January 11, 2012

The Steve Nicosia Story

Steve Nicosia, 1985 Topps

“GET YOUR ELBOW UP!” is what my dad would be yelling right now if he were Steve Nicosia’s dad instead of my dad and if Steve Nicosia were playing Little League ball instead of Major League ball. If my dad was still my dad but Steve Nicosia was on my Little League team, my dad would be yelling, “Lookin’ good, Stevie boy! Hum-batta-batta, let’s go Stevie!”

Let’s find out what the back of this Steve Nicosia card has to say re: Steve Nicosia:

What club’s pitching staff posted 17 shutouts to lead the N.L. in 1984?

Steve Nicosia?

(Turns card upside down …)

San Diego Padres

I am disappointed. Let’s go to Steve Nicosia’s BR Bullpen page to find out more:

Nicosia was a pitcher early in high school. As a sophomore, he threw in one game.

Steve Nicosia was a pitcher in high school. One time, he pitched in a high school baseball game. This is the beginning of our trip down Steve Nicosia lane, and I have to admit, I am thinking of turning around.

He hit batters with his first two pitches, walked the next batter on four, then allowed a grand slam on the next.

Kind of like a {least favorite pitcher on your favorite team} start! ZINGER!

He later recalls "I could see I probably wasn't going to make the big leagues as a pitcher...I couldn't even make the second inning."

If I had that type of outing, I wouldn’t be thinking, “Aw shucks, guess I won’t be in the big leagues as a pitcher!” I’d be like, “Get me out of here I hate baseball I think I’m going to be an artist I feel like crying but everybody is looking at me I am going to transfer to a different high school.”

He transferred to North Miami Beach High School the next year, which had just opened across the street from where Steve was living. Nicosia volunteered to catch for the team, opening his path to pro baseball.

I mean, hey—it’s right across the street! How can you not transfer there? Especially since you can volunteer for the team instead of undertaking the burdensome endeavor of trying out, and thus gain community service hours.

Now, if I am creating “The Steve Nicosia Story” movie for the Disney Family Channel, I am loving this sort of interesting and self-deprecating anecdote regarding his early baseball life. The only thing that would make it better would be if it were followed-up by some sort of fish-out-of-water story once he makes it to the bigs.

Steve had never seen snow, having grown up in Florida, and he got excited when the temperature in Rocky Mount, NC fell to 25 degrees while the team was there. Teammate John Candelaria sprayed fire extinguisher foam over the swimming pool in the motel where they were staying and convinced Nicosia it was snow. Steve later recalled "If you've never seen snow before, a lot of things could be snow. It was white and it was yet [sic]...You ever try to make a snowball with fire extinguisher foam?"

I’m calling b.s. I’ll give you that he never saw snow before, fine. But c’mon. I’ve never seen Mars before, but if someone put a giant red ball in a motel swimming pool and told me it was Mars, I’d be like, “Go back to bed, Candelaria you idiot!” What, Nicosia never saw snow on TV, or didn’t possess the basic human knowledge that snow doesn’t fall in isolated 18’ X 36’ areas?

If you've never seen snow before, a lot of things could be snow.

Steve Nicosia: Hey, what is that thing on the ground? Snow?

Normal person: That is a bicycle.

Steve Nicosia: How did it get there then? Did it fall from the sky?

Normal person: Somebody put it there.

Steve Nicosia: A snowman, probably.

Normal person: No.

Steve Nicosia: What about that? Is that snow?

Normal person
: That is a mailbox.

Steve Nicosia: Hey, what is that white substance falling from the sky? Toasters?

Normal person: That is snow.

Also, what a dumb prank. Is there an old story about athletes or rock stars that doesn’t make hotel/motel management appear nonexistent or as a bunch of bumbling morons? It almost makes me wish the motel experienced a fire shortly thereafter, and as everyone scrambled around trying to locate fire extinguishers, Candelaria was outside in his underwear like, “Dorf! Me was playing snow pranks!” and then he had to pay out-of-pocket to build a new motel. This story makes no sense. It’s getting me kind of angry, actually.

He broke two ribs in a home-plate collision with Mike Scioscia, knocking him out of action for a spell.

Scioscia + Nicosia X collision = Collioscia!

That is all.


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Billy May said...

Great story about Nicosia.I especially the bit about the snow (even if it may be a bogus anecdote.)

tourist504 said...

This may be the funniest one I've read from you, Mike. Had to minimize and come back to it when I could control myself again.