Found May 13, 2012 on
Fox Sports Ohio:
CINCINNATI His name is Mike Costanzo and he is prepared, he knows it is going to happen, and he has steeled himself for the verbal onslaught.
The Cincinnati Reds play five games in New York this week two against the Mets and three against the Yankees.
And Costanzo knows it is inevitable that fans will be calling him Lord of the Idiots, a description of TV sitcom star George Costanza from Seinfeld.
I hear it all the time and I know Ill hear it a lot in New York, Costanzo said with a smile. There is only one letter difference my name ends in o and his ends in a.
That the baseball Costanzo will be in New York is a fabulous story, a tale of a long odyssey in which it looked as if the 28-year-old infielder might never tread the turf of a major-league baseball field.
His time finally came this weekend when the Reds placed Scott Rolen on the disabled list and Costanzo was called up from Class AAA Louisville.
And to think he might have put his baseball career in jeopardy himself when he came out of college displays his courage and maybe stubbornness.
The Philadelphia Phillies drafted him in the second round of 2005, but he quickly ended up in the Baltimore system. The Orioles knew he had pitched in college and wanted him to pitch instead of play his preferred third base.
Am I a pitcher? No, said Costanzo. I pitched in college, but never pitched in professional baseball. They asked me to pitch, but I said no, so the Orioles released me.
Asked why he didnt want to pitch, Costanzo smiled and said, Because I can hit. I like playing every day and I like hitting.
So was it quitting time? No way.
Costanzo signed with Camden, N.J. in the independent Atlantic League, waiting to be rediscovered. It didnt take long.
I played independent ball for two weeks and the Reds saw me and picked me up, he said.
That was in 2010 and he has since bounced between Class AA and Class AAA in the Reds system, never getting a sniff at his first major-league uniform after, for six years, wearing uniforms that said Batavia, Clearwater, Reading, Norfolk, Bowie, Camden, Carolina, Peninsula and Louisville.
Wasnt there a period when he considered taking up a profession with a future?
Ive never thought once about quitting baseball, he said. It actually never popped into my head. But being 28 and playing in Triple-A for five years makes you wonder sometimes, but I never really wanted to stop playing.
But thinking about when the chance will come is an every day occurrence, he said. A lot of guys never get the chance. For me to get it is unbelievable. The best thing was when I called my parents (in Glen Mills, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia). It was pretty awesome.
What a great Mothers Day present. His parents boarded a plane from Philadelphia to Cincinnati, hoping to see their son make his major-league debut on Mothers Day.
Although he wasnt on the 40-day roster, Costanzo made himself visible during spring training games when several times he was summoned from minor-league camp to play in major-league exhibition games.
And, actually, he caught manager Dusty Bakers eye two years ago.
I saw him in spring training two years ago and told him, I like your stroke, said Baker. I wondered how come he hasnt played at a higher level for a longer period of time. You always want to see somebody reach their goal no matter what age they are.
I liked his stroke, but they say he needs some work around the bag, Baker added. They say he has a real strong throwing arm. Hell get an opportunity here. Hes aggressive, thats what I like.
Costanzo cant wait for his first occupation of the batters box after absorbing the major-league atmosphere during spring training and now dressing in a big-league clubhouse.
A lot of emotions are running through my head right now, he said. It has been a pleasant journey for me and Im ecstatic being here. Right now Im in a good routine, a good rhythm and every day I went on the field and busted my butt and Ive been on a good stretch.
His gratitude is high for the time Baker permitted him to bump hips with the big team during spring training.
It was great going over there getting the atmosphere, even though it was a lot more laid-back because it was spring, he said. But just being around the guys every day and seeing what it takes was an awesome experience.
Now he awaits the George Costanza jokes and his first major-league at-bat, whichever comes first.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Saturday was a night to forget for all teams in the Cincinnati Reds organization as five squads set out in search for victories and none emerged successful.
Lehigh Valley 5, Louisville 3 F/10
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Joey Votto made history yesterday, and Cooperstown took notice. Though his three-homer performance against the Washington Nationals wasn’t a first (heck, Votto has done it before himself), it was the first time one of those three home runs was a walk-off grand slam.
The … [visit site to read more]
Joey Votto hit a grand slam in the ninth inning for his third home run of the game, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a rain-delayed 9-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.
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Here's the last of Joey Votto's three home runs on Sunday. I'm still in awe. The guy is simply amazing.
Well, it's a good thing Bryce Harper got his frustrations out on Friday night. Harper suffered through another tough night at the plate on Saturday (0-4, 1K, 5 LOB), capped off by a three pitch strikeout to Aroldis Chapman (99 MPH foul, 87 MPH foul, 100 MPH whiff).
(Screengrabs via MASN/MLB.TV)
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