deeply than most. While many players simply reconnect with their families during the off-season and their return home, Stock’s family is involved in nearly every aspect of his off-season adventures.
Not only does Stock spend his days working at the business owned by his father, he spends his afternoons and evenings working out and training with his older brother, Robert Stock, a pitcher with the Cardinals organization.
When working for his dad, Stock describes the company he owns as small. Stock works in the shipping department, which consists of him, his mom, and one of Stock’s friends. Stocks says he works a half-day before beginning his baseball regimen at his local high school, playing catch with Robert.
During the season, Stock described his bond with his brother as a “symbiotic relationship.” As a catcher, Stock benefits from the position of his older brother.
He said that Robert spends a good portion of their afternoon workout pitching and working his arm, and every third or fourth day Robert throws a bullpen session to the younger Stock. Then, Stock said, Robert throws as much batting practice to Stock as he wants, which Stock describes as “invaluable.”
“I really appreciate his rubber arm,” Stock said of his brother, saying that he much prefers hitting off a real pitcher than relying on a machine. “He throws me around four buckets, and it’s only coming at 60 miles an hour, but still, it’s so much better than a machine. I’m not limited to the soft toss or flips or front toss, he’s actually throwing to me.”
Stock says he also performs some catching drills and works on his footwork during these training sessions. He and Robert work out in their home gym following their skills sessions, which takes them up to family dinner and a quiet evening.
“I usually watch a movie with my family or hang out with buddies [in the evenings],” Stock said. Throughout the off-season, Stock spends time with friends from high school who are still around his hometown of Westlake Village, California, though he also spends time with other players from the Indians organization who live in Southern California, such as Joe Sever.
Despite the time spent with family, Stock says the off-season is a more difficult time of year.
“You have to make your own schedule,” Stock said. “It’s easy to be told what to do. During the off-season, if you want to wake up at one o’clock, you can. But, if you do it one day it’s fine, but you can’t make it a habit . It’s a different challenge.”
“During the season, it’s a grind and you’re doing the same thing every day and all your friends are there going through it with you. It’s a lot harder to make your own schedule.”
Stock said he keeps in touch with a few other players throughout the off-season, especially those he great closest to and lived with throughout his past few seasons in the Indians organization, including Jeremy Lucas and Logan Vick, along with Sever.
“We’ve got a Captains group text and SnapChat group,” Stock laughed.
With the off-season winding down and the 2014 season looming closer, Stock is gearing up for what he hopes is a strong next season.
“Next season is definitely on my mind,” Stock said. “If I take a day off, I feel really bad. It’s definitely in the forefront of my process. I’m not back in school and I don’t really have a real job, so this is my primary focus. It’s not a break; if I take a day off, I don’t feel like I earned it.”
Stock said he is hoping to start the season in Carolina, but really is just looking for playing time at any level.
However, at least for Stock, working hard still means spending time with the people he is away from the most during the season – his family, which he describes as his favorite part of the off-season.
“I bet a lot of kids say they enjoy their home cooked meals, but my family isn’t the most accomplished of cooks, so I can’t say that. And I have a twin bed at home, so it’s not like I can say I have this awesome bed, either,” Stock joked. “I have to say my family [is my favorite thing], hanging out with my brothers and sisters.”
As with all families, though, there are some things that just can’t be remedied and have Stock excited for moving to Goodyear for Spring Training in a few short months.
Said Stock, “I had to share a room with my younger brother last week. I love my family, but I don’t love sharing my room with them.”