Jeff Jackson Photo
Roswell Invaders from the East Coast include, from left, Louis Martini of Brooklyn, Jimmy Daley of New Jersey and Ryan Calby of Long Island.
By Jeff Jackson – Record Staff Writer
There’s a bit of New York attitude to this year’s Roswell Invaders.
Three players hail from the Big Apple area, and they’re loud, brash and they miss their giant-size pizza.
“East Coast swag. It’s a swag. That’s what it is,” says Brooklyn native Jimmy Daley, a pitcher. “I’ll speak for myself, very loud. I like getting in my brothers’ heads. I like screaming at them, getting them pumped up. I like that, making them laugh, making them smile because baseball’s fun. That’s what I like to do.”
Second baseman Louis Martini comes from Flemington, N.J., and pitcher Ryan Calby is from Long Island.
“People mostly talk about the accent and say that we have a [auth] little bit of an accent and it drags on a little bit, we say weird things. But at home I hear kids say things like that all the time. It’s normal. Here it’s a ‘hiya doing’ kinda thing,” says Calby, who is not only “a little out there” as a left-handed pitcher but also out there as a Long Islander, teammate Daley said.
“You gotta get it straight,” Daley said. “He’s from Long Island so he’s a little bit different. He’s a little outside. … That’s how it is. It’s just Long Island is long. That’s all it is. They’re their own state. I can get to him in 20 minutes, but when you’re from Long Island you’re not from New York. That’s weird how that works.”
Then there’s Martini, who’s taken on the head of the family role and brought the whole team together.
“We have some guys that are more laid back. I think from the Northeast, it’s predominately Italian, Irish. We just have an attitude, kinda of like go-getters. Like Jimmy said, we’re a little more outgoing. For us especially, our families are big. Like in an Italian culture, an Irish culture families are very big things, so we come here and we meet guys that are from where you’re from, you kind of bond and stick together and that’s what we’ve done and bring that atmosphere to here.
“Maybe to people that aren’t used to that, it’s kinda intimidating. Maybe at first, but I think we’ve created that culture and it’s helped us out a lot.”
Martini helped his team out a lot Tuesday with a three-run home run in the fourth inning to give the Invaders a 3-0 lead.
For Daley, if he can’t have his family here, has adopted his teammates as brothers.
“It’s a great experience. It’s a bond. It’s a family is what it is. There’s no other word to sum it up. You fight with your brothers every other day. ‘Who took your G.I. Joe, who took your cologne, your clothes, your underwear?’ It’s just like us. ‘Ah, you slacked. Pick it up. Let’s go. Let’s play baseball. Let’s have some fun.’ We’re a family. We’re a brotherhood.”
There had been a fourth member of their clique, but Joey LaCugna of New Jersey recently suffered an oblique strain and left the team. Immediately after a game earlier this season, LaCugna took the public address announcer’s microphone and delivered a rousing rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” that awed of players and fans.
“He’s a good singer. He got me. My blood was flowing on that one. You got to have fun in baseball. You can’t be serious in baseball,” Daley said.
All three East Coast players said there are aspects of home they miss and wish they could enjoy in Roswell.
“A nice Italian restaurant, maybe with some good Jersey-New York pizza and pasta,” Martini said. “It’s been hard to find that out here. It might be the water. We always say there’s something in the water. I don’t know what it is. No offense to any local businesses but you got guys talking about pizza around here, but if you want a nice slice of pizza come out to the East Coast.”
The Long Islander Calby also is longing for East Coast-flavor food.
“I’ll go with Long Island bagels. Bagels out here? I have not seen them. A bagel joint? Nothing. You got to go get the packages of 12, and that plastic just is not fresh. Not what I’m looking for. I want a nice Long Island bagel.”
Daley was more sentimental about what he misses.
“I’m gonna go a different direction. I’m gonna say my parents. I miss them. They’re my lifeline, my family. So if I could actually bring someone from home I’d bring my parents. That’s what I’d do,” Daley said.
Liguori baffles Pupfish
Lars Liguori pitched all nine innings to lead the Invaders past the first-place White Sands Pupfish 8-1 Tuesday night at Joe Bauman Stadium. The Invaders remained in third place in the Pecos League Southern Division.
Liguori (2-1) struck out eight batters and allowed seven hits and one earned run in the victory.
Offensively, Brett Balkan had three hits in four at-bats and drove in two runs. Louis Martini was 3 for 3 with three runs and three RBIs, and Nolan Meadows added two hits.
The two teams will continue their series at 6:30 tonight in Alamogordo and return Thursday to Roswell for a 7 p.m. game.
Reporter Jeff Jackson can be contacted at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or firstname.lastname@example.org.