By Jay Cohen – AP Baseball Writer
CHICAGO (Associated Press) — When Mike Seander started making music long ago, he used his apartment closet as a makeshift recording studio. There was a cheap mic and some towels hung for soundproofing.
Seander had no idea where it was going, but a supportive friend, a fellow pitcher on the Duke University baseball team named Marcus Stroman, backed him up.
“He was actually the first person to hear it and was like, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good at this,'” Saider said. “I remember him being a fan… Looking back, I think he gave me a kind of confidence when I had no idea what I was doing.”
As Strowman enjoyed major league success, his friendship with Theander (stage name Mike) deepened over the years. — he continued to evolve with what he describes as a hybrid of hip-hop and country. Strowman, 32, made his second All-Star Game appearance of the year, while Ceander, 34, played live shows and working on another album.
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“He’s one of my best friends,” Strowman said. “My circle is very small.
Strowman could be one of the strongest weapons in the market ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline, but the Cubs continue to languish on the edge of playoff contention. Chicago (48-51) won 3 of 4 games against St. Louis in the last series and fell back to 5 and a half games in the National League wild card fight after Sunday’s game.
Strowman has started 21 games this year, going 10-7 with a 3.09 ERA. The right-hander, who could become a free agent after this season, could make his third and final start with a major league team Wednesday night against the crosstown White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“I love being a Cub,” Stroman said after pitching six effective innings in a 10-4 win against Boston on July 15. “But from what I’ve been through, there are times when I have to keep my distance. A lot of it is out of my control, and no matter how much I love it, it might be gone tomorrow when I wake up.”
Part of the bond between Strowman and Theander is based on their understanding of two unique professions and the mental and emotional tolls that come with each. They share a friendship-enhanced mindset that helps each to overcome life’s successes and challenges.
“There are many examples of him saying what I wanted to hear, or vice versa,” said Seander, who started his career under the stage name Mike Studd. “When he was named to the All-Star team this year, I sent him a message to remind him of the impact he had on my life. Seeing someone continuously do, keep striving, keep striving to be better as a person, as a player, is a real source of inspiration.”
The first time Seander and Strowman met was when Seander hosted him on a recruiting trip to Duke. Theander is from Cranston, Rhode Island, and Strowman is from Medford, New York, so they had East Coast ties. They were basketball players too.
Seander began working on music in earnest after returning from Tommy John surgery. Strowman has played on some of his songs over the years, including 2016’s “These Days” and “Shine.”
“I really admire him. I think he has great taste and ears,” said Seander.
“If he really wanted to spend his time, he could be a good musician himself.”
Stroman said the two share a similar outlook.
“I am very happy every day. So is he,” he said. “And being truly happy is something we both value.
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