By Annie Papadellis/Web Reporter
Out of all the ways to learn the game of baseball, Joe Maggi (University of Arizona) learned through backyard wiffle ball and imitating the swing of the Ken Griffey Jr., while playing with his two brothers growing up in Arizona.
“You always picked players [to imitate],” Maggi said. “And I always picked Ken. I’ve been impersonating him since I was little, trying to perfect [his swing] for a while now, and still working on it.”
Maggi came to the Falmouth Commodores after a solid sophomore season at the University of Arizona where he finished fifth on the team in offense with a .320 batting average and a .373 on base percentage. He additionally finished the spring season with an impressive .987 fielding percentage playing primarily in left field for the Wildcats.
The 5-foot-10 lefty had the summer off last year, and came to the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer awaiting new lessons and experiences.
“I found out at the beginning of last fall, my sophomore year, and knew throughout the entire year that I was coming to play on the Cape,” said Maggi. “Falmouth was a team I didn’t hear of before I came to the Cape, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect.”
Maggi didn’t expect the fun, competitive and close bond this year’s Commodores have created. The way the team came together, certainly took the left fielder by surprise.
“You go places and play summer ball and you expect a bunch of individuals come in and play for themselves,” Maggi said, “but everyone on this team has picked up a different way of playing.”
This summer on the Cape has exceeded Maggi’s expectations, and he continues to learn each day something new about the game of baseball.
After a full summer under the rising junior’s belt, he grasped how he has to come to the field everyday ready to go no matter the circumstances.
“It’s tough coming to the yard everyday and having to flush the game before,” Maggi said. “Even after the best game of your life, you can still feel good and then the next day have the worst game of your life. I’ve learned that you’ve got to have the ability to flush things and move on.”
And Griffey is a perfect example of someone who had many bad games and moved on. The All-Star outfielder dealt with constant hamstring injuries over his 22-year career, but still managed to hit 630 home runs.
In the future, if Maggi can eventually perfect Griffey’s swing, he might be to a young fan what Griffey was to him growing up.
“Ken Griffey Jr. was always the person I grew up watching,” Maggi said. “He was always my favorite player.”