The last time Bryan Sabatella played baseball on Long Island with any regularity was in 2002. Then a 17-year-old senior at Shoreham-Wading River High School, he was a key player on a county championship-winning team.
In the 13 years since, the young outfielder’s playing career has taken him many places. There were the three seasons he spent at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., followed by stints playing for the Seattle Mariners organization in Washington State and Wisconsin.
Measuring the distance between him and his family in at-bats, the young outfielder continued his decade-long professional career playing independent league baseball in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and New Jersey before finally realizing after one season in Kansas that it might be time to retire.
He had logged more than 4,100 plate appearances in his career and was just one line drive shy of reaching 1,100 hits, but had never advanced past Class A ball. After a decade of being paid modestly to play the game he loved, Sabatella thought it might finally be time to put his college degree to use and embark on the next chapter of his professional life.
Then he received a phone call from the one place where he’d never gotten a chance to play: home.