For all intents and purposes, Fabian Roman’s career in professional baseball was over. The former Marist High School flamethrower was released by the Cincinnati Reds after the 2014 season, a year where he spent time with the Billings Mustangs of the Reds’ franchise in the Pioneer League.
Roman pitched well for the Mustangs, posting a 3-2 record with a 4.41 earned run average in 19 games, helping the team win the Pioneer League championship.
But Roman believes that his agent got into an argument with Reds’ management and that caused his release.
“There was some miscommunication going on,” Roman said.
Since that point, Roman has been working out on his own.
“I’ve been going to Lincoln Park or Caven Point or Pershing Field with a bucket of balls and kept throwing against the backstop,” Roman said.
There was one offer to play in Japan, but that wasn’t to Roman’s liking.
“I was supposed to sign with the [Chicago] White Sox, but that didn’t work out,” Roman said. “I had other scouts come and take a look at me, like the Yankees and the [Boston] Red Sox. They showed some interest, but I didn’t sign.”
For more than two years, Roman waited for the phone to ring.
“Honestly, I felt like it was the end of the world,” Roman said. “I never cried so much in my life. I was getting denied by independent teams. It was a slap in the face.”
Roman’s father coordinated the off-season workouts and even videotaