MODESTO — Now that Im in my 17th season of covering Modestos minor league team, these kinds of things are going to happen much more often, but the visit of the Lancaster JetHawks has me feeling a bit old.
In 1985, just two years out of college, I moved from Central California to Dover, Del., to take a sports writing job with the Delaware State News.
It was a terrific first stop on the East Coast for me. Dover is a town about the size of Turlock and its surrounded by farms, so it felt like home, but its only an hour south of Philadelphia and about 90 minutes from Washington D.C. and Baltimore, so it was close to a lot of major cities.
In short, it was a great jumping-off place from which to explore the East Coast.
I got to cover all kinds of sports for the paper, including NASCAR, the professional teams, the local colleges (Delaware States football star that season was future 49ers great John Taylor) and the high schools.
But in my year in the the state capitol, there was one athlete who stood out very distinctly. He was a senior at Seaford High School and dominated on every field, earning first-team all-state honors as a quarterback, point guard and shortstop, and signed a letter of intent to play college basketball for Rollie Massimino at Villanova.
But Delino Deshields made Rollie and a lot of other Wildcats fans upset when he chose to give up basketball and sign a baseball contract with the Montreal Expos.
And my reason for feeling all my age this opening homestand? Well, he hasnt played in the first two games of the series because of a strained tendon in his throwing hand, but top Houston infield prospect Delino Deshields Jr., is in uniform for the JetHawks.
His dad, meanwhile, is still in baseball. Hes the manager of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
Modesto made its first player move of the 2013 season prior to Fridays game when it added infielder Sam Mende from extended spring training and put infielder Jose Rivera on the disabled list. Mende hit .281 with 12 homers and 68 RBI last season in Asheville.