Baseball Player Magazine
Contents Winter 2010 42 60 Never Looked So Good By Catherine McGee BPM takes a look at what marks Rockville Centre Little Leagues’ 60th year of community, history and baseball. 10 One on One with Mark Podlas By Jennifer Jaeger 18 What’s The Count? 46 BPM 2010 H.S. Starting Lineup 55 BPM College Selects 59 6 By Joe Francisco & Hector Duperey Hitter’s Perspective vs Pitcher’s Perspective An in-depth look at some of high schoo’s top talent. A highlight of some of the top talent scoured in local colleges and universities. College Recruiting 101 By Gayle Yodwitz Running the Bases: 2B 15 Defense: One Hand vs. Two Hands 25 Forever 9 The Robbie Levine Foundation 36 New York Mets Spring Training 2010 46 Fitness & Training: Need For Speed 52 Heaters’ Corner 65 Life In The Minors: John Mincone 70 Players Spotlight: Kevine Nieto & Nick Tropeano 73 Softball Xtra Innings: Pitching 78 BPM Crossword: Nicknames, Trivia & Facts 82 Baseline Food & Recipes 83 25 Things: Delwyn Young Cover and Contents photos by Ellen Schuerger Nassau Community College vs Monroe College March 21, 2010 Brandon Kurz Owner/Chairman Michael Ambort Vice President Jennifer Jaeger Vice President/Editorial Director Lauren Jaeger Vice President/Publisher Art Directors James Konatich Keith Reilly Staff Photographer Ellen Schuerger BPM/Contributing Editors Hector Duprey, Joe Francisco, Jimmy Goelz, Tricia Jaeger, Matt Lemanczyk, Brett Mauser, Catherine McGee, Ashley Michaels, Michael Mitchell, Kristi Reilly, Julie Soviero, Gayle Yodowitz, Samantha Yodowitz The BPM team would like to, once again, extend special thanks to all our friends and family that we haven’t seen over the past few weeks; we love you all and appreciate your support. We would also like to especially thank: Joe Bonin, Neal Heaton, Ronnie Henderson, Bryan Goelz, Caren Gordon, Haig Graphics, Victor Feld, Billy Harner, Chris Herr, Frank Keating, Jason Latimer, Jill & Craig Levine, Laura & Ashley Massoni, Tom Mahoney, John Mincone, Bobby Molinaro, Terry Moran, Matt Norby, Kevin O’Keefe, Keith Osik, Mark Podlas, Sebestian Paul, Dennison Silvio, Mike Spiers, Bob Tolan, Glen Van Dusen, Delwyn Young, all of the coaches, players and editors. It is imperative that we offer an extra special thank you to Sherine Weatherly, without whom our quotes would not be curly, our art would hit the safety and our indents would continue; your insight is greatly appreciated and valued. Copyright ©2010 Baseball Player Magazine is published under Baseball Player Magazine, NY & NJ Inc. All rights reserved. Baseball Player Magazine is published quarterly and printed by Haig Graphics, 90 Old Willets Path Hauppauge, NY 11788. Tel 631-582-5800 Fax 631-582-2806 Official Printer of BPM For questions and comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org PA PC C a PA s s ssa, C LaRo LaRo JA John 5 enue th Av 10018-650 h g i E 505 ork, NY New Y 4.9195 7 9 212.5 12.465.990 2 FAX Certified Public Accountant â€˘ Sports & Entertainment www.jalarossacpapc.com Geller y M ort Photo b Celebrating 60 Years of Rockville Centre Little League Baseball Do you drive past Hickey Field and miss your buddies from the good ole days? Do you remember your RVC Little League coach? Or perhaps the guys you were turning double plays with on the 1981 team? Do you still see your 1969, 1973 or 1989 teammates? Do you remember who struck you out during that championship game? Are you ready to let go of the fact that you struck out looking? If so, you should join Baseball Player Magazine and Rockville Centre Little League at MacArthur Park to catch up with old buddies, celebrate 60 years of baseball history, and face the ghosts of RVC Little League past. 1989 1973 Date: Time: Location: Cost: Friday, April 30th 8–11pm MacArthur Park One Maple Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY 11570 $40 all you can drink/eat* *21 and over only Sponsored by: 1969 Photo by Mort Geller e s n e f De One Hand vs.Two Hands By Jimmy Goelz Photos by Jennifer Jaeger Go to any field, in any town, at any level, and you will commonly hear the same three words spoken over and over. Those words are “Use two hands,” and by most accounts are very helpful words of advice. But as you delve deeper into the defensive side of the game, the more you realize that there is a time and place for using just “one” hand. Each and every play is different, but the decision to use one or two hands inevitably comes down to being in the most athletic position. The use of two hands is best suited for taking a routine groundball. During the routine type play, a good infielder will actually deflect the ball to their throwing hand thus creating a quick transfer. The glove doesn’t even have to close, and the glove is positioned so the fielder can catch the ball off the palm or flattest part of the glove. Completely flat training gloves with no fingers or pocket are a great training tool to learn how to deflect. Basically, the use of two hands should be for any ball that your body is completely behind. Besides the routine groundball for infielders, outfielders can use two hands when directly under a fly ball. Catchers when trying to throw out a baserunner if the pitcher throws a strike, and middle infielders receiving a good feed from their double play partners. The fact of the matter is that not every ball is hit right at you. Not every pitcher throws strikes, and not every thrown ball hits you in the chest. In fact, just as many less than routine plays occur, and using one hand can help in meeting the challenge. (continued) Ryan Kerwick Hauppauge HS One Hand Fielding Two Hand Fielding BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 15 First off, if you look at the picture you can see that the fielder loses valuable reach with the addition of the second hand. By leaving the throwing hand in its natural position it allows for the glove hand to reach further for the ball. This not only increases your range but at the same time keeps one side of your body completely balanced and strong. It’s from this position that an explosive move can be made. All too often one bad throw will lead to another bad throw and cause for sloppy play. In the case of a double play, a good second baseman can reach for a poor throw with the glove hand and transfer it back to the throwing hand which is keeping the rest of the body balanced. The ensuing throw will most likely be on target and strong because the second basemen centered the poor throw. Outfielders should nearly always catch with one hand since they should resemble a runner as they chase down the ball. Once again two hands will take away from the outfielders athleticism and shorten the reach for the ball. The biggest thing you see with young outfielders is that they run with their glove outstretched already. They just don’t realize that they don’t need the glove until it gets within a few feet from them. The same goes for an infielder ranging to their left and right. They need to realize the importance of being an athlete first, and think laterally (side to side) until the body is behind the ball. As with every position, itís important to reach out for the ball and bring it back to their center, which provides balance and strength to their next move. Using two hands is always going to be a safe bet and should really be stressed for the beginner type player, but just keep in mind that one hand is sometimes better than two as the players become more advanced. It will easily improve their defensive play and help them gain confidence. The One Hand Transfer Some of the best ways to work on the one hand transfer is to put the fielder into a stationary wide base and fire balls that they need to reach for. Once the ball is caught, have them quickly bring the ball back to their center. Whether the throw is high, low, left, or right, it should always be brought back to the middle of the body. It is also good to stress the importance of working on this whenever they are having a catch. This is the perfect opportunity to experiment with being quick and realizing what part of the glove allows for the best transfer. 