By Max O’Neill
The human ball magnet. That name belongs to Tim Locastro, an Irish Catholic outfielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks and originally from Auburn, New York.
The 2018 MLB regular season ended for the LA Dodgers and Tim Locastro on September 30th, 2018. The Dodgers would go all the way to the World Series before losing, without Locastro.
Just a few weeks after the World Series was over, Locastro would make his first move of the offseason when the Dodgers traded him to the New York Yankees on November 21st, 2018.
He would only be a Yankee, which in his words was his family’s favorite team, for a few months however, as his last move of the offseason came when the Yankees traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks on January 16th, 2019.
At that point, with spring training only a few weeks away, the outfielder was “just kind of ready for spring training to get started and get the season underway.”
Tim Locastro grew up going to church and grew up Irish Catholic from his mom’s side of the family. In regards to his heritage he said, “I mean my grandfather was Irish, my mom, they were big Roman Catholics, so I’d go to church on Sundays, all that and they thought Saint Patrick’s Day was the best holiday ever. But besides that, my grandpa was the Irish one.”
Locastro emphasized this while also noting he is a Notre Dame football fan.
At time of writing, Locastro has used his skill for getting hit by pitches to enter into in a tie for second on the MLB leader boards for such hit, with 10, only behind Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs, though in 33 less games than Rizzo.
Locastro has one game this year where he got on three times via the painful free pass. He has now gotten hit by a ball three times in one game in every level dating back to his time as an Ithaca College Bomber.
In regards to this somewhat dubious skill skill he said: “I mean in college I got hit a bunch, all through my minor league career I got hit a bunch, I’m not gonna change the way I play.”
In fact, in his sophomore and junior year on Ithaca’s South Hill, he had 44 hits by pitches in 81 games. In his junior year he had 27 hits by pitches.
Ithaca College is a small division three college in Ithaca, New York with 6,000 undergrads, It has sent four players to Major League Baseball, with Locastro being the first one since pitcher Glen Cook who played for the Texas Rangers in 1985.
Locastro credits the coaching staff for helping him to get where he is today, saying, “Not only coach (George) Val (Valesente), but Coach (Frank) Faz (Fazio) and Coach (Geoff) “Hawk” (Wright) and all the coaches there, Coach Mcnally without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today and they help me every single day and just them, having the experience they had, it helped tremendously.”
As Ithaca is a division three school with not many athletes who make it pro Locastro had to be honest with himself over his prospects of accomplishing his childhood dream of playing Major League Baseball.
It might have been that he would have had to play independent baseball like his college teammate Tucker Healy, or travel elsewhere in the world.
In regards to this he said: “I mean growing up, making the major leagues was always my number one goal, but sometimes you just gotta look back and be like maybe that’s not a possibility but then when I got to Ithaca, we had a great team and our team was successful in wins and stuff.”
In his time at Ithaca, the team was pretty successful including in his junior season, which was one of the best years in program history with the team losing in the college world series, finishing the season 41-8, including a win over the then number one team in the country, Linfield.
As a member of the Diamondbacks, back on May 1st, Locastro had the biggest moment of his young career when he hit a walk-off single, capping off a four run comeback to win 6-5 in the 11th inning.
In regards to the walk off, which as a result of he was pied, given a Gatorade shower, and had gum poured over his head. Locastro recalled: “It was absolutely crazy…. It was just an unreal game, big for us, and hopefully we can get on a roll and use that, such an emotional game.”
Tim Locastro will be back in his home state tonight, July 30, and tomorrow the 31st when the Diamondbacks are hosted by the Yankees in the Bronx.