Outfielder Reid Gorecki, 31, is back in baseball. And for the first time in his 10-year professional career, the East Rockaway product and Kellenberg graduate is playing at home. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round of the 2002 draft, he spent six seasons with the organization before being released in 2008. The following year, Gorecki reached the big leagues with the Braves, going 5-for-25 in limited duty. In 2010, he split time between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the Yankees organization. After taking the 2011 season off, Gorecki joined the Ducks for his first stint in independent ball.
After taking a year off, what was the deciding factor in you coming back?
"I missed it. I got away from the game for a little while and cleared my head. Honestly, I just missed being around the guys."
What are your fondest memories from your time at Kellenberg?
"I loved playing quarterback out of the shotgun with a running-type atmosphere. Baseball was our thing. We liked to beat up on Chaminade, [teammate Kraig] Binick's boys and all of those guys. High school was the time of our lives. We were trying to get to that next level."
"I could not have asked for a better place to get my first hit. I would have liked to be playing for the Mets. I grew up watching the Mets. But it was a dream come true playing with guys like Chipper Jones, guys I grew up watching and hating. Playing with him, though, was just awesome."
"My family and friends were all there supporting me. I felt like the whole stadium was there rooting for the Braves that day."
What are some of your recollections of playing in the Yankees organization?
"In spring training, just being around all of those big stars: A-Rod, Jeter, Robinson Cano. My locker-mates were Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. I got to pick Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson's brains every day, just trying to see what it was like when they were playing. I could not have been around a more spectacular group of players at that point in my career."
Nastiest pitcher you've ever faced?