What a contrast? Just yesterday morning, I interviewed some of Long Island's top baseball players on the beach in Juan Dolio of the Dominican Republic. The sun was bright, a cool early morning breeze keeping the temperatures in the upper seventies. All were in agreement that there was no better place to be than right where we were in the Dominican. Riverhead lefthander Matt Crohan wasn't looking forward to pitching again out in eastern Suffolk County in the cold weather. St. Anthony's righthander Jake Kurz wasn't looking forward to another bullpen workout -- indoors. No one wanted to return to the wet and the cold.
"I could see myself settling down around here," laughed Smithtown East rightfielder Alex Indelicato, who drew the attention of major league scouts with two long home runs. "Who would want to leave this island?"
The answer is so simple. No one wants to leave the sunshine for the brutal winter weather at home. But the spring training trip was over and it was time to fly back to the dreary winter that has dogged Long Island. I agree with all of them. It would have been a great thing to spend more time in the DR.
But here I am back in New York -- a very long way from the fun and sun in the Dominican. We flew into JFK and drove three hours to Albany for the state wrestling championships. I love the state wrestling championships -- the drama, the competition, it's awesome. I've been covering the tournament for 24 of the past 26 years. But I could do without the snowstorm that accompanied today's opening rounds. They delayed the opening round for about a half hour at the Times Union Center. Schools in the Albany area closed. We already have seven inches of fresh snow. We're expecting a foot.
So, 24 hours ago, I walked off the sandy beaches of the Dominican Republic, boarded a bus for the airport in Santo Domingo and flew back to another wintry mess. But I love wrestling and this tournament is second to none. This is what I do and why I love my job. Greetings from Albany!