16 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 BPM’s own Aunt E “In 1958, the Dodgers moved; the Mets were born and a fan was created. I saw Seaver’s one-hitter in July 1969; was at the fourth game of the 1969 World Series. Sadly, I watched the Yankees celeb‑ rate in 2000 on Shea soil. I have walked on both Shea and Citi Field, but nothing will ever compare to my time at spring training with the New York Mets.” Photo by Jim Fertitta - Ellen Schuerger BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 41 60 Never Looked So Good By Catherine McGee Photo by Mort Geller 42 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 Then & Now... BPM takes a look at what marks Rockville Centre Little Leaguesâ€™ 60th year of community, history and baseball. Photo by Mary Agresti 60 Never Looked So Good I t’s about 11:00 AM on a Saturday morning in March. Everyone is happy to be here since the snow seems to have interrupted many activities this past winter. The kids, the coaches and the parents know that the 2010 Little League season is almost here. The parade, opening day, barbeques and games under the lights are just around the corner. As I walk into South Side High School’s gym, the silence is deafening. I sit down and watch the young boys wait patiently, yet anxiously on the bleachers. They’re all waiting for their number to be called. The boy in the center of the gym floor is almost done with his tryout. The 11-year-old boy stands below the basketball hoop, pounds the inside of his mitt and gets ready to catch the fly ball coming his way. I can sense a sigh of relief as he carefully uses two hands to catch the ball. Almost immediately the next number is called. The 11-year -old, who forgets his name for the morning and is referred to With RVC Little League being a large program, there is so much work and coordination that must be done. It is wonderful to see how many people volunteer their time for the benefit of all the boys and girls. There are over 200 men and women who so willingly give of themselves, not only to teach these boys and girls the game of baseball, but who show through their example, what it means to be great citizens of a community. The program, along with all it’s volunteers, is totally committed to ensuring that all of the children have a wonderful baseball and softball experience, while instill‑ ing in them the Little League values of courage, character and loyalty. Bob Tolan RVC Little League President 44 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 as a number, jumps up, grabs a bat and positions himself to takes three swings. He then runs the length of the gym floor, back and forth and puts on his glove. He fields ground balls with ease and catches fly balls with no problem. “A can of corn,” as my grandmother would say. Coaches watch diligently as each ball player shows off their skills. This particular “tryout” doesn’t involve kids being cut, it provides fairness to how the teams are put together. Perhaps a bit stressful for the kids, but a necessity in balancing the teams and having a successful season. When asked about putting the teams together, a veteran coach replied, “We try very hard to make our teams as evenly talented as possible. We want the young kids of our village to enjoy being part of a team. We don’t want any team winning or losing by marginal amounts. We want the kids to have fun. We want them outside and being active in an organized and safe way.” RVC Little League has a long, accomp‑ lished history. This season marks the 60th year of its existence. In the past sixty years RVC Little League, both the boys and girls, have had many successes. RVC has seen 78 District Championships, 19 Nassau County Championships, 14 Long Island Championships, and four New York State Championships. It was the 1978 twelve year-old team that went the furthest, playing their way to a third place finish at the Little League World Series in Williamsport. What many people don’t realize is that John Nofi and Bill Seward, two of the founders, made it possible for more than 240 boys to participate each season. 60 years ago there weren’t enough teams to meet the amount of children who wanted to participate. Over 200 boys were left out of organized summer baseball fun. Nofi and Seward are responsible for starting the minor leagues. Eventually Mort Geller, a leader in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s expanded the league to consist of the Pee Wee Division for eight year-olds. Years later it was renamed the Mort Geller League in his honor. League presidents throughout the years Let’s meet... Rockville Centre Little League Rockville Centre Little Leaguer Matt Klugewicz have had great impact on the program, notably Tom Gallucci who started girls softball and Bob Klein who started the Munchkins Division, are just a few among the group. As an organization, Rockville Centre has had many accomplished athletes pass through Hickey Field, and the surrounding ballparks. In the 1960’s there were four minor leaguers, and in the 1980’s, Willie Carey and K.J. Wallace joined the ranks of the minor leagues. During the 1990’s, Matt Lemancyzk played for the Cardinals organization and recently, Patrick Feehan played in the White Sox organization. Presently, Brian Kemp and Michael Ambort are playing professionally. Kemp is with the Astros organizations and Ambort is with the San Francisco Giants organization. To this date, Rockville Centre has not seen one it’s own in a Major League uniform during a regular season game. Last year Ambort was called up in a split squad spring training game and hit a home run on the first pitch, while Kemp, who had the third longest hitting streak in the New York-Penn League, earned himself a spot on the All Star Team. Maybe this will be the year a RVC Little Leaguer makes the Bigs. When is your birthday? October 2, 1998 Your favorite baseball team? New York Yankees Your favorite baseball player? Derek Jeter What number do you like to wear? #4....My Dad’s softball number! What position do you like to play? Pitcher What is your favorite baseball memory so far? Being part of last years 10 yearold Williamsport team that won District 30 and winning a Sectional game in Harlem. I also like making friends with a great group of players. The alumni are also playing baseball at colleges throughout the country. Rockville Centre Little Leaguers have found themselves at Harvard, Tufts, Binghamton, New York Tech, SUNY New Paltz, Pace, Virginia Wesleyan and Williams College. Needless to say the successes of the organization are ones that make the league president, Bob Tolan, very proud. Photo rt by M o Gelle r Photo by Colleen Diluccio BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 45 46 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 Need For Speed By Mike Mitchell Photos by Ellen Schuerger Baseball is a skill sport. Athletes spend countless hours working on the important skills of fielding, hitting, throwing, and catching. Proper technique is learned and implemented on the field. However, an important component to being a complete baseball player is speed and quickness. In the past most people thought speed was genetics. You were either fast or you were not. This could not be further from the truth. Speed is a skill. Just like all other skills, you can learn to be faster. Success leaves clues. If you watch all the MLB athletes that are known for speed, you might notice they all run the same way. This tells us there is a proper way to run, and move on the field. Acceleration is the ability to reach maximum speed in the least amount of time and distance. When it comes to base running, the most important thing to improve is the first 8 to 12 steps while sprinting. There are four components that must be a focus while accelerating: 1 Angles 2 Hips 4 There are several angles which must be implemented for an athlete to reach their maximum potential. The first angle we focus on is the body angle. It is imperative that an athlete remain at a 45 degree body angle as long as possible. This will allow proper stride length and the athletes will be able to cover more distance in fewer steps. The second angle is a 