AROUND TOWN: Baseball Leads Gaetano Down New Path
It’s been a whirlwind week for Scranton Prep and Monmouth University graduate Chris Gaetano. Now you can add Pennsylvania State Police Academy graduate to that list. Nine days ago, Gaetano graduated from the academy. Then came a quick turnaround to move into an apartment near where he is stationed in Chambersburg, and then a return home before embarking on his career in law enforcement. But that doesn’t mean that baseball is part of the past for the three-time Times-Tribune All-Region outfielder. He hopes to meld both and serve as a volunteer assistant coach for North Pocono baseball coach Brian Jardine, who has been a coach, colleague and friend to Gaetano. “I’m going to be another set of eyes for Brian,” Gaetano said. “Any advice I can give him. He totally understands. “Brian is very good when it comes to the coach-player relationship. He totally understands where I’m standing. I’m a big supporter of North Pocono in any way — whether it’s scouting, being at games, just another set of eyes. I’m thankful to have the chance to help.” It also helps that Gaetano can relate to the players, given that at 24, he’s just a few years older than the kids he’s helping to mentor. “For me to give back, I can relate to them,” Gaetano said. “I’m not too much older. It’s a totally different environment from playing on the field to being behind the scenes.” He’s preaching and teaching younger players the right way to play the game, and the importance of not just being part of the team, but giving back. That’s part of Gaetano’s DNA. “I did a lot of community service when I was playing college ball,” Gaetano said. “I was raised by my parents to help out others. I realized that is my biggest asset. “At Monmouth I was working different camps, a camp for little kids, kids with disabilities. At North Pocono the Strike Out for Cancer. My biggest asset is going to be giving back to the community. That’s what I’m looking forward to.” As late as his upperclassman years at Monmouth, Gaetano still hoped playing baseball might be in his future. “My junior, senior year of college I realized I might need a backup plan,” Gaetano said. “Baseball was not going to work.” But if it wasn’t for baseball, and the lessons he learned being around people like former Prep baseball coach Joe Ross, Paul McGloin and Jardine, he’s not sure he would have been prepared for what did come next — the recommendation from friends that he consider the state police. “Those experiences helped me get through mentally and physically,” Gaetano said. “I can relate to all my baseball background and my parents as well to get through the academy. Without that, I couldn’t have made it through one day. With the training and what not that I’ve gone through, it was some of the hardest things I’ve gone through mentally and physically. Way harder than anything I did in baseball. It’s not for everyone. It’s very difficult.” Future Dookie Former Mid Valley coach and educator Joe “Smokey” Glenn was a pretty good ballplayer in his day, following in his dad’s footsteps and playing in the New York Yankees organization. (Trivia alert: Joe’s dad, also Joe, caught eight years in the majors and was the batterymate to both Babe Ruth (1933) and Ted Williams (1940). Yes, Williams pitched two innings in the 1940 season. And Joe’s son, John, has carved out his own successful athletic career and is now linebackers coach with the Seattle Seahawks. So it’s only fitting that one more generation is making headlines. Kaeli Thompson, daughter of Joe’s daughter, Heather, has accepted a full ride to Duke University for track and field. Thompson, who attends Warwick Valley (N.Y.) High School, was second in the pole vault New York state championships and sixth in the New Balance Outdoor Championships, clearing 13 feet, 3½ inches. Plenty of prayers that if she ever takes up golf that her swing will be better than her grandfather’s. Sending condolences Our sympathies go out to the family of former Scranton Prep girls basketball coach Cathy Genco and all of the Scoblick clan on the passing of Cathy’s mother, Catherine Scoblick, who died a week ago Saturday. Marty Myers is a Times-Tribune sports writer. His column appears on Sundays. To contact him, email email@example.com, call 570-348-9100, ext. 5437 or follow him on Twitter @mmyersTT.