“Sometimes you want to just take a break and relax, but you have those days like the holidays, you can take those off,” he said. “If I am relaxing, I’ll just go do something light and then just take the rest of the day off.”
On an off day, when Thayer only goes 2-for-4 at the plate, he is back in the cage working on his swing.
“I just grew up with great coaches and they just taught that the more you put into the game, the more you will get out of it,” Thayer said. “So I just always go by that mindset.”
One of the coaches that has had a lasting impact on Thayer’s work ethic is Ryan Geffert. The former Southern Connecticut State University star has been coaching Thayer in some capacity since he was 11 years old.
“That stems from the player I was at Southern,” Geffert said. “That was the attitude I had. I could have the best day, but I am still learning my swing.
“He took that and ran with it. He likes to give me credit. But, realistically, it’s him. He has that drive. I can only tell him, he has to do it.”
His drive to be perfect is one of the many things that Thayer has learned from Geffert, who moved in with Thayer’s family three years ago.
“I was looking for place to stay, and I’ve been good friends with his dad (Rich) for a while,” Geffert said.
Now the coaching happens around the clock.
“When Geff moved in with us, he just told me that even after his best games he would get into the cage because you always have something to work on,” Thayer said. “I just use his mindset because he was a great hitter. So, I just try and do everything he did.”
Geffert, originally from Pennsylvania, began coaching in Connecticut after his college career ended and first coached Thayer five years ago.
“He texts me all the time. He likes to talk about his game play from his days at college, too,” Thayer said.
The shortstop and pitcher has a lot to learn from Geffert, who finished his career at SCSU with his name littered across the record book. He is SCSU’s all-time leader in hits (245), doubles (60), home runs (37), RBIs (193) and walks (132).
That drive has helped Thayer lead the Falcons to a 5-2 start this season, while he has hit .409 with three doubles, a triple and five RBIs, through seven games.
“He wouldn’t have time to be in the band or science club because it’s baseball 365 days, 24 hours a day for that kid,” St. Paul coach Victor Rinaldi said. “He’s pretty much baseball and that’s it. Baseball and school. Obviously he does take his grades serious and his grades are good. Outside of school, it’s baseball 24-7.”
As a freshman, Thayer hit .506 with two home runs and 29 RBIs. He also struck out 25 batters in 23 2/3 innings as a pitcher, winning three games and helping the Falcons reach the Class S quarterfinals.
As a sophomore, he was even better. Thayer batted .424 with a .520 on-base percentage, hit a team-leading seven home runs and knocked in 28 runs.
On the mound he won five games, struck out 38 batters in 35 innings and pitched to a 2.20 ERA, leading the Falcons back to the Class S quarterfinals.
“He just wants to perfect his game,” Rinaldi said. “He’s a gym rat. The kid is in the cage nonstop and he’s just looking to get better.”
Despite all the work that Thayer has put into his game, he does make time away from playing the game of baseball — at least on the field.
“He’s kind of like my little brother,” Geffert said. “We play (MLB The Show). I’ll take him down.”