“The news we all probably assumed was coming, has indeed arrived, and we are not going to have a season,” John Jay baseball coach Geoff Curtis wrote to his players. “For our seniors, especially, I am deeply disappointed. And for the underclassmen, and for all of the families, who won’t get to watch us play and reach for our potential as a squad.”
He continued, “Seniors, I am so sorry that you won’t get your shot — the chance to make this season yours. The memories we’ll miss would have been cherished. There will be different ones, to be sure, but being on the field together, competing 20-plus times just can’t be replaced. Disney? Bus trips? Goofy things players or coaches say. The laughter. The work. The games at the J. Road trip sandwiches. The team dinner. Slideshows. The camaraderie. The bond. All of it.”
Curtis added, “We should honor what has been lost because it’s significant and a personal gut punch to miss this precious thing that we all share or would have shared.”
Like any good coach, though, Curtis looked to the future.
“But then, and I hope you’ll do this, too, I’m going to start looking forward to the next time I get to be on a field, or at a baseball game because there will be a next time -- even if it’s a different ‘next time’ than the season we all wanted and expected,” he said.
In all, Curtis expected nine seniors to suit up for Jay this spring — Chris Castellon, George Lombardi, Brandon Beame, Michael Fassert, Jeffrey Alper, Joey Pink, Michael Giardina, Christian Dinallo and Greg Fries.
For Castellon, who will be attending Indiana University, his favorite Jay moment was his first varsity appearance.
He said, “Enjoy every minute because it goes by fast.”
Lombardi, who is undecided on a college destination, advised, “Cherish every moment you get in this program. They tell you when you make the team that these four years will go by in the blink of an eye.”
Beame, known as ‘Beamer,” will attend the State University of New York at Binghamton, has a pair of favorite memories.
“Getting my first varsity at-bat and getting a hit and game ball at the end,” he said. “and, freshman year, Florida, night game and I came in to pitch and throw extremely well, not allowing a run and even striking out a few. Then I hit a clutch double later in the game.”
Fassert will head to Lehigh University in the fall and his favorite Jay memory came in the JayFest game his sophomore year.
“We were playing Fox Lane and overcame a huge deficit to get the extra inning win,” he recalled.
Meanwhile, Alper, also a future Indiana Hoosier, will always remember “catching high pops.”
“Try your best and have fun,” Alper said.
Pink, bound for Richmond University, also recalled his pitching in the JayFest game against Fox Lane in his sophomore year as a favorite memory.
“Appreciate every day you get to play whether it’s a big game or an early morning practice,” Pink said.
Giardina has set high aspirations for himself as a future MLB star. He will always remember the Florida trips.
“Take full advantage of every second you have on the field because you never know when it can get taken away from you,” Giardina offered as advice.
Dinallo will play baseball and football at Ursinus College.
He said he will always remember his seventh-grade undefeated modified baseball team at Jay.
He advised future players to “keep your head down and work hard.”
Finally, Fries plans on attending SUNY Oneonta.
“So many fun times, but I’d have to say my favorite memory would be our evening practice in Florida with the coaches’ home run derby,” he said. His advice: “Always give 110%.”
The spring without the seniors left Curtis a bit melancholy.
“Seniors, thank you for everything,’ the coach said. “The reason we coach is to work with people like you.”