90 degree angle in the arms. This will allow efficient arm action while an athlete runs. 3 The most important area for baseball players is the pelvic-lumbar hip complex. We spend a lot of time getting our athletes hips not just stronger, but more flexible. While accelerating, the hips must be pointed forward. The hips will determine the direction an athlete runs. 48 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 Arm Action There is a direct connection with our arm action, and our leg stride. The faster we move our arms, the faster our legs will move. Also if our arms cross the midline of the body while you run, so will your legs. This increases the chance of injury, and makes it impossible to run in a straight line. Proper arm action is to move your arms at 90 degrees to where your hand is lined up with your face while your back hand is behind your gluteus. It is important to keep the hands open, and relax your shoulders. The more relaxed a runâ€‘ ner is, the better. Knee Drive The stronger an athleteâ€™s knee drive, the faster they will run. We teach our athletes to have a strong knee drive forward while maintaining proper shin angle (the calves nice and tight into the hamstring). This will allow proper stride length while not over striding and causing a hamstring injury. Change of direction is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and then reacceleate in any direction without losing speed or balance. This not only is used while running the bases, but also while fielding. This is the focal point for improving an athlete’s agility. There are four components which need to be focused on while changing direction: 1 3 Good Base of Support: This is also called an athletic position. Feet are shoulder with apart, and the athlete is on the balls of their feet getting ready for a play. 2 Low Center of Gravity: The lower an athlete is on the field, the better fielder they will be. This will also allow the athlete to change direction better without losing balance. Strong Back: While changing direction the spine should be aligned. Make sure you have good posture with shoulders back and chest up. Planting with Body Weight on the Inside Foot: While changing direction the biggest key is planting with body weight on the inside leg. Most injuries occur because an athlete does not know how to plant correctly. This is another skill that should be learned, not just to improve agility, but to prevent injury. 4 Speed training workouts should be implemented at least twice a week to see results. It takes repetition to make the proper movements part of how the athlete moves on the field. In my experience if you build a baseball players foundational skills, they will take their game to the next level. These skills are speed, strength, agility, flexibility, injury prevention, good nutrition, and self confidence. These skills partnered with proper baseball specific skills will help not just to have an excellent game, but “Game Excellence”. BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 49 Heater’s Corner By Ashley Michaels Directly out of high school, Neal Heaton was the first player selected in the 1979 draft. Heaton chose to attend college and played for the University of Miami from 1979-81, where he still holds many of the Hurricane’s pitching records, including victories in a season (18) and strikeouts in a game (23). After being drafted in 1981 by the Cleveland Indians, Heaton thrived with a 12 year career in the majors. While with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1990, Heaton was selected to play in the MLB All Star Game-one of many highlights in his career... so far. The start of baseball season is one of the most exciting times during the year, but living in New York, it is also one of the coldest. The average temperature on Long Island throughout the baseball season will range from the mid 30’s to the upper 70’s, but you won’t see too many playing days above 60 degrees until the middle of May. That means you will be playing a lot of games in cold weather and it is important that you prepare wisely and take care of your arm. Bad weather can wreak havoc on your arm and overall health; you need to stay healthy, warm, injury free and ready to bring the “heat.” So, what do you do? 52 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 BPM caught up with Neal Heaton and got his take on how pitchers can handle the chilly northeast weather for the start of the season. Hey Neal, it feels like only yesterday we got together to chat. How have things been going? Ok. You’re telling me no matter what they should go outside? Glad we could catch up. It’s been busy like you would not believe. There are a lot of pitchers out there with talent, they keep me on my toes and working seven days a week. I think so. But this is when being prepared and having a plan come into play. The first couple of times out, even the pros in sunny Florida, only throw 2-3 innings. Arm care is even more important in chilly weather. You can actually hurt your arm by not being prepared to pitch, and may not feel the pain until a month or two later. It happens all the time. That is a lot, does it get to be a drag? Not at all. I love it. You see the progress of these players, and know you’ve contributed something to it. The only thing I could say I enjoy more is coaching my son Garrett’s 12 year-old travel team. Great team, great kids. I’m looking out the window and it looks kind of cold. You have any advice for pitchers in this weather? Yeah, wear a jacket (laughs). Most high schools started practice on March 8th. Is it a problem for pitchers in cold weather? It sure is. Why do you think the big leaguers go to warm weather locales. So, are you saying that pitchers should not throw outside in the cold? I would suggest that if it is below 50 degrees during the first two weeks, and they have access to throw indoors, it is probably better for their arms if they did that. And after the first two weeks? It is not just in the cold, but all the time. Proper warm up first and foremost is the best advice I can give. Does proper warm up consist of throwing a lot of warm up pitches? Not exactly. Proper warm up begins before you even pick up the ball; stretching, tubing, and jogging. I see so many kids stretch for five minutes before warming up. You warm up your car longer then that on a cold day. Stretch for 15-20 minutes, than take a nice light jog. Then, and only then, should you pick up a ball and start your pregame throwing. This is even more important when it is chilly. Ok, it’s chilly out, you did a proper warm up, and the game starts. What’s next? A good pitcher should just focus on the job he has to do, not the weather. It is probably more then it is cold. Meaning you have to work your pitch count up from say 50 to 60 pitches, over time. (continued) BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 53 ©iStock Photos Time to head outside. The games are played outside, so they need to get use to it. There is a big difference between throwing indoors and throwing outside. There are a lot of factors that come into play outdoors: wind, temperature, etc. What steps can the young pitcher take to protect his arm in the cold? “You don’t get to the majors sitting on the couch my friend.” P. Budkevics C.W. Post University - Neal Heaton Any helpful hints? Of course. These are some things one should think about in the cold weather: • Be stretched and warmed up. • Have a jacket handy. • Know you have an advantage over the cold hitter • Focus on mechanics. Sometimes you might change things when you are cold. Don’t. A good coach will monitor your mechanics, and know when you have had enough. • In the cool weather, I prefer pitchers don’t hit. • Stay warm on the sideline. Once your team has one out get the blood flowing again and be ready to go. • If your team is batting around and you are on the bench for 15-20 minutes, your coach might consider getting a new pitcher ready. • Jog when done pitching and ice your arm. Well, that is quite a list. Arm care, conditioning and proper mechanics go hand in hand, especially in the cold. There is always another