How did you end up becoming a part of our Falcons program?
Before I became a Falcon, I was an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Bulldogs with Coach Charles working with their 12u Fall team. Charles approached me after my High School season was over and asked if I wanted to coach again the following Fall and I didn’t hesitate. Things clicked with Coach Charles and me right away and I ended up joining him again in the summer but this time with the Bulldogs 11u travel team. During that time in the summer Charles and I started talking about our own program and decided to give it a go in Fall 2018 with a Falcons 15u travel team. After that, we went all in and formed the Brooklyn Falcons where I became an assistant to Coach Charles on the nationally ranked 2019 11u team, Now I'm head coach on the 2020 11u team.
How tall are you? Were you always tall? And was that a good thing or bad thing in terms of baseball?
I am 6'5" but I wasn’t always this tall. I had a growth spurt on my 12th birthday where I just kept getting taller and taller, passing over everyone in my class. At first I thought being this tall was kind of weird until I started throwing the baseball a little harder.
What's your favorite memory or moment on a baseball field?
My favorite and most memorable moment I will have to say is pitching at Yankee Stadium for my high school in the championship game against Port Richmond where we won 7-3 in extra innings. I went 7 innings allowing just one earned run and striking out five to win the 1999 city championships.
What have you been doing to stay busy these past two months? Give our Falcon players one tip or suggestion for how to be productive or pass the time well during this lockdown.
During these past two months I’ve been staying home with my wife and kids doing kindergarten homework. I'll be honest: I never knew kids did this much in kindergarten.
I'm also looking over a lot of videos of MLB players, both hitting and pitching, and learning new techniques and drills to implement on my team. You're never too old to learn new things.
One thing I can recommend especially for pitchers is to work on your grip while you are in the house and see what feels comfortable, and if you have a chance to go outside, try throwing the ball with the new grip and see what happens. Maybe you'll find yourself with a new pitch you never knew you had that creates movement.
On days you were going to pitch, what was your pre-game routine?
The days I was going to pitch were the days I was most excited. I would actually visualize myself pitching in the game, even during class, I was imagining pitch sequences and going over my mechanics. Before the game I would sit in a corner of the dugout and watch the other team warm up, and visualize me striking them out -- even which of them I'd probably give up a hit to, and then how I'd work out of that. I’m not going to lie: I always had some type of butterflies In my stomach during warmups, but once I got out there and threw my first pitch, I was good to go.
Who was your favorite baseball player to watch and model yourself on when you were growing up? Why?
My favorite player to watch and imitate was Pedro Martinez. I loved to watch him pitch -- he always had such calm and focus on the mound and you could never tell if he was winning or losing. Pedro made me believe that you can accomplish anything you want if you put your mind to it and work hard for it. Even when teams wouldn’t sign him because of his height, he never gave up and worked hard to become who he is today -- A HALL OF FAMER!
Mets or Yankees?
100% Mets fan, I still Believe!
Favorite sport other than baseball? Favorite team?
I don’t really have another favorite sport other than baseball, nothing else really gets my attention. Maybe football and I would have to say Patriots.
What's the best advice you ever got from another player or coach that wasn't just for baseball but has guided you through life?
The best advice I received is to always be HUMBLE no matter what you end up doing in life. So I always try to remember that and be a caring, thoughtful and hard working person.
What is the funniest thing you ever saw happen on a baseball field?
The funniest thing I’ve seen on the field is a trick play we used to run back in high school. With a man on second base and two outs, the pitcher would fake a pickoff, and we would have the shortstop and second baseman both dive behind second base and the center fielder start running toward the fence. We got really good at putting all these dekes on and the runner at second would start booking toward third, and the pitcher would just toss the ball over to the third baseman and tag him out. It was hilarious to us when it worked, but maybe not so funny for the other team.