The Tryout: Our Guy Aristotle Gets a Shot at The Bigs

The Tryout: Coming next Summer.

TAMPA, FL – A new show called “The Tryout” will soon be televised for America to see. The series showcases a bunch of baseball players vying for a player contract. I happened to be one of those players, and the best thing to happen to me was getting cut.

Realistically, I didn’t expect to be awarded a roster spot as the last man standing. My goal was to last a few rounds with these young bucks, who could have qualified to be my grandkids.

Backstop Aristotle “Mugsy” Sakellaridis

Being released in the early stages by the judges which included Hall of Famer Wade Boggs and ex-major leaguers Doc Gooden, Orestes Destrade, Sam Militello, Mike Torrez to name a few, was disappointing until the following day. Executive Producer Armando Gutierrez handed me a grey jersey with the words The Tryout embroidered on the front and welcomed me to be part of the support team. He felt my love for the game and for that I will always be grateful to Mr. Gutierrez.

A day earlier I created a bit of chaos by throwing my duffel bag to the ground and kicking it around to the cameraman’s delight. The next morning, I’m was asked to put on catcher’s gear and catch a simulated game between the ten finalists. But before that happened, one of the judges – the Yankees Nestor Cortes – decided he wanted to chuck a few pitches from the mound. After getting some tips from Dr.K himself, Cortes’ juices were flowing with Gooden’s tutelage. I took my position and caught his repertoire of pitches. Cortes’ throws moved like a wiffle ball, as knuckleballs, screwballs, and his fastball connected with my mitt. Complicating matters, I had  without a clue of what was coming next. He blurted out that he hasn’t thrown a ball since his last playoff start. Yet, the movement of his pitches showed me why he was so dominant during the 2022 season. To say I was on a cloud is an understatement.

Mugsy, Cash & The Kid

A couple of days later I was asked to pitch batting practice to the final four contestants. They each got one minute to score points each time they connected. When the whistle blew I transformed into a human pitching machine, as my pitches made their way into a 17 year old catcher named Niklas Santiago. unorthodox battery produced a ratio of 95% hittable pitches under the watchful eyes of the judges, which included Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who a day earlier sealed the deal for Aaron Judge. The session was a success, as the sound of the ball hitting the wood echoed throughout the University of Tampa’s field. Before the session started the owner of a lifetime .328 batting average got into the act, as Wade Boggs stepped to the plate and got his cuts in. He got an opposite field single and shouted, “Add that one to my 3,010 hits!” I stepped off the mound and the thought, “Wow, what just happened” flooded my mind.

Two days later Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe showed up to Stengel-Huggins Field in St. Petersburg to offer encouraging words to the winner of The Tryout. Volpe decided to step into the historic batter’s box, where pioneers like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle swung their lumber. Volpe took three swings and produced one hit as my Cloud 9 moment continued.

My week was done… but what a way to end 2022 in my Forrest Gump-world. I cannot thank Armando and director Khoa Le enough. The rest of the crew which included, Kristian Juanas, Alberto de la Cruz, Nehir Onay, Grace Cashman, Kory Apton, Carlos Marti, Joe Lomascollo, Dom Scala Janice Munk, Jake Butler, Alex Trujillo, Ray Negron, and Jessica Marie Martinez, were the ultimate pros.

Check out The Tryout sometime in 2023.

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About Aristotle "Mugsy" Sakellaridis 119 Articles
Aristotle "Mugsy" Sakellaridis is the junkiest of baseball junkies. He plays in 4 leagues, well past his 40th birthday, and spends the winter in Florida shagging flies at Yankees minor league complexes. He's also a retired Riker's Island Corrrection Officer - having worked the night shift for 20+ years.