Mason Trezise was “stoked” at the chance to become the first trainer for the Ridgefield Raptors
RIDGEFIELD — There are times when it seems like Mason Trezise is the most popular person at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
He arrives at the ballpark with all of his supplies, rolls of athletic tape strapped around his back, prepared for his daily routine. When he sets up his table beside the home dugout, he might as well be hanging a sign that says, “The doctor is in.”
Or in his case, the athletic trainer.
Hey, my back is tight today, could I get some help?
My arm needs some work. You got a few minutes?
“All the guys consider me part of the team now,” Trezise said. “I get called ‘Coach’ sometimes.”
The Ridgefield Raptors are now in the second half of their first season in Clark County, with some 60 games scheduled in just a little more than two months. That leads to a lot of sore muscles and aches, and on occasion, some real injuries.
Trezise is the first responder, if you will, the man in charge of taking care of the Raptors. (And opponents, and umpires, too.)
The certified athletic trainer is getting some great experience with a roster of 30-plus college baseball players, each bringing a unique history of ailments, the kind of stuff athletes endure in order to compete.
He provides treatment before every home game, and he is on duty during games for any issues that could happen on the field.
“I want to make sure the guys stay healthy during the summer,” Trezise said.
Ridgefield Raptors (16-18 overall in WCL, 3-4 in second half)
All-Stars: Catcher Steve Ramirez (Riverside Community College), outfielder Michael Hicks (Boise State), and pitcher Carter Benbrook (UC Santa Barbara) will be the answer to a trivia question one day: Who were the first Ridgefield Raptors to make the all-star game? The West Coast League’s midsummer classic is July 23rd in Bend, Ore.
Next: The Raptors host a three-game series with the Portland Pickles. Friday and Saturday games starts at 6:35 p.m. Sunday’s game will start at 3:05 p.m.
Promotional: The first 250 fans on Friday will receive a foam baseball, courtesy of Dick Hannah Dealerships. On Saturday, it’s Rally the Raptor bobblehead night, courtesy Riverview Community Bank. And on Sunday, it’s Bark in the Park, sponsored by WellHaven Pet Health. Yes, fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to see the Raptors. Also, as always on Sundays, children 10 and under are free courtesy of Kiddie Academy.
Trezise grew up in Arizona and went to college in Ohio before landing a job at ProActive Physical Therapy Specialists in Clark County last year.
“I wanted to live out here eventually,” he said.
Might as well go for it, right? He applied for jobs in the Vancouver-Portland area after college.
“I heard Portland was weird, off the wall. I figured I’d check it out,” Trezise said. “I got a job offer before I even got a chance to visit.”
While working for ProActive, he was assigned to be the athletic trainer for Battle Ground High School during the school year. Working for the Raptors this summer has been a nice “change-up” he said. At Battle Ground, the trainer is working with up to hundreds of athletes in all sports. With the Raptors, he gets to really focus on these few dozen players.
A baseball roster, especially a college-age summer league, is ever changing. Players come and go all the time. Trezise said he wants the players to know he is there to listen and respond accordingly.
“I told them, ‘It’s going to help me help you if you give me a head’s up,’” Trezise said of his first meeting with the team. “I’ve never worked with any of these guys before. I kind of relied on their honesty.”
He said a lot of athletes tend to try to be “tough” and stay away from the trainer’s table initially. Once the players understood he was there to help, though, Trezise was a welcome sight every day.
“They know what I’m here for, and they respect that,” Trezise said. “They respect my role. I feel I got on their good side pretty quickly.”
All of the Raptors are college baseball players, and some are on scholarships at some of the biggest programs in the country. An injury does not just affect the player and the Raptors. It could have a long-term effect on the college program. Communication is the key, Trezise said.
An injury will lead to talks with the athlete, the coaches, and Gus Farah, the Raptors’ general manager. Then perhaps a call to the athlete’s parents and the trainers at the college.
Trezise said they will exchange ideas, recommendations for treatment.
Trezise said safety must come first. There is never a need to rush a player back from injury.
“They have scholarships. Some of them have maybe more than three years of baseball left. They might be going to the next level. I’m here to help them succeed in any way,” he said.
If that means shutting down a player for a week, two, or the whole summer, then that’s the way it goes.
The Raptors have not had to deal with a situation that serious this season. But Trezise and the team know the protocol: Player safety is the priority.
This summer, Trezise has had to go out on the field a couple times to check on the participants. Usually, he said, it is to aid an umpire who has been hit with a ball.
A great game for an athletic trainer is when he is not needed at all.
Instead, the perfect day for an athletic trainer is getting all of the work done before the game — preventive maintenance, he calls it.
Trezise said he was “stoked” about the opportunity to work with the Raptors in their inaugural season.
“I guess I stood out to my boss as someone who would make a good fit here,” he said.
The players seem to like him. He often arrives around 80 minutes before first pitch, and it takes about 30 seconds before someone is asking for some maintenance.
And if he is asked to return next summer?
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m loving every second of it out here.”