Max Muncy can vividly remember being in the same positions that Cal State Bakersfield baseball players were in Friday night.
During a standout collegiate career at Baylor, Muncy participated in annual events where he got to interact with the likes of Kip Wells, David Murphy and Kelly Shoppach, Major Leaguers who resided in his home state of Texas.
Aspiring to get to that level, Muncy made a point to soak in whatever information those thriving professionals had to offer.
“When you get to hear from them, it’s kind of like ‘Wow, that guy was one of us not that long ago,’" he said. "He was out there doing 4 a.m. workouts, he was going to class every single day. He was doing exactly what we were doing. And when you get to hear that from people, it kind of puts into perspective that you’re not as far off as you think you are.”
On Friday, Muncy, now an All-Star infielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, got to experience that dynamic from the other side, as he served as the guest speaker at the annual Hot Stove Dinner, hosted by the Cal State Bakersfield baseball team at the Kern County Fair and Event Center.
Prior to the public portion of the evening, where attendees ate a catered meal served by CSUB players and got to bid on numerous high-priced auction items, Muncy addressed current Roadrunner players from roughly 15 minutes.
In that time, he covered a wide range of topics, ranging from his struggles to combat the "weird eyes" of Nationals ace Max Scherzer to the current controversy surrounding cheating allegations against the Houston Astros.
Muncy said he was waiting for all the facts to come out before commenting on the matter. Though when asked if he remembers hearing weird noises when facing Houston, he said "Everyone has weird noises...but yes" he does recall such sounds being emitted by the Astros.
Having gone through some struggles at the professional level, most notably his 2017 release from Oakland, Muncy said he wanted one particular message to resonate with CSUB players.
“It sound stupid but, have fun," he said. "Any time I talk to younger players I make sure to tell them to make sure they have fun. When I was struggling and when I was out of baseball I wasn’t having any fun.
"The biggest change I made was just having a different mindset. Once I did that, that’s when success started happening.”
His message was well received by Bakersfield native and Garces grad Jacen Roberson, who was visibly excited to see an All-Star paying a visit to his hometown.
“To see someone like him come down to a little place like Bakersfield, it’s a blessing for us players," said Roberson, a redshirt freshman outfielder for the Roadrunners. "Seeing a guy, picking his brain...it’s an opportunity for us to learn and it’s an opportunity for us to grow as players and just men in general.”
For all the aspiring professionals in the room, Muncy said he hoped to drive home the point that their goals were obtainable.
“It’s exciting to be able to share stories with the sport and be able to bond with people that are working their tail off right now to get to certain positions," he said. "To be able to just come out here and hang out with these guys is an awesome experience for me.”