day. Be smart. We are over our time limit, but I just got to ask, is it true that you ran 6 miles a day, every day? Neal, thank you once again. It is always a pleasure talking baseball, especially pitching, with you. 54 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 Photo by Ellen Schuerger You don’t get to the majors sitting on the couch my friend. By Ashley Michaels Join John Mincone, on his unique and amazing path to the Bigs. The path to success isn’t always easy, but it is a journey that is to never be forgotten and one that builds both character and strength. This couldn’t be truer in the case of Minor League pitcher John Mincone. Born July 23, 1989, this 6’2”, 215 lb. lefty has experienced more in his 20 years than most do in a lifetime. His path has taken him from his backyard all the way to Mesa, Arizona as a part of the Chicago Cubs organization, with a few significant “character and strength building” stops along the way. Ben Stein said, “The indispen‑ sible first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want to do,” and at a young age, John Mincone did just that. BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 65 Life In The Minors John sat down with BPM before heading back out to Arizona and told us a little about his journey to the Minor Leagues, as well and the intensity of a very special day that he will never forget. Has playing professional baseball always been your dream? My life has always revolved around baseball. Ever since I can remember I’ve been throwing a baseball, either to one of my grandfathers, my dad, or one of my four brothers. My parents always told me I had the talent to become a professional baseball player, and since then it’s been my dream. We want to know your story, but let’s skip ahead to draft day. What was it like? Was the experience anything like what you expected? The weeks leading up to draft day made the day is self so much more stressful, but it was a day I had been waiting for my whole life. For about two weeks prior to the draft, I dropped my life as a teenager and traveled from city to city, participating in pre-draft showcases. I spent hours on the phone on a daily basis with scouts from all 30 major league teams. Each call made me realize more and more that I may have the opportunity that every boy dreams of; having their name called in the MLB Amateur Draft. The morning of the draft I was woken up by a call from an area scout, saying that he just talked to the scouting director and if I was still available, I’d probably be taken anywhere between the seventh and tenth rounds. Naturally I was excited. The draft started at 12:00 pm on June, 10, 2009. I had picked up my youngest two brothers, Christopher and Michael, from school early that day. I was sitting in my living room with my father, my brothers Matt, Christopher, and Michael and my grandparents. My mom was holding her phone tightly at work and both my brother Stephen and my girlfriend Brittany were at school waiting to feel their phones vibrate in their pockets. As the tenth round passed without my name being called, I began 66 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 to get frustrated. The early picks for the 11th round went by, once again without my name being called. I turned the computer away, I had to get up and walk around. About thirty seconds later I heard screams from my grandparents and brothers, but it never clicked in my mind that they were screaming about me. I looked down at the screen and then heard what I’d been waiting to hear my whole life. “The Chicago Cubs pick player ID #1111, John Mincone, left handed pitcher, Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, NY.” My stomach dropped. Almost instantly I received hundreds of text messages and phone calls from my friends, family and former teammates offering me congratulations. I called my mom, my brother and my girlfriend to tell them the news; I was now a Chicago Cub. There was no greater feeling in the world. All the hard work that I had put into the game and all of the hard decisions I had to make had paid off. That night we had my family over, along with some friends and past coaches to celebrate. With all of the commotion the day had brought, I hadn’t had the chance to reflect on what had happened. It all hit me when I finally got into my room that night and was able to collect my thoughts. The entire process was exhilarating, stressful, mentally draining and exhausting, but I would do it again a million times over just to be able to have that draft day feeling again. Can you take us through the journey that got you to the minors? Let’s start with Little League. I played Little League for the Huntington Hurricanes. This team is one of the main reasons I have developed into the player I am today. The team was coached by my father, Joseph Mincone, along with Micah Thode, Mario Del Prete and former NY Mets minor league pitcher Eric Stampfl. They taught me how to love and respect the game of baseball and to never let tough situations bother me when I am on the mound. How about high school? I went to Half Hollow Hills East (Thunder‑ birds) in Dix Hills, NY and played for head coach Marco Marcelo. I was a Suffolk County All League IV player my sophomore and junior seasons, but not a pitcher, as a first baseman. In May of 2005, my sophomore year, I underwent Tommy John Surgery and wasn’t able to pitch again until the John Mincone summer after. My senior year the team went 20-3, So what about the summer, where did you winning Suffolk County League III for the first play ball? time since 1980. That year, I played first base and I played for the Long Island Titans throughout was the teams’ number one starter on the mound, high school during the summer. Every Titans which was an incredible feeling. On the mound I team I have played for was made up of some was 7-0 with a .66 ERA and of the best players I’ve hit .545 with four homers. “John is a great competitor ever played with. Kids I was named to the Suffolk traveled from all over the County team in the Vytra who was enjoyable to coach, Northeast to play with us. Grand Slam Challenge, a My coaches Paul Carufe game where the top seniors as well as to watch perform on and Tom Downey really from Suffolk County play took their time to get to the mound. Pressure is not in me and every player on against the top seniors from Nassau County. John’s vocabulary as he always a personal level, it made I received the Suffolk the experience that much County League III MPV keeps his poise. The day he more amazing. and the Paul Gibson Award for the pitcher of was drafted was probably So high school is done the year in Suffolk County. and it is time for college, The previous two winners as exciting for me and his where did you attend? were Glenn Gibson, baseball family at Suffolk West College was a long and fourth round pick of the frustrating road for me. Washington Nationals in as it was for him. I’m confident I started off at James 2006 and Michael Belfiore, Madison University (JMU) first round pick of the he will succeed in achieving in Harrisonburg, VA. My Arizona Diamondbacks older brother, Matthew, in 2009. I was also lucky his goal of becoming a major was a senior at JMU enough to be named to my freshman year and league pitcher.” the All Long Island team even with him there I and First Team All-State. struggled adapting to life -Bobby “Skip” Molinaro on my own. I had a lot of In addition to my time on the field, my parents growing up and maturing always stressed the importance of education, so to do. A month after the season started, I felt I was very proud to receive the NY State Scholar a shooting pain in my left elbow while longAthlete award for academics my sophomore, tossing at practice. I hopped into my car and junior and senior year. drove back home to see Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, the Wow, that is incredible! Has it always been same doctor I used for my surgery a few years baseball, did you play any other sports grow‑ before. I was told it was the last of the scar tissue ing up or in high school? breaking down, which was a good thing, but I