Reid Birlingmair: Professional athlete, friend, and coach

TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: A MLB baseball rests on the mound prior the spring training game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Steinbrenner Field on February 26, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: A MLB baseball rests on the mound prior the spring training game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Steinbrenner Field on February 26, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Remember the name Reid Birlingmair – he could make an impact on the Oakland A’s in the next few years.

Born in Normal, Illinois, Reid Birlingmair spent most of his life as a normal Midwestern kid. Reid has three siblings, two younger sisters and one older brother who he regularly spends time with.

Growing up, Reid had a fairly usual childhood. Playing video games, serving in the community, and working on his baseball career with his older brother all filled up most of his time.

While he became busy with baseball later in high school, Reid has always enjoyed fishing with his dad Al, playing video games like NBA 2K and Call of Duty, or watching a good Netflix show. His favorite currently is Breaking Bad.

Reid gives a lot of credit to his Mom, Fran, and his dad for being involved in his life early and giving him a good work ethic to balance school, baseball, and everything else a high school or college student wants to do.

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In high school, Reid was in the National Honors Society and the Spanish National Honors Society and really only played baseball in high school. Clearly his athletic decisions worked out, but Reid did admit that he regrets not trying out for football while he had the chance.

Although Reid started focusing on baseball more seriously in high school, his energy was also centered on his career path, which, at the time, was nursing.

Volunteering was a consistent activity for Reid, working at OSF St. Joseph’s, Bromenn Hospital, or spending time at Camp Quality. Reid applied to the nursing program at UIC in his sophomore year, but ultimately switched courses in the pursuit of a professional baseball career.

Reid went to Normal West High School and was not highly recruited out of high school. After walking on to the University of Illinois-Chicago, he was able to earn some scholarship money his freshman year.

It was his freshman year at UIC that Birlingmair officially connected with Normal area pitcher Charlie Cerny. Birlingmair and Cerny went to rival high schools in Normal, and now were teammates in college.

“I had known Reid since junior high, and then once we went to UIC together we were roommates all three years together,” said Cerny.

After three years at UIC, both Birlingmair and Cerny were drafted by the Oakland A’s in 2018.

Reid has been playing baseball for a long time, but even all of his training did not prepare him for staying in game shape during a pandemic.

“It was really hard at first when the gyms were closed and with all the local fields being shut down as well. I was lucky enough to have a connection with a local facility here and could get my throwing in there,” said Biringmair.

With the oddities of quarantine, a professional athlete who normally has an entire coaching staff at his disposal now has been training locally and working on his own to improve his game.

“I’ve been doing live ABs once a week against two other local professional hitters and another local professional pitcher which has been very nice. But even then this is like nothing I have ever experienced,” said Birlingmair.

That one professional pitcher in the area that Reid mentioned, that is Charlie Cerny, his former roommate and current teammate in the Oakland A’s organization.

After playing summer ball together in junior high, being rivals in high school and teammates in college, Reid and Charlie seem to be attached at the hip, even in quarantine.

Reid and Charlie have been training at a local facility called K’s Academy. This facility is owned by Josh Kauten, who Reid met in college.

The biggest struggle for any professional athlete during a pandemic has been staying in shape. Luckily for Reid, the Stockon affiliate coaches and Josh have kept him going and improved his game even with limited live pitching opportunities.

“Before they furloughed some staff we were in contact with some strength coaches and a pitching coach from Stockton, but after the furloughs, we just text our pitching coordinator what we did that day,” said Reid Birlingmair. “Other than that, it is pretty quick dialogue and is very limited.”

According to Cerny, Reid has shown significant improvement during quarantine training, despite limited contact from the A’s organization.

“He has pumped his velo up quite a bit, I think this year he is touching 98 and his offspeed has improved as well. He has added a couple pitches, his breaking ball is amazing. Overall he looks really good,” said Cerny.

With limited interaction with their Oakland coaches, the ability for Reid and Charlie to have each other has been instrumental in their growth.

“It’s been huge not going at it alone every single day. Being around Reid makes it a lot easier. He is also a guy that knows the science behind baseball and studies the game a lot, so he is always able to answer my questions,” said Cerny.

Little did Reid know that his diligent pursuit of nursing in high school and early on in college would benefit him on the mound and as a teammate. Learning early on from his older brother and eventually becoming curious on his own, Reid has been able to transform his own mechanics while helping his friends as well.

All of this focus on Reid and nursing and human anatomy is key to knowing who Reid is, but it does not mean he is perfect health wise. Reid still enjoys a good meal at Chick-Fil-A, where he orders 2 spicy sandwiches, a waffle fry, and a large lemonade.

Reid’s trainer Josh Kauten spoke to the incredible value that Reid has brought not just to himself, but to the community as well with his wealth of knowledge surrounding the game.

“Reid has shown a vested interest in human anatomy and how that connects to pitching for a while now. With his nursing background and his drive to improve, he has been able to learn a lot to benefit himself and all the kids he works with here,” said Kauten.

Although Reid has mostly moved on from his pursuit of nursing, he now is majoring in liberal arts with a minor in psych, he now has given some of that energy towards teaching younger pitchers at K’s academy.

When Reid isn’t giving pitching lessons, a lot of his time has been spent training with other high level local athletes, something which Kauten presented as key to Reid’s growth as a pitcher.

“Reid has taken full advantage of working with Charlie and the other guys in the area. Live ABs, working with top level high school and college catchers and has been expanding on what was an incredible offseason for him,” said Kauten.

Some of the athletes Reid and Charlie have been training with include Brock Stewart, Mason McCoy, and James Norwood.

Quarantine has been rough for athletes and normal folks alike. Not seeing loved ones for extended periods of time or being more isolated than normal has been tough, but luckily Reid has his family nearby, lives with his girlfriend and has a built in training buddy in Charlie.

“Reid and Charlie act like an old married couple to be honest. They spend more time with each other than they do with me, which has been really important mentally in such a weird time,” said Kauten.

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For years now, Reid has been improving on his knowledge, his game, and his friendship with Charlie. No matter where Reid Birlingmair ends up, do not be surprised if you see him in the major leagues sometime soon.