Guest Spot: Many thanks from a grateful Osprey

08/10/2013 8:00 AM |
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork players posing for photos with the trophy they won as the first Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League champions.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork players posing for photos with the trophy they won as the first Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League champions.

As a player on the North Fork Ospreys, I want to thank all the people who made our summer baseball experience so special. If every person is defined by the communities they belong to, then the Osprey baseball players have been extraordinarily fortunate.

Thank you to our coaches: manager Bill Ianniciello, pitching coach Chris Morris, assistant coach Mike Czenszak, and general manager Jeff Standish, who spent the better part of their summer helping us play at our peak. They helped us with our hitting, our fielding and our pitching. They taught us to be gracious when we won and to be humble in defeat.

Thank you to our wonderful host families. Your kindness, hospitality and generosity made us feel like we were part of your family. Our host families came to our baseball games, cheered for us and made us feel special. They made our favorite meal before a big game. They brought ice-cold Gatorade and frozen grapes to the baseball field during the never-ending heat wave. They made us feel welcome in their homes when we came home dirty, sweaty and tired. Our host families showed us nothing but kindness, and they will always be a part of our lives.

Thank you to all our fans and supporters at our games. We appreciate you coming to see us play and always cheering for us. We love that our fans took time out of their busy days to support us. They knew all of our stats, and all of our nicknames … “Meat Truck,” “Bama,” “B,” “Sunscreen.” Some of our fans even picked up our bill at O’Mally’s. That is extraordinary.

Thank you to all the people who cooked for us after every game. The food was excellent and we ate a lot. We were rewarded when we did really well … and even when we lost, there was always great-tasting food and really nice people at our sides.

Thank you to all the people who take care of the Ospreys’ home field. It was always in immaculate condition and the pitching mound was perfect. Thank you to all the announcers, the people who produced the audiocasts, the broadcasters, the statisticians, and the DJs who made our games that much better. Thank you to the talented singers who made the national anthem sound so spectacular. Thank you to the doctors and EMTs who came to our games and tended to our injuries.

Thank you to the bus company that makes our trips to the other fields so comfortable.

Thank you to the generous supporters of this league that keep it alive. Thank you to all the local gyms that allowed us to work out in your facilities. Thank you to all the delis, the restaurants— especially O’Mally’s and the Magic Fountain ice cream shop — that served great food and are all so friendly. Thank you to all the people who publish the pocket baseball schedule, the team yearbook and the newsletters. Thank you to the people who manage the Hamptons Baseball website, your up-to-the-minute reporting, stats and photos were awesome. Thank you to the photographers, who took the amazing action shots, and the writers, who covered our games and were able to file a well-written article within hours.

Thank you to The Suffolk Times for covering the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League’s games in your fine newspaper. There is nothing better than reading a professional account of the latest victory. We loved when our photos were included in the story. They were awesome.

I apologize if I have missed anyone who made our stay on the North Fork so special. We appreciate everything that this amazing community has done for our team.

There is magic in baseball, and there is definitely love and kindness all over the North Fork.

Cody Johnson is a sophomore pitcher at Fordham University and a native of Sea Cliff, N.Y. He finished the summer season with a 2-1 record and a 3.29 ERA in eight starts for the Ospreys. He filed this column on behalf of his teammates.