I always played golf growing up. It was sort of would have to sit the remainder of the season a bonding time between my parents and all my out. After the season was over, I came back brothers. It represented a time we could go out home and played summer ball with the Long for a few hours, relax and have fun with each Island Titans. I made a decision to transfer other. The first two years of high school I played out of JMU, and go the Junior College route. I golf on the team, but I decided that I needed to enrolled in St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, put all my focus towards baseball. I still play golf FL to start the 2008 school year. Things were every chance I get with my 17 year old brother, going great until one day after a workout I was Stephen. We both get really competitive out on throwing a football around with some kids the course, but year after year I seem to be losing on the team and my foot got caught in a hole ground, or he is getting really good! in the ground. I tore ligaments in my ankle BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 67 Life In The Minors and was put in a hard cast for three months. I decided it was best if I finished out the year at home, so I transferred back home to Suffolk County Community College (Longhorns) to play for Coach Bobby “Skip” Molinaro. Suffolk at this point, had won the Region XV Championships the previous two years and had advanced to the NJCAA College World Series, so I knew if there was a program back home that would give me the best chance for exposure to professional scouts, this was it. As the season went on, I began to get an increasing amount of attention from Major League scouts, and eventually regional and national cross checkers were making their way out to a small, Division III Community College in Brentwood, NY. I know that I would not be playing professional baseball if it were not for the events of the previous 18 months that lead me to Suffolk. Skip spent countless hours talking to scouts and contacting them, letting them know when I was going to pitch next, making sure they were at all my starts. I am so grateful to Skip and the rest of the staff at Suffolk who pushed me and helped me accomplish my dream of becoming a professional baseball player. Can you give us your top baseball highlights from high school and college? I’ve had many high school highlights. I’d have to say that winning our league championship my senior year and winning the Paul Gibson award are up there on the list, but my best memory is from the summer after my junior year. I made the Long Island baseball team going to compete in the Empire State Games, sort of an “Olympics” for the state of New York. Our team won the Gold medal, going undefeated in the process, marking the first time in 13 years that the Long Island team won a Gold medal in baseball. As for college, I have two major baseball high‑ lights. When I was at James Madison University my freshman year, we won the Colonial Athletic Association Conference Tournament and con‑ tinued on to play in the NCAA Regionals at NC State. My best college highlight is definitely winning Region XV while at Suffolk County Community College last season and then playing in the NJCAA College World Series in 68 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 Tyler, TX. I was named Region XV player of the year (2009) and was a named to the First Team NJCAA All-American, leading the nation with 107 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched, and an ERA of .98. You have been in the Minor League system for a year now; how has your life changed over the past year? Has it been both posi‑ tive and negative? Life in the Minors has been great so far. I have made so many good friends and met so many people who have and will further affect my life in so many ways. Over the past year I truly learned the meaning of hard work. After my first three starts of the season, I was put on the DL to rehab some partial fraying of my shoulder of my in the labrum and rotator cuff. During that time I was at the field by 6:00 am every day. I would workout, do my pfp’s, conditioning, and my rehab until game time. Those were some of the longest days of my life (so far), but I would not trade them for anything, I was getting paid to do something I love. How would you describe life on the road in the minors? How do you adjust? Life on the road is definitely an experience all on its own. You take bus trips, sometimes over 10 hours to get to a stadium, and sometimes you are on the road for weeks at a time. Fast food is king while you are on the road. When I am starting, I like to get to the stadium a few hours before the game. I love watching the teams warm up, it really gets me focused on the game and gives me a chance to watch the other team’s hitters take batting practice and I can study their tendencies. About 30 minutes before game time I’ll start to run, stretch, and long-toss. After that, about 15 minutes before the game, I head to the bullpen and start throwing. I will always end my bullpen right before the opposing pitcher throws his first pitch of the game, to give myself a one inning rest period and to acclimate myself to the game. Best and worst moments in the minor leagues so far? I really love everything about the minors. I have had so many great moments already, but the best had to be picking up the win on the 4th of July John Mincone in front of a packed house at the Texas Rangers’ Spring Training Stadium. It was the first time I had pitched in front of a crowd that size and it was the most fun I have ever had on a field. I can’t really call anything my worst moment. I’m getting paid to do the one thing I love. If I had to choose it would be getting put on the DL. I hate missing starts, but I put my work in and was able to throw in games again for Instructional League games last September. What do you miss most about being at home on Long Island? I miss my family and my girlfriend a lot. I know they all support me in everything I do and I love them all for always supporting me. God has really blessed me with an amazing family. You have really had some incredible experi‑ ences and accomplishments, who would you say is your biggest influence in baseball? I truthfully can’t pinpoint. My father has taught me everything I know about the game, but my Need a New Contractor? · Dormers · Extensions mechanics and mental makeup are sort of a hybrid from my grandparents, my dad and my little league coaches. I am so fortunate to have great coaches in the past and present, I have been able to take bits and pieces from everyone and develop who I am, what I do and how I do it today. John, we can’t thank you enough for talking with us. We wish you the best for the 2010 season. Keep us posted and let us know where we can see you play ball! Don’t let those other guys waste your time. · Decks · Windows · Custom-Built Homes · Kitchens & Baths · Basements · Electrical · Vinyl Siding www.ambassadorhi.com · State-Of-The-Art Home Automation Call for a free in-home estimate 4250 Sunrise Hwy. · Massapequa Licensed, Insured & Bonded · Check Our Credentials! Call The Better Business Bureau at 516-420-0500 or www.NewYork.BBB.org 516.799.0040 E-mail Us At: email@example.com Players spotlight BY Brett Mauser KEVIN NIETO It’s one last trip around the bases for Kevin Nieto. For three seasons, he’s done as much, if not more, than almost any player in Manhattan College history, and by the time he’s done, it will show in the Jasper record books. Hits, runs, steals, he’s in the mix and could very well end up on top of the leaderboard, surpassing even his brother Eric, an ’08 graduate, who’s largely responsible for each playing their college ball in Riverdale. But more than individual milestones, Nieto is chasing the one piece of hardware that his brother has but he does not: a MAAC Tournament championship. The past two years, the Jaspers have captured the conference regular season title only to fall short. The shortcomings still resonate with Nieto. He’s hoping this season, his final season as a collegian, will be different, as the Jaspers return seven