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Chasing Big-League Dreams

Despite dwindling odds, James Giulietti still hasn’t lost sight of his childhood dream of playing Major League Baseball. In fact, every summer the 25-year-old leaves his hometown on Long Island to chase that dream.

Giulietti, a left-handed pitcher from Plainview, plays for the Rockland Boulders, a Pomona, NY-based independent professional team not affiliated with MLB.

Playing in the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, away from the constant attention of big league scouts and general managers, his opportunity for career advancement is small. His paycheck is even smaller. And, at his age, he’s no longer considered a prospect. Yet, he hasn’t given up on his dream.

“People don’t realize that minor league players don’t get paid well,” said Giulietti. “We do this because we love the game, and we genuinely believe that we have what it takes to succeed — we don’t do it for the money.”

A 5’11”, 180-pound finesse pitcher, he relies on his location and off-speed pitches to get outs. He doesn’t overpower hitters, but he keeps them off balance.

“I like pitching because it’s very mental.” Giulietti explains. “My favorite part of it is analyzing my opposition’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Clearly, that is something the hurler does well.

After starring at Plainview Old-Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, Giulietti went on to pitch for Binghamton University. As a junior, he was the America East Conference co-pitcher of the year in 2010, amassing an 8-2 record and a 2.15 ERA, which ranked 13th in the nation. Overall, he amassed 21 wins and 192 strikeouts in 39 starts over four seasons.

“James always hated to lose, and he constantly looked for ways he could improve,” said his brother, Tom Giuletti. “He learned from his mistakes instead of letting them get the best of him.”

After college, James Giulietti attended a showcase for non-drafted collegiate baseball players in Detroit, Mich. and was offered a contract with the Edinburg Roadrunners, a professional independent baseball league team based in Texas.

Since then, he’s bounced around and is currently on his fourth team. In 2013, he went 4-0 with a 3.18 ERA to help the Wichita WingNuts to a division title.

Playing professional baseball can be overwhelming, but Giulietti says that his drive to play the game trumps the hectic schedule that goes along with it. To relieve stress, he enjoys watching movies and playing Hacky Sack.

Giulietti also enjoys spending time with fans. He says he’s amazed how much of an impact he has on his younger fans, and the admiration they show him inspires him to want to be a positive role model. In fact, his college teammate, Henry Dunne, says that being a role model is one of his most notable qualities.

“Role models are people that inspire you to progress not just as an athlete but as a person off the field,” Dunne explained. “James has the ability to encourage people with his words and with the way that he carries himself. He knows how to turn negatives into positives, and he inspires people to strive to do the same.”

Giulietti is involved with different types of charity work, such as volunteering to read to children and holding local fundraisers.

The best part of charity work, he says, is seeing how excited the children get over spending time with baseball players.

During the off-season, Giulietti stays at his home in Plainview where he also works as a manager at Hollister, a clothing store.

Ultimately, he is interested in going back to school or coaching. But, for now, he hopes to continue playing for a couple of more years. He adds, however, that minor league baseball is year-to-year because anything could happen. One year, a player could get injured, and that could be the end.

On the flipside, a player could have a breakout year and that could be the season he makes to the big leagues.

With that in mind, Giulietti’s focus is on getting better each year and remaining positive.

“Right now, I’m working on being the best I can be,” he said. “Everything else will fall into place.”

News

When it comes to food, New York is known for three things; pizza, deli sandwiches and bagels. Some of the best bagels are right here on Long Island. Plainview to be exact.

“When I was in eighth grade, I took a job at the local bagel store next to the high school,” said Steve Cohen, owner of Town Bagel in Plainview. “I still have that same job today, 36 years later.”

It’s hard to imagine that it’s Thanksgiving already. Is it me, or did we just celebrate? Halloween wasn’t even upon us and the stores were stocked with Thanksgiving and Christmas items. We say to ourselves, “each year, it comes earlier and earlier.” While some prepare to cook and figure out where to seat relatives to avoid arguments, others plan to dine out. To many of us, Thanksgiving means shopping on Black Friday. But for the few and far between who look forward to catching the latest film from the array released exclusively for the holiday weekend, the time has come to relish relaxation. Sit back and enjoy the weekend at the movies, while the deliciousness of turkey and stuffing is probably still digesting in your tummy.

The following movies opened on Nov. 26:

The Penguins of Madagascar (PG–92 mins)

The Penguins of Madagascar finally have their own movie. If you’re familiar with the previous Madagascar films, featuring the zoo animals and their adventures, then you already know the funny and lovable spy penguins. Packed with animated fun for the whole family, Skipper, Kowalksi, Rico and Private begin a journey as undercover agents to help stop the notorious villain, Dr. Octavious. New and returning voices include Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Tom McGrath, Christopher Knight, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and many more.


Calendar

Owl Prowl

Saturday, Nov. 29

Holiday Tea

Monday, Dec. 1

Art in the Afternoon

Wednesday, Dec. 3



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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