At 22 years old, Brook Hart is relearning how to pitch.
Given his background, chances are Hart will figure it out.
The Casper Ghosts left-hander spent the majority of the past four years as the quarterback at Yale, only doubling up as a pitcher for the Ivy League school the past two seasons.
Still, the Colorado Rockies saw enough promise in the 6-foot-5 prospect to take him in the 23rd round of last month’s Major League Baseball draft.
“There’s still a lot of learning going on for me just because I only played baseball in high school and my last two years in college,” Hart said. “When I went to Yale, I couldn’t foresee getting an opportunity to play baseball for a living.”
Hart started 10 games at quarterback for the Bulldogs in his career, completing 60.1 percent of his passes for nearly 2,000 yards. On the mound, he was 4-5 with an impressive 2.23 ERA his senior year.
Not bad for a player that had to adjust his throwing motion every time he switched from the football field to the baseball diamond.
“The football motion is definitely a lot shorter and more around your ear,” Hart said. “In baseball you want to bring [your arm] up, down and around.
“So when I was playing both [football and baseball] I found myself mixing it up and almost going with something in between ... my motion was a little too long for football and a little too short for baseball. So I’m trying to work on elongating my delivery.”
Even though a work in progress, Hart has been effective in two appearances for the Ghosts to start the season.
He pitched three perfect innings in relief June 23 and gave up just four hits and one earned run in his first start Tuesday.
“In college, I was someone who could put whatever pitch wherever I wanted,” Hart said. “I’m not going to blow you away with velocity at this point. I work in and out and I really like working the inside corner and commanding that part of the plate, just because it opens up everything else as a pitcher.”
Hart admits that his unusual background, combined with his Yale background, has benefited him through the first few weeks of the Pioneer League season.
“I’m not the smartest guy, but I feel like I pick up things fairly quickly,” he said. “In minor league baseball that helps a lot, just trying to keep up with the learning curve.
“Some of these guys have all the talent in the world, and for me to keep up with them I’ve got to work hard on the little things.
“I’m just learning how to be a professional baseball player and going about my business ... getting to the park early and be ready to work because it is my job.”
And while this is Hart’s first taste of professional sports, the State College, Pa., native is no stranger to the limelight.
Hart was on the mound for the State College Little League all-star team in 2001 when it lost 2-0 to a team from Bronx, N.Y., in the Mid-Atlantic championship game. The Bronx squad went on to win the Little League World Series behind pitcher Danny Almonte, who later was deemed to be 16 years old at the time.
“Looking back on it, it was a great experience,” Hart said, “but I remember being pretty devastated not getting to go to Williamsport [for the LLWS].
“I remember not really being able to see the ball when Almonte was pitching, but it was fun to be on TV and to be pitching in a game like that at such a young age.
“I pitched pretty well; I only gave up two solo home runs. I still remember it like it was yesterday.”
These days, however, Hart has his sights set on continuing his move up the baseball ladder.
“I went from State College, which is definitely a football town, to Yale,” he said. “And now I’m in Casper ... Not many people have a journey like that, so I think it’s unique.”