A Blast from the Past; Baseball’s Alumni Weekend Activities

Players of past and present came together at Benedetti Diamond to play our Nation’s past time this weekend September 24th. They played for the sheer fun of re-uniting with old friends and having some small competitive fun, giving them a break to their now mundane adult lives and their daily grind of responsibilities and work.
The annual USF baseball alumni weekend featured 3 games: the “Blast From The Past” game of alumni who graduated in or before 1999, the “Alumni Classic” an old timers game featuring alumni grads pre-1999 and their walkers, and the “Alumni Game” featuring the very recent alumni and pro’s against the current team.
As a side dish to the festivities, there was an alumni social held at Kell’s Irish Pub according to usfdons.com and a barbeque on the terrace behind Hayes-Healy Dormitory that looks over the diamond from the third base line. Food and drink were plentiful as old friends reconnected and young players met the legends.
Alumni weekend is all about giving the chance for USF baseball’s alumni to “comeback, see each other, catch up, share stories, and see what they helped build,” Director of Program Development Matthew Hiserman said.
And Saturday’s game seemed just that. It was a full length game with just what head coach Nino Giarratano was hoping for: some base stealing, some defense, and even some home runs.
But it wasn’t about what the alumni have become on the field according to Hiserman. “Coach G has built a culture of sharing,” he said. “He wants to have current players give back to former players that lead the way.”
The coaches talked and cheered for the alumni as if they had never left: “2 more steps. You’re good right there,” one coach hollered to an alumni runner on second base, like he probably had only 4 years ago.
The house was barely what you’d call full. About thirty or forty close friends and family to the USF baseball program and its athlete’s scattered Benedetti’s bleachers. Free pizza and t-shirts back dropped what really appeared to be a social event even for some parents that have not seen each other since their sons played here at USF. “No, it is not a fundraiser and no money is made,” Hiserman said. “But it has great benefit to both the baseball program and athletic program because it helps create the bonds with our alums.”
The laughing and clowning around on the field portrayed a sense of fraternity that never spoils as the alumni players will always feel important to USF and as a part of the USF baseball tradition. However, there are some thoughts of finances hiding below the wide smiles and jokes. “Of course we hope this will benefit us financially in the long run,” Hiserman said. “But that is not the point.”
Amidst all the chatter around home plate and the hysterical laughter after one alum dropped a fly ball, the peacefulness and friendliness suggest this is more about “connecting” than “fundraising”.


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