Like many young players who go on to play college baseball, I have had dreams and aspirations of playing in the Major Leagues. As a kid growing up in New Jersey, I always thought that one day I would play for the New York Yankees. However, upon reaching high school I slowly began to realize that my dream would likely never come true. The common mantra I heard from Division I coaches was I did not throw hard enough to succeed at the college level. I have always been a soft throwing lefty who sits upper 70s and low 80s with the fastball and was able to be effective due to my off-speed stuff. Eventually, I found a coach willing to give me a shot at the Division I level.
My freshman year I was extremely effective and actually dominant at times. I started off winning my first six decisions and ended the year 6-2 en route to earning Freshman All-American Honors. I was once named National Pitcher of the Week in a week where I pitched 8.1 no-hit innings before finally allowing a hit. This level of success must have gotten the attention of an area scout as late in that season I had a scout attend one of my starts. This is the story of my experience with that scout.
I was starting the final game of the weekend against our rival school, Monmouth University. We had lost the first three games of the series so we really needed a win to salvage the weekend. I eventually threw eight innings and pitched the team to victory, but that is really irrelevant. Every game, it is the job of two members of our pitching staff to sit in the stands and chart our starter with the radar gun. When the game was about to start a man tapped on the shoulder of one of the guys who was radar gunning me and asked, “Is this Mammino?” They confirmed that I was. I threw my first pitch of the game and it came in at 78 according to my teammates — pretty normal for me. The next pitch was another fastball. The scout looked at his gun, leaned over and looked at my teammates’ gun and then asked, “You guys get 78 too?” Again they responded, “Yes.” The scout then closed his notebook, put away his radar gun, got up and said to my teammates, “Have a good day and good luck fellas.”
So obviously my experience with scouts is not typical of the top prospects or fringe MLB Draft prospects, but I like to think that the scout who came to watch me still remembers me and what I hope was his shortest scouting trip ever.