starters and an experienced pitching staff. “In high school, my brother won the state championship; I came up short,” said Nieto, who followed his brother north two years after Steve Trimper, the former head coach at Manhattan, lured Eric to Riverdale. “Here at Manhattan, he won the tournament and went on to beat Nebraska, and we haven’t won it yet. I have a couple more personal accomplishments, but he has the great team accomplishments that I want to achieve. It definitely motivates me.” Copyright © Manhattan College Athletics In three seasons, Nieto’s done just about all that has been asked. His junior year numbers were staggering. The Miami native led all of Division I by averaging 1.57 runs per game and set a MAAC single season record with 72 runs altogether. Moreover, he led the conference in slugging percentage (.754) and finished in the top five in home runs (13), total bases (141), on-base percentage (.480) and stolen bases (25). He has been named All-MAAC three times and was also selected to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-America Third Team. 70 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 M A N H AT TA N Even though Nieto and company won a school record 35 games during the regular season and were seeded first in the MAAC tourney, they dropped to Canisius and Marist on day two, to be sent home early. It’s left much to be desired in 2010. This year, the Jaspers were voted the preseason favorites in the conference, and he gathered his share of individual accolades, including conference preseason player of the year. He also entered the season just 31 hits short of tying his brother on the all-time hits list. It would be just one category in which Kevin Nieto ended up first. Still, his first conference tournament title in his last go-around would top it all. “We’re all working hard for it,” Nieto said. “That’s what we’re all focused on. It’s my senior year, it’s my last go at it, so I’m going to give it all I’ve got. I’m sure everyone else on the team is going to also.” And then there’s the other goal, to get taken in June’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. His production is undeniable, but it’s his stature, 5-9, 182 lbs, that casts doubt on his draft status. He’s aware of the question marks, and it’s a similar situation faced by his cast mates in the Jaspers’ starting outfield, Mike McCann and Mark Onorati, both 5-10, 175 lbs. Despite that, they pile up numbers that stack up against the best outfields in the country,all hit over .350 and slugged .500 or better in 2009. “This year, I’m just trying to have fun and do the best I can,” Nieto said. “If everything works out, so be it.” The Jaspers will spend the better part of their season jockeying for position in the MAAC Tournament, but ultimately, it will come down to winning that final game in the May Classic. That, at last, would fulfill the last part of Nieto’s storied collegiate career. “That is our College World Series,” Nieto said. “I’d trade everything just to be able to get a ring.” In this issue of Baseball Player Magazine, the spotlight is on Kevin Nieto, an accomplished senior outfielder from Manhattan College, and an up-and-coming sophomore pitcher from Stony Brook University, Nick Tropeano. NICK TROPEANO In one summer, Nick Tropeano came to realize that he didn’t have to nibble at the corners. He didn’t have to throw a first-pitch fastball but could choose anything from his arsenal in any order. He didn’t have to back down from anyone. His stuff was that good. Tropeano, a sophomore at Stony Brook University, had enjoyed an excellent freshman season last spring, leading the team with five wins and tossing four complete games. The real jump came during the summer with Hamptons Collegiate Baseball’s Riverhead Tomcats. His numbers landed him the pitching triple crown, first in the ACBL in wins (7), strikeouts (77) and earned run average (1.61). Tropeano earned the victory as the Kaiser Division’s All-Star Game starter in July and was ultimately named the league’s Pitcher of the Year. Once unclear, the strategy crystallized during the summer: go on the attack. “In the summer, I wanted to go out and do my best and throw what I have,” Tropeano said. “I wasn’t going to be scared. I wanted to throw my best pitches and see if they could hit it. I pretty much had a new mentality and I was working hitters backward, attacking hitters, throwing strikes and getting ahead.” “My coaches have said that my demeanor on the mound is much different,” Tropeano said. “I have much more confidence and that’s very key to have as a pitcher.” He’s hoping that the renewed faith in his repertoire will carry over to this spring when the Seawolves, third in the America East Conference last year, will once again count on him to deliver as a weekend starter. He went 5-1 with a 5.12 ERA as a freshman en route to a spot on the America East All-Rookie Team. His conquests included a fourhit shutout of New York Tech and a season-high eight Ks in beating conference runner-up Albany. Last spring and summer seasons drew the attention of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Tropeano will pitch for the Cotuit Kettleers along with, among others, right-handers Gerrit Cole (UCLA) and Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt), both of whom are considered high MLB draft picks in 2011 Tropeano’s goals are the same as his highly touted teammates, to pitch in the big leagues, and it’s been that way since he first picked up a baseball at age four. At West Islip High, Tropeano and the Lions won the Suffolk County Class AA championship his senior year, and he earned All-County, AllLong Island and third team All-State accolades. His teammates on that squad included another Seawolf standout, Pat Cantwell, as well as Rob Faulkner (Dowling) and Kyle Gelling (George Washington). He has two more seasons and the Cape campaign before he becomes draft eligible, and one source, Perfect Game, has pegged him as a mid-round draft pick (rounds 11-25). Tropeano admitted he is by no means a finished product, after all, it’s baseball, and no one is. However, his season in the Hamptons inched him closer to where he wants to be. “I definitely have a better feel for how hitters are at the college level,” Tropeano said. “I feel like I can always get better, but I feel like I’m getting there. I just need to tweak a few things and keep working hard.” BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 71 Photo by: Bob O’Rourk What helped last summer was that he was able to throw to his college catcher, Justin Echevarria,who is a teammate at Stony Brook. In addition to throwing his four-seam and two-seam fastballs in and out, he worked on throwing his slurve to lefties and his change-up in on right-handers. As a freshman, he’d almost exclusively thrown his change to lefties and slurve to righties, so he anticipates he’ll keep batters off balance with the added dimension in his sophomore campaign. STONY BROOK s g n i n tr a I n ame, ll isn’t a g a b ft o s h f fastpitc allments o said that t few inst x e It’s been n e si th s p a on y of life. In hand. The t rs fi is it is a wa th se e girls, gs, you’ll the young m o fr s e Xtra Innin ing. t co m and inspir ation tha g ic n d ti e a d v ti d o an nts is m and pare co a che s Pitching 74 ditions P. n o C g Throwin 5 layer P.7 P e h t t Mee assoni Ashley M S amanth P.76 Ten Tips 7 tpitch P.7 s a F t u o Facts Ab itz a Yo dow erger Ellen Schu Photo by SO FT BALL BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 73 Throwing In by Julie Soviero Different Conditions The weather in the Northeast provides many challenges with its unpredictable ways. Pitchers can be effective in all types of conditions if they consider the following: In rain or very humid conditions... It is very important to get a solid grip on the ball. This can be accomplished through use of a rosin bag, but getting the fingers gritty with dirt will also provide excellent traction. Proper use of the seams on the ball will help produce better control of a damp surface. Remember, when the air is very humid, it is much harder to throw breaking