Written by Brianna Barbieri, email@example.com Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00
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.”