Editor's note: This is the third installment in a 6-part series that will also appear in the spring issue of ICView. Read “Mind Games” to learn how two alumni helped major league teams to World Series titles, and read “Keeping Focused Amid Chaos” to find out how an alumnus is helping minor league players in Latin America.
Tim Locastro ’18 had been a Bomber, a Desert Dog, a Driller, a Quake, a Lugnut and a Canadien. Like most minor league players, he didn’t care what you called him, as long as he got “the call,” the one every player dreams of. In 2017 with his season over, Locastro wasn’t exactly living in his parent’s basement, but he was painting it.
That’s when “the call” came. The Los Angeles Dodgers. Tinkering with their last roster spot before their World Series campaign, they wanted him for a two-game tryout as a “burner,” a fast, cunning base-stealer they could use off of the bench.
Locastro was headed to the majors. Painting could wait. He stepped out of his parents’ basement in Auburn, New York, and just one day later he stepped into a hostile sold-out Colorado Rockies stadium. Sent in as the Dodgers’ pinch runner in the eighth, he looked up to see 48,000 filled seats that could have easily fit all of Auburn and most of Ithaca. Ultimately, there was no chance to steal, and his two innings in left field were equally uneventful, but his first big league game was in the books.
Coors Field was still rocking the next night when Locastro was sent in again and ultimately stole his first major league base.
“It’s packed. The stadium starts shaking, and your heart starts racing, but if you start thinking about all of that, you’re prone to mistakes,” he says. “You have to calm yourself down quick and get in baseball mode, find out what your job is, and do that. You get in the zone and just sort of block it out.”
The Dodgers did not give Locastro a roster spot permanently but did send him to Arizona to work out in case they needed him before the next playoff round.