Drew Storen Finds Plenty to Stay Excited About After Pro Baseball Career
Writer / Ryan Kennedy
Photographer / Jon Ellegood
Drew Storen fell in love with the game of baseball at a young age. His dad had him switch-hitting off a tee at the age of 1. He played tee-ball and Little League anywhere he could.
“The thing that really made me fall in love with it was playing Wiffle ball in my front yard with my neighbors,” Storen says. That’s also where he first discovered pitching. “I had some older neighbors that were bigger than me, so it was a fun way to kind of get at them a little bit,” he says. “I love that competitiveness of owning the ball and trying to embarrass them.”
Storen still remembers the first time he ever pitched in a real game. “I was like 8,” he says. “It was such an adrenaline rush. I had a couple years under my belt of playing in the field and that was fun, but it wasn’t anything like being out on the mound.”
As Storen grew, he started throwing harder. Initially just hoping to walk on at Purdue, he started to garner significant interest from colleges. Around his junior year, professional scouts approached him and he started to believe he might be able to play baseball professionally.
He chose to play at Stanford University, where he transitioned to the role of relief pitcher. “I would come in in big spots and throw multiple innings, and that first game I went in and the adrenaline of that was just like, ‘OK, this is what I’m made for. It doesn’t get any better than this,’” he says. “I just fell in love with that.”
Storen was drafted out of Stanford by the Washington Nationals. He says he wasn’t even nervous during his Major League debut. “I really wasn’t because I had no idea what was going on,” he says. “It was just sensory overload, and it was so big and so many people that it really wasn’t possible to be nervous because I had no idea what to be nervous about.”
Storen played eight years in the major leagues for the Nationals, the Reds, the Mariners and the Blue Jays. When his playing career was over, he wasn’t done with baseball yet. Storen’s former coach, Jered Moore, reached out to him and asked if he’d be willing to help out with Zionsville Community High School’s baseball program. Storen says he’s always enjoyed coaching and helping out, even when he was playing. He took Moore up on his offer.
“It’s a really good group of kids that listen,” Storen says. “It was really fun to see the progress and be able to go there because I was very lucky to have good coaches that helped me fast-track to the big leagues, or get to that next step and improve. If I can give one little piece of advice to a kid that helps them out, even if it’s just to get a guy out, the reward for that is pretty awesome.” He also says it’s nice to have a way to stay around the game of baseball.
Storen says the most important thing he can teach to young players is process and routine. He tries to teach players how to prepare the right way. That’s how you make it to the next level, he says – focusing on one thing to get better at each day.
Storen knew when he was done playing baseball that he would need something to pursue, so he decided to get into the bourbon business. A longtime collector of bourbon, Storen says the thing that always attracts him to a bottle of bourbon, more than anything else, is a good story. As he thought about it, Storen kept coming back to two things – baseball and corn. A beverage has to be 51% corn in order to be considered bourbon. He decided to turn to what he calls the most famous corn in the world – the cornfield where the movie “Field of Dreams,” one of the most famous baseball stories ever told, was filmed.
Storen called the owner of the field and offered to buy all the corn he had. Triple Play bourbon was born. The drink is 5.43% alcohol, a play on the numerical symbol for the most common triple play in baseball, and 162 calories, representing the number of games in a Major League Baseball season. Triple Play will debut exclusively in Indiana next year.