When you’ve been away from home for an extended period of time, you look forward to reconnecting with family and friends. It’s what draws you to the place where you felt most comfortable. For Berlin, CT native Anthony Marzi, returning to his home state to play for the New Britain Bees has allowed him to do just that. This left-handed pitcher is making the most of his free time to enjoy moments with familiar faces as he plays to a home state crowd at New Britain Stadium.
Marzi began his baseball career at a young age, around five or six years old. Playing at such a young age allowed Marzi to expand his athletic ability to develop into a multi- sport athlete which included football and basketball through middle school. He’s tried his hand at swimming, ice and speed skating, and even gymnastics. According to Marzi, ice skating was the least favorite out of all the sports in which he participated.
Having the ability to play multiple sports helped Marzi to develop his skills as a pitcher. Ice skating and gymnastics taught him core and balance, both needed to pitch. “It’s a huge thing for kids growing up; being able to play multiple sports and not be drained by just one”, Marzi stated. Participating in a variety of sports was beneficial for Anthony due to “the different kinds of movements and new teammates you meet; it’s just a positive all the way around.”
Marzi may be correct when it comes to athletes focusing on only one sport. Both studies and numerous reports on young players and participants have shown that their talent or gift in one particular sport is often abbreviated by injury or damage. Due to improper training or overuse, a player is denied the opportunity to develop into his full potential. Recovery may or may not be possible, but precious time is lost in retraining. Sometimes an athlete never realizes what he could have accomplished if not for the medical issues he had to face.
Tommy John surgery is common in baseball for many pitchers across the leagues. On average, one-third of the major league pitchers will have Tommy John surgery this year. With the demand of parents to push their kids to the limit, it’s become common to find multiple radar guns at baseball showcases (Area Code and Under Armor) zeroed in on young arms throwing at maximum effort multiple times. This often proves to be unhealthy for their young, undeveloped arms.
Athletes as young as middle school age are having this procedure done. “Too many kids are playing this sport year round and it’s unhealthy”, Marzi stated. “You have to take some time off to allow your body to be put in different movements and different sports.”
Marzi had the right idea by playing multiple sports, but it also helped that he had some great role models to look up to as well. “I was a big Yankees fan growing up, but as I’ve been involved with just overall baseball itself I’ve become a fan of the game.”
Marzi did, however, have a couple of former Yankees greats he admired as a kid. “I loved to watch Derek Jeter play and Andy Pettitte pitch”, Marzi said with enthusiasm. “They played the game the right way both on and off the field.”
This young pitcher tried to mold his game after Pettitte, in particular. “I’d try to attack hitters and utilize my fastball to get the maximum amount of contact as possible.”
That attitude and multi-sport gift allowed Marzi to play for the University of Connecticut in division one ball, where he had the benefit of playing alongside current major leaguers Nick Ahmed (Diamondbacks), George Springer (Houston Astros), and Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox).
“It was beneficial and I was lucky in a sense to have been spoiled with such great talent like that (during my) freshman year”, Marzi said. “ We had eleven draft picks on that team, two first rounders and a second rounder. We were spoiled with riches and to be honest, 2011 was probably the best year of baseball in my life.”
Marzi had high praise for every player he played with, especially George Springer. “Everyone knew Springer would be a great ball player”, Marzi commented. “He was on track; that kid is such an unbelievable talent that people knew by his junior year that he’d be special.”
When asked about why 2011 was so special, the talented pitcher attributed it to UConn’s run in the NCAA tournament, beating Sacred Heart, Clemson, and Coastal Carolina. They then faced the eventual champions South Carolina Gamecocks, where they lost 5-1. Marzi almost couldn’t experience that run without losing his red shirt year.
“I had red shirted that year half way through and if they didn’t decide to take it away, I wouldn’t have been able to experience that journey and I’m grateful for that.”
Having played UConn baseball all four years proved to be beneficial for Marzi. He caught the eye of a Yankee scout, who signed him as an undrafted free agent.
“It was great”, Marzi remarked with excitement. “I put a lot of work and time in to get this position, and it being the Yankees made it awesome.”
Baseball is a tough game though, one in which you fail more than you succeed. Marzi knows that time is on his side. He is a young pitcher and a lefty at that. There is time for him to work on his craft and become the pitcher he believes he can be. He might not be similar to Andy Pettitte in the types of pitches he throws, his pick off, or overall physicality, but Anthony Marzi has one thing going for him. He’s as cool as the other side of the pillow, and that level-headed approach to pitching as well as his talent may be his ticket to the big leagues.
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