pitches, so be smart about locating the ball in the zone. Finally, keep a towel on hand to ensure that the ball and your fingers will be as dry as circumstances will allow. In very cold conditions... Thin layers are necessary so as not to diminish the range of motion in the throwing arm. Bulky sweatshirts are best utilized in between innings. Handwarmers are an invaluable asset in the cold weather and can be kept in the pocket and used as often as necessary to keep good circulation and help with the grip. Some pitchers also like to blow on their fingers in cold conditions, which will give the fingers a little more moisture if conditions are cold and dry (or for slightly different effects on the spin). In extremely windy conditions... Stop fighting nature! If a pitcher is on the mound and the wind is blowing back in her face, she will get annihilated if anything is left high in the zone. The wind is at the batter’s advantage here. If the wind is blowing to her back, she will probably feel like her speed rivals that of Nolan Ryan and there are very few limitations on pitch placement. If the wind is accommodating to a curve or slider, that may be a more functional pitch that day. Other days a strong wind might favor a screwball or inside fastball. Most outfielders will throw a few blades of grass up in the air to determine how the wind will affect the trajectory of the ball. A pitcher should be mindful of the same considerations. SO FT BALL 74 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 Meet the Player Ashley Massoni by Lauren Jaeger At 14 years-old and already 5’10, Ashely Massoni has developed not only a love for the game of fastpitch, but a 59 mph fastball to go along with it. I was able to sit down with Ashley and get to know a little more about her off field as well as where the love of the game started. It was in fourth grade that Ashley’s best friend asked her to play on her softball team, and from that moment life hasn’t been the same. Now a member of the “She is an intimidating mix of speed, height and spin. She will only continue to improve as she gets older.” - Julie Soviero, pitching coach, Flawless Fastpitch ©North Photography Levittown Athletic Club Slammers 16U team (playing two years up), Ashley excels from both the mound and first base. Last season, Ashley was a part of the LAC Slammers 14U team that for the first time in LAC history won the 2009 Babe Ruth State Championship. Throughout the four-game championship series Ashley compiled 33 strikeouts and memories of a win that will last forever. “I have so much fun when I am playing,” Ashley exclaimed, “I love the challenge of facing a batter and striking them out, it’s a really cool feeling.” The LAC Slammers finished the 2009 season with a record of 41 wins and 6 losses and went undefeated during the fall NJBL season. Birthday: Favorite softball memory: Favorite Pitch: Pitch Speed: Hardest Pitch to throw: 12/20/95 Pitching the winning game of the 2009 Babe Ruth State Championship Fastball 56 to 59 mph Change-up When you’re on the mound at the start of a game, what is running through your mind? I zone out all the screaming and voices and focus on the catcher, the batter and the game. What would you say to the young girls out there that are thinking about playing softball? The game is fun and exciting. There is a competitive side and there’s a fun side to the game. You make a lot of new friends that you become very close to, they become your sisters and their family becomes your family. SO FT BALL BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 75 Photo by Ellen Schuerger With Samantha Yodowitz, two-time All-American Second Team selection & National Pro Fastpitch league pitcher. 1. 2. 3. 4. When doing drills in the T position, always make sure you stay on your power line. Work on your wrist snaps on a daily basis! They can be done anywhere. Stay focused during bullpen sessions. They are crucial for game day performance. If you try to over throw or “muscle” the ball, you will lose movement. Rely on your wrist and hand to do the work. 5. During games always know your count and be on the same page as your catcher by communicating between innings. 6. Be sure your catcher knows how you feel and what pitches may or may not be working that day. 7. If it seems like the ball is moving a little slow, try increasing your arm speed and leg drive. 8. Have a goal set for each bullpen, there is always something to work and improve upon. 9. Always make sure you have command over your fastball. It’s the easiest pitch to spot. 10. If you throw a bad pitch, never let it affect your next one, shake it off. SO FT BALL 76 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 Facts About Fastpitch Did You Know... NCAA Most Career Strikeouts belongs to Monica Abbott, University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers, 2004-2007 with 2,440. • In the past, an underhand toss or even a modified fastpitch were acceptable, but now, the windmill rotation is the only accepted pitching style. • There are 1,897,000 softball (fastpitch) participants in the U.S., with 649,000 participating 52+ times per year. • Fastpitch is the third most popular team sport for high school girls. • There are over 932 collegiate fastpitch programs (Division I, II & III) in the U.S. with over 16,600 student athletes. • 58% of all softball (fastpitch) participants are under 25 years old. • Fastpitch softball was first introduced as a medal sport at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. It is sad to note that the International Olympic Committee decided to discon‑ tinue softball as an Olympics sport after the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. • The average fastpitch pitch speed is 65 mph. The fastest pitch on record was at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and was clocked at 73.3 mph. • Softball became a NCAA sanctioned sport in 1910. ©iStock Photos • SO FT BALL BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 77 Baseball Player Magazineâ€™s 1 3 2 4 5 7 6 8 9 11 10 12 14 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 30 32 Visit www.baseballplayermagazine.com for answers Crossword by Ellen Schuerger 78 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE SPRING 2010 Nicknames,Trivia & Facts Across 3 4 6 8 10 13 15 16 17 19 20 22 23 25 26 27 29 30 Big Papi - David _____ Has pitched most no hitters Reggie Jackson Frank Thomas Most common wood in BB bats City of BB Hall of Fame Manufactures baseball mitts Has child named “Shea” 2009 College WS winner Baseball’s 1st D.H. - 1973 (NYY) Lou Piniella # of W.S. won by Brooklyn Dodgers Gary Carter Sultan of Swat Shape of infield Shane Victorino Popcorn treat in baseball song Father/son with 782 home runs 31 Edgardo Alfonzo 32 Phil Rizzuto Down 1 2 3 5 7 9 11 12 14 18 20 21 24 28 College with most National Championships Mariano Riviera No. of double stitches on baseball Mets Site of College W.S. Louisville Slugger is one Father/son with 1094 home runs Yankees The M&M Boys Oldest ML Ballpark in use Le Grand Orange - Rusty _____ Randy Johnson Hank Aaron Kings of Queens SPONSORED BY 255 Oser Avenue, Hauppauge, 631-434-6666 Contacts Want to hear more from those who brought you some of BPM’s Spring content? Feel free to reach out to them, and tell them BPM sent you. BASEBALL Running the Bases: 2B Matthew Lemanczyk Dave Lemanczyk’s Baseball Academy 516.599.7575 firstname.lastname@example.org Hitter’s Perspective Joe Francisco Performance Factory Baseball 631.777.7740 email@example.com www.PerformanceFactoryBaseball.com View Joe’s video at: www.YouTube.com/TeamFrancisco Pitcher’s Perspective Hector Duprey Sportset 516.536.8700 Hgduprey@yahoo.com www.sportsetrvc.com Need For Speed Mike Mitchell Mike Mitchell’s Prospect Performance Training 631.777.2077 firstname.lastname@example.org www.prospectsportsli.com Heater’s Corner Neal Heaton All Pro Sports Academy 631.286.5144 www.allprosportsacademy.com College Recruiting 101 Gayle Yodowitz All American College Planning 845.323.1701 email@example.com www.aacpzone.com SOFTBALL Xtra Innings Throwing Conditions Julie Soviero Flawless Fastpitch 631.737.0196 firstname.lastname@example.org www.flawlessfastpitch.com Ten Tips Samantha Yodowitz email@example.com Don’t forget to let BPM know what you think, email us at Info@BaseballPlayerMagazine.com Pulled Pork Sliders Serves 6 It’s the beginning of baseball season which means curve balls, fast balls and sliders, that’s Pulled Pork Sliders! You’ll be the hit of the tailgate party with these mini sandwiches. Your friends and family will leave wanting more! 