All-star rookie combines business, athletics to help popularize sport, put his hometown on the map

by: COURTESY OF SAM GREENE/COLUMBUS DISPATCH - Peter Baum, a rookie from Lincoln High and Colgate, is leading the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse and has been voted to the all-star team for his 2014 exploits.Former Lincoln High lacrosse star Peter Baum has taken Major League Lacrosse by storm.

The Ohio Machine’s No. 1 draft pick out of Colgate has 19 goals and 4 assists in seven games

That was good enough to earn the rookie midfielder a spot in the MLL All-Star game.

“It’s pretty surreal, coming from Portland, which isn’t a big lacrosse area,” Baum says.

Professional lacrosse is not quite as glamorous as other professional leagues. Baum lives in San Diego, Calif., where he works as the event sales director for Adrenaline, a major lacrosse company. Baum punches the clock at a 9-to-5 job, the Machine puts him on a plane as needed, and he jets off to wherever Ohio is playing that weekend.

“You fly out the day before the game, practice, practice again the day of the game, have walk-throughs, meetings, play the game, and then fly out the next day,” Baum says. “It’s hectic. But it’s fun. It’s a lot of travel.”

Baum, a 6-1, 185-pound midfielder, is not alone in working for a company away from his team during the week.

“The majority of guys who play in the MLL work for lacrosse companies,” Baum says. “The upside of that is that whoever you work for is going to be more tolerant when you have to leave on the weekends for games. It’s in their interest for me to do well in the league.”

Baum’s father, Richard, also played lacrosse at Colgate. Peter Baum picked up the game when he was in sixth grade and took to it quickly.

“My dad is from Long Island (N.Y.) and played at Colgate, so he got me into it,” Peter Baum says. “It took a lot to get good. A lot of it is stuff you’re doing when no one is watching, when you’re not at practice, you’re on your own shooting and playing wall ball and lifting weights and running.”

Baum led the Portland Interscholastic League Cardinals’ club team to a state championship in 2008 and finished his prep career with 180 goals and 70 assists.

“(Lincoln coach) Will Harris has been a great mentor to me,” Baum says. “The coaches at Lincoln set me up well. We had a great team, and I had some great teammates.”

Baum then followed in his father’s footsteps, choosing to play collegiately for Colgate. In four years for the Raiders, Baum had 164 goals and 61 assists and earned All-American status.

by: COURTESY OF PETER BAUM - At Lincoln High, Peter Baum led the Cardinals to the state lacrosse championship in 2008. The midfielder earned prep All-American honors that year and in 2009, when Lincoln placed second.“It was great to be able to get a top-notch education and play Division I sports at the same time,” Baum says. “To be able to go where both of my parents went was a great experience for me. They never pressured me to go there, but I always thought it would be kind of cool. I really loved everything about the school.”

His first season with Ohio could not be going much better, and he was thrilled to have been selected for the all-star game.

The Machine are 3-4, tied for fourth in the eight-team league that includes Denver (6-1), Florida (4-3), Rochester (4-3), Boston (3-4), New York (3-4), Charlotte (3-4) and Chesapeake (2-5).

Going into this week, Baum was tied for fifth in scoring with 23 points.

“It’s great,” says Baum, 23. “A lot of it has to do with my teammates really giving me a great opportunity to excel as a rookie. They give me every opportunity to be successful.”

Ohio plays Saturday at Boston, and the all-star game is June 26 at Harvard. It will feature the MLL squad against Team USA.

Ohio plays its home games at Selby Stadium on the campus of NCAA Division III Ohio Wesleyan in Delaware, Ohio. Average home attendance this season has been 3,500.

Baum is not satisfied by the success he has had, though. He wants to continue improving as a player and become an ambassador for the game.

“You get to a professional level and your goals change from what they were in college,” he says. “I want to keep making lacrosse a big part of my business life. Winning an MLL championship with Ohio would be great. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.

“I also want to help keep furthering the game and growing the game. That’s something I’ve been trying to do since high school. I want to put Portland lacrosse on the map a little bit. That’s something I’m really passionate about.”

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