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Catching Up with Johnston, RI and Wareham Gatemen Catcher Gian Martellini

Growing up before cable and the internet, I learned about professional baseball players from two main sources – baseball trading cards and the newspaper.  I would read about their hometowns, their stats, where they played minor league baseball.  It was cool to imagine those small town parks and yes, I would dream about playing in those parks “when I grew up.”  I was always especially interested in professional baseball players from Rhode Island, as there weren’t too many to speak of then, even now.  In the Providence Journal Sports section, they had a spot that was called “Major Leaguers from Rhode Island” or something like that.  They would have local players who had been drafted into professional baseball from RI or who attended Rhode Island Universities or High Schools.  I played with and against some of them, so it was cool to read the names like Ken Giard or Sean Maloney or Jason Rajotte in the Sunday papers.

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Nowadays, you can simply use a search engine to find out about players, stats, even look up the towns and fields these players play on.  So, in the spirit of the Rhode Island Baseball Experience, I was curious to see if there were any Rhode Island born players playing in the elite summer baseball league known worldwide as the Cape Cod League.  And, sure enough, I found one.  (There maybe others but in my initial search I found just one.)  His name is Gian Martellini.  He is a catcher, from Johnston, RI.  Went to Bishop Hendricken High School and now attends Boston College.  And Gian now plays for the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League. Through a mutual friend, Arnie Sarazen of North Kingstown Wickford Little League, whose son Andrew happens to be an intern with Wareham, I was able to contact Gian to find out more about his baseball playing days in Rhode Island and now in Massachusetts – in Boston during the school year and on the Cape in the summer.

Here is an excerpt from my interview with Johnston native, Boston College Eagle, and Wareham Gatemen catcher Gian Martellini:

Gian, good morning.  Thanks again for agreeing to do this and continued success not only this summer but at BC.  Tell me a little bit about your Rhode Island baseball roots – Little League? AAU?  What was that experience like?
I played baseball in Johnston Little League for the Cincinnati Reds where I won 3 town championships in my 4 years of Little League. During little league all stars I played for Johnston National and won the district championship my 12 y/o year and made it to the state championship finals where we lost to Lincoln LL. For AAU I played for the RI Reds where we won countless tournaments and won the NE AAU championship. This was definitely a vital time in my life where I learned how to love and appreciate the game creating friendships with people that still hold strong today.
How did you settle on the catching position?  Was that your position throughout youth baseball or something you worked towards later on?
I was always played third base primarily and would catch sometimes depending if the team needed it, however third was my spot. After my freshman year of high school my assistant coach asked if I wanted to catch, and knowing the excitement and challenge that comes with the position, I immediately said yes and it just took off from there.
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You won state titles at Bishop Hendricken.  How was it playing at McCoy Stadium? Did you look around the field and think “Hey I’m going to play here someday?”

Playing at McCoy was always an expectation with the teams I was on at Hendricken. We knew we had to work extremely hard to get there, and perhaps even with that we still may not have gotten there with how crazy the game of baseball is, but we knew that was like our “second home field” during my time at Hendricken. Being on that field definitely made me appreciate how much of a grind baseball is and how many levels there are to eventually reach the big leagues. Hopefully one day I can play at McCoy in the process of my career.

How many years have you played in the Cape Cod League?

I have played in the Cape League for 2 years, last year with the Cotuit Kettleers and this year with the Wareham Gatemen.

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Do players register for The Cape League or are they recruited?  Can you tell me a little bit about the process on how you were selected?  Do you get to then select a team if multiple squads are interested in you?

From my understanding players are recruited for these teams specifically for this league. For me it was just being notified by my college coach that I was going to this team on the cape to play for the summer. Knowing that this is the best league in the country, it is pretty exciting to know you are part of an elite group. Once I arrived here and got to know some of the interns, I found out that they are given a roster of specific players that they are to target to try and get to play for that cape team the following summer.

What is your daily routine, baseball wise, on a game day?  Off day?

On a day that we have a game I will usually go to workout around 10am, be there until about 12, head back to my host house have some lunch, head to the field around 2, look at some film of my swing to see what specific things I like or dislike about what my body is actually doing while I am playing, take BP, head to a deli with a few of my teammates, grab a sub and head back to the locker room, eat, then head onto the field for I/O (infield/outfield) then I will go down to the bullpen and get the pitcher ready for the game. On an off day I sometimes head back home because I only live 45 minutes away from Wareham, but other times I will usually just workout, go to the beach or play some Fortnite.

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Would you say this is the best competition you have ever played against?  Playing in the ACC at Boston College, I’m sure you see a ton of collegiate talent every game.  But is the league truly the best competition you have faced?

Playing in the ACC is definitely a challenge with how deep teams are with talent, however I think this league is the best competition I have played against. Every player is there because they have been selected so we are all here for a reason. Every pitcher is a college’s top arm, each position player is an elite player, so I personally think this league is second to none.

How are the games attended in terms of fans?  And I’m sure there are MLB scouts floating around.

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Fans pack the bleachers every night with high energy and passion for their respected teams. Being a player here, they treat us very well and they love to give us support. In terms of scouts, they are everywhere you look. Every single game there are cameras set up to video each player that teams then use for scouting, it is pretty impressive to say the least.

Overall, how would you define the experience in playing in one, if not the, elite baseball summer league in all of the US?  Given the history of players who have played in the Cape Cod League who went onto play professional baseball, it must be very satisfying for you and your family to have played in this league.

I think it really separates you and shows where you truly stand in terms of your baseball talent. We play every day which mimics a major league baseball schedule. We do not nearly play as many games as they do, but the every day feel is definitely something we are not used to in college. I have loved my two summers here and truly have grown not only as a player but as a person with meeting new people and appreciating my teammates. 

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What’s the outlook for BC Baseball in 2019?

I truly think if we play to our capabilities we will make a postseason run. Coming off a disappointing year last year, I think my teammates and I have a new perspective on the right way to do things and will continue to work hard in the weight room and on the field to get where we need to be. We have all the pieces we just need to execute our plan. 

Thanks again to Andrew Sarazen for helping me set up this interview.  And best of luck to Rhode Island native Gian Martellini as he continues to play for Wareham, Boston College, and maybe someday we will all see him catching once again at McCoy Stadium.  This time as a professional baseball player.

 

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