The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Baseball is in his blood

Panthers’ first baseman Robby Link considers the incoming pitch he would ultimately choose to let pass while Santa Rosa Junior College’s baseball team outplayed City College at The Yard, March 22, 2014, for a final score of 4-3. Photo by Teri Barth | Online Editor in Chief | [email protected]

Tink!  Tink!  Tink!  The sound of a metal bat hitting a baseball, over and over again. The smell of fresh cut grass. The sound of baseballs hitting mitts repeatedly. The sun overhead. This is where Robert Link feels his passion.

Link, 20, is a City College baseball player. He is the archetypal college athlete and represents the program here at Sac City the way it should be.

That all comes easy for Link, baseball is in his blood.

“He is an excellent example of what community college student-athletes should strive to be,” says City College head baseball coach Derek Sullivan. “His future is bright.”

Link is a little over 6 feet tall. He has broad shoulders that come from swinging a bat his entire life. Fresh out of class, he wears a baseball cap and a City College baseball shirt.

Link’s teammates have high praise for him. His passion, work ethic and attitude show on and off the field.

“Great guy, great teammate,” says Jerrod Bravo, one of Link’s fellow baseball players. “He would do anything for the team. That’s what kind of guy he is. He would do a lot for you.”

Link doesn’t argue with Bravo’s assessment.

“I always want to do my best to help out the team,” says Link. The only thing that makes him nervous is “letting people down.”

Link’s lust for baseball is embedded within him. His dad played baseball, his older brother played baseball, and his cousin Vance Worley was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005 and now plays in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

“I don’t even remember when I first started,” says Link.

Link was born and raised in Sacramento. His baseball path has roots at City College. As a kid, he attended baseball camps at the college. He played baseball at Christian Brothers High School where he exceled at pitching and hitting. At the college level he made the choice to strictly become a pitcher.
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“I was thinking both pitching and hitting wouldn’t work,” says Link, though his decision to become a pitcher didn’t pan out. “I pretty much wasn’t good enough.”

He struggled pitching his first year and had to transition back to a position player, which was no simple task. Despite having baseball in his DNA, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Link’s natural talent and hard work overcame this transition.

“I don’t expect things to be given to me,” Link says. “You have to work for it.”

Link’s typical day consists of weight training at 6:15 a.m., followed by class until 10:30 a.m. Then he hits the field for some batting practice, eats, followed by more hitting and then tries to get in a little relaxation before team practice.  For mental aspects of the game, Link calls on Worley for advice.

“He’ll tell me straight up what I need to do,” Link says. “He’ll help me through any situation.”

Having a baseball-rich bloodline has helped Link throughout his life, but all of the natural ability in the world can’t replace Link’s biggest inspiration, his mother, Laura Link. His mother was diagnosed with colon cancer when Link was a sophomore in high school, and she has been battling it ever since.

“She’s been through a lot,” Link says. “It went away, and then came back recently and she has never stopped fighting. She still comes to my games.”

Having a baseball family demanded a lot of time from Link’s parents. Whenever his father was busy playing baseball with his older brother, his mother would make sure Link got practice in.

“She’d always be there playing catch with me,” Link says. “She’s always been there for me.”

Link’s time at City College is coming to a close. This is his third and final season as a Panther. Link plans to transfer to a four-year college, but doesn’t know where and doesn’t know what he wants to get a degree in. Despite the uncertainties, he knows one thing: he wants baseball to be a part of it.

“I want to play at the next level,” Link says. “I’m going to go as far as baseball takes me.”

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