Editor's note: Community journalist Brittany Wait is chronicling the efforts of Long Islanders to check off an item on their bucket lists. If you have a suggestion for the video series, contact Wait at email@example.com.
A die-hard Yankees fan, Nick Devito, 79, never forgot his most devastating loss on the field. Growing up, his Little League team was eliminated from a tournament one game shy of making it to the championship round at Yankee Stadium.
He has wanted to throw a pitch at a professional baseball stadium ever since. On Aug. 27, the Long Island Ducks gave him that chance.
Stepping up to the pitcher’s mound, Devito nervously fiddled with the baseball. Moments later, he dug his shoe into the dirt, wound up and threw the ball toward home plate, where Ducks co-owner and former New York Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson was there to catch it.
"It was his dream to play at Yankee Stadium. He was an awesome player when he was younger and he never got that chance," said Steven Ruthen, Devito's grandson, adding that his grandfather passed his love of baseball on to him.
“My wish then was well to be a professional baseball player first of all, but when it was determined I wasn’t going to, I’ve always wanted to throw a pitch out at a professional baseball game and today that came true,” said Devito, originally from Commack and now a resident of The Bristal assisted living in East Northport, which helped to set up the opportunity. “I’ll remember it for whatever remaining years I have.”