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, 12-14 potato slider rolls, cooking thermometer Dry Rub 3 tablespoons sweet paprika 2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 tablespoon packed dark-brown sugar 1 tablespoon ground mustard 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt Directions: Combine the 5 ingredients in a small bowl, mix well. Sprinkle dry rub all over pork, press firmly. Tightly cover with plas‑ tic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours up to 24 hours. Cooking Instructions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove plastic around the pork, place in a roasting pan and bake for about 4-5 hours. Roast until pork is falling apart and registers 165 degrees in the thickest part. BBQ Sauce Makes about 1 quart 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 12 / Spanish onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes 2 chipotle chiles, packed in adobo sauce, minced (very hot, use 1 for less heat) 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 4 tablespoons cider vinegar 12 / cup unsulfured molasses Juice of 1/2 lemon Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper Melamine Platter, $8.95 Crate & Barrel. Directions: Heat oil over medium heat; add onion and garlic, cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chile, worcestershire, vinegar, molasses and lemon juice. Simmer over medium-low heat until reduced, about 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and carefully ladle sauce into a blender, purée until smooth. Repeat until all the sauce is pureed. Lightly season with salt and black pepper to taste. Keep warm. Alternatively, sauce can be refrigerated in a jar up to 2 weeks. Remove the pork from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Allow the meat to cool for 10 minutes. Take 2 forks and pull the meat into shreds. Put the shredded pork into a bowl and pour in 1/2 of the sauce and mix well, add more sauce if needed. To Serve: Spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom half of a bun and add your favorite toppings. Tips: For extra crunch, add shredded cabbage as a topping. Mango Salsa (In Season) (Serves 4-6) April is a great time to enjoy this sweet and juicy fruit which happens to pair perfectly with a salty chip! This salsa is a simple and quick addition to any pre-game bbq. 2 mango, peeled, pitted and diced 13 / cup small red onion, diced 14 / cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (seeds removed for less heat) 1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice Coarse salt, to taste Tortilla Chips Directions: In a medium bowl combine mango, onion, cilantro, chile, honey and lime juice. Season with salt. Refrigerate in an airtight container (up to one night). Serve with tortilla chips. Osaka Acrylic Glass, $3.50 Crate & Barrel. Trail Mix Tip: Peel mango with a vegetable peeler. Stand mango upright and slice down the sides until you reach the pit. Melamine Three Part Server, $7.95 Crate & Barrel. (Serves 6-8) (a.k.a. GORP - good old raisin & peanut) Is a great source of protein and energy for the big game. Who doesn’t enjoy a handful of dried fruit, chocolate & peanuts. Mix up a big batch and watch it disappear. 1 cup roasted peanuts 1 cup whole roasted unsalted almonds 12 / cup peanut butter chips 12 / chocolate chips or M&M’s 12 / cup dried cranberries 12 / cup raisins 12 / dried pineapple, chopped Combine the ingredients in a zip-lock bag and snack! Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Tip: Use any combination of your favorite nuts and dried fruits. For extra flavor and crunch add hulled sunflower seeds or roasted pumpkin seeds. Kristi Reilly is a private chef and owner of Ladle & Carafe, a catering business based in New York City. She’s passionate about cooking with seasonal & local products and supports the farm-to-table mission. Kristi also volunteers with Wellness in the School (WITS), a grass roots organization dedicated to children’s environmental health, nutrition and fitness in the New York City. public schools. All dishware available at www.crateandbarrel.com By Lauren Jaeger In The Dugout It is the effort and dedication of the coaches, both on and off the field, that unite a team and provide tremendous insight and inspir‑ ation for their players. In each issue of BPM we will honor one chosen coach who truly has a love of the game and for his team. Keith Osik has spent his life playing ball. He is now Head Coach at Farmingdale State College, where he took to the Rams to the 2009 College World Series for the first time in Farmingdale history. BPM got a chance to sit down with Coach Osik to ask him a few questions about his career so far. BPM: With over nine years on four MLB teams you certainly have had incredible playing experience. How has it been turning your playing career into a coaching career? To be quite honest, baseball is all that I have ever known; I have been playing since I was a kid. All of my coaches, Sal Mignano (SWR), Skip Bertman (LSU), Jim Leyland (Ptitsburgh), and Frank Robinson (Washington) have had a hand in my success as both a player and coach. The transition wasn’t difficult, it has truly been rewarding. It is a great feeling being able to give back and to share my experiences. BPM: What’s the best advice you ever received from your coaches while playing ball? All of my coaches expressed the importance on the “right way” to play the game. By that, I mean that you learn to respect the game and players foremost. You realize that you are there to play the game hard, always hustle, and have no excuses. They taught me how to act and play like a baseball player, both on and off the field. I learned that the little things matter. BPM: How about a highlight of your major league career? And your coaching career? The highlight of my Major League career was definitely being able to walk into the club house on a daily basis. In my coaching career, it was being apart of the NY State Regional Championship and then going on to the College World Series. BPM: Leading the Rams to the 2009 Division III College World Series for the first time in Farmingdale history is impressive, congrat‑ ulations to you and the team. How did it make you feel as a coach? It was an incredible feeling for me and the coaches. At the NY State Regional game, we were blown away by how our players performed. All of the training, sweat and tears seemed to pay off all at once. We couldn’t have been more proud of the team. BPM: Can you give coaches a few tips or tricks you have learned along the way so far? I think the best advice I can give is for coaches to remember how tough the game really is. It is important to make sure your practice time is broken into small groups and that you keep every player involved. Photo Courtesy of Michael G. Baron Photo by Joseph D. Sullivan Keith Osik Head Coach Farmingdale State College Rams Who is Coach Osik? Osik is a Long Island native, a Shoreham-Wading River gradu‑ ate and the 1987 recipient of the prestigious Carl Yastremski Award as the Most Outstanding Baseball Player on Long Island. Osik went on to attend Louisiana State, where he became the first college baseball player in over 100 years to play all nine positions in one game. Osik was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 24th round of the 1990 amateur draft and made his official MLB debut on April 5, 1996. Spending just under a decade playing in the Major Leagues, Osik played with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles. In 2005, Osik transitioned from player to coach, heading back to Long Island, when he was ap‑ pointed the head coach position at Farmingdale State College.