The Stephen Piscotty news traveled fast among the faculty and office staff at Amador Valley High. The As brought the kid back home.
Its been nearly a decade since he graduated from Amador and established a legacy. Piscotty has gone on to bigger and flashier places, like Stanford and St. Louis, where hes earned some fame and a nice fortune. But in some ways, its as if he never left.
Amador Valleys starting pitcher Stephen Piscotty (#11) takes the mound against the Livermore High School Cowboys at home in Pleasanton, Calif., on Friday, April 4, 2008. (Cindi Christie/Contra Costa Times) In fact, show up on the right day during the fall or winter and you may find Piscotty there in a batting cage. Hes also been known to take some swings on the field, launching baseballs dangerously deep beyond the fences some classrooms have new windows to prove it.
When a social studies teacher whose classroom sits deep behind the left-center field fence heard Piscotty was traded to the As on Thursday morning, he got on the phone to speak with the schools custodian.
I told him Were going to need to get some protection for our windows, said Brett Bower, who has remained friends with Piscotty since they shared a Spanish class when they both attended Amador.
A visitor curious about Piscottys lasting impact at Amador can pop into the schools office almost any afternoon, or wander back to its baseball field tucked in a corner off Santa Rita Rd. Either place, youll find the same answers, delivered in the same reverent tones.
Folks here cant find enough kind words about that kid or his family. A large number of the Amador faculty have taught or coached at least one of the three Piscotty brothers, older brother Nick, Stephen and youngest brother Austin. Talk about one Piscotty and youre likely describing the others.
Stephen was special in high school, said Lou Cesario, who was Piscottys baseball coach and still holds that job at Amador. He was always one of those guys who was well-liked by everyone. Hes such a gifted person. Super intelligent, incredible work ethic.
All great players have at least a little bit of an ego, he said. With Stephen its like he has a hidden ego. Hes never cocky. He really doesnt like to talk about himself.
Cesario said theres some bittersweetness to the trade, though. As its been reported, one of the motivations for Piscotty getting dealt to the As was to bring him closer to his mom Gretchen, who was diagnosed with ALS in May.
They have a great, super close family and its an awful thing that Gretchen has, he said. It really puts things into perspective, because a lot of things dont matter when your moms sick.
Cesario was nonetheless happy the family can now potentially see both of the Piscotty boys play baseball on the same day, since Austin is a senior at Saint Marys College.
For the parents, its pretty cool that they can go to a 2 p.m. game at Saint Marys and then go through the tunnel and watch the As that night, he said. How cool will that be?
Mike Piscotty, the boys father, is one step ahead of Cesario. Hes checked both boys schedules and found a perfect time to watch them both.
Amadors Stephen Piscotty runs around the tag attempt of Granadas Garry Lenhardt to score in the second inning.<br />(Jay Solmonson/Tri-Valley Herald) One of the things Im most excited about is that we can go to Arizona and watch both boys, Mike Piscotty said. Saint Marys is playing at Arizona State in February, so we can go there and watch them and the As.
Cesario joked that hell be able to save a little money now that it will be easier to watch all of Stephens games since he moved from the Cardinals to the As.
Ill no longer need that MLB app, he said. I can get rid of that thing right now!
Bower is also looking forward to some changes. You see, before becoming a teacher at Amador, Bower also wore a major league baseball uniform while he was a batboy with the As. Growing up around major leaguers, Bower got a close look at how some of them mistreated people. But hes never seen Piscotty big league anyone, even back in high school.
Hes just always been a good person, Bower said. Hes never been one to blow anyone off.
Bower said during his six years working as a batboy with the As, Piscotty would attend games and sometimes come near the dugout to chat with him.
Im looking forward to going to some As games now and returning the favor, Bower said.