After 10 seasons in the minor leagues, Bryan Sabatella has finally made it back to where it all began -- Long Island.
The 2002 Shoreham-Wading River High School graduate and current Aquebogue resident has spent the past eight seasons playing independent baseball after first being taken by the Seattle Mariners in the ninth round of the 2005 draft.
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Sabatella played for the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association last season and signed with the Ducks in January.
Through Sabatella's first 34 at-bats, the 30-year-old outfielder has eight hits, six runs, three walks, and two RBIs.
What are some of your favorite memories coming to (what is now) Bethpage Ballpark as a kid?
My parents, Linda and Jim, had partial season tickets. They split them with a bunch of their co-workers. We came to eight or 10 games a year. I grew up watching the Ducks.
When you finally stepped on the field as a Duck during spring workouts, what emotions did you experience?
It was nice. I got the feeling of being back home. Playing against the Ducks a few years back, it felt weird being the bad guy in my home area. It's a comfortable feeling here. It's nice to be back home and have the comfort of my friends and family. The group of guys here is a good one. Everyone is fitting in perfectly. It's a good fit all around.
Are your parents excited to have you home all summer, for a change?
They are [laughs]. They've always been there for me. They've traveled around everywhere I've been. When I was out in Everett, out by Seattle, they actually got an apartment in Seattle. They've always traveled so this will be a nice short commute for them, for once.
What was the conversation with your parents like when you told them you were coming home?
They knew about it as soon as it was a possibility. They've always encouraged any decision. They've always been behind me. This one was right as soon as I heard it. Very rarely in a career does everything fall right, usually there are a couple bumps along the road. But, everything fell perfectly here. For me, it was a no-brainer and obviously they were excited for me and for themselves because they get to enjoy it, too.
Besides being a local player, what do you bring to the Ducks, on the field?
I'm just here to do whatever I can to help the team win. It's going to be a fun year. We have a lot of talent out here. Wherever everybody's piece fits into the puzzle, that's what we've got to do. The talent is there for sure. As long as everything on paper works out in real life, we should be in contention . . . I've been playing for 10 years and, as long as I can just do what I've always done, that's what my goal is, bring a little energy, score some runs, get some RBIs, steal some bases.
What are some of your best memories playing high school baseball on LI?
We won a county championship my senior year . I was our number one pitcher at the time. I had pitched the first round of the playoffs and, on two days rest, came back and threw a one-hitter in the county championship. I lost the no-hitter in the seventh inning on an infield single. That was a little bitter but, at the same time, it was a real good memory. Winning counties is the biggest deal you can have.
Next up: Sunday, Sugar Land at Ducks, 1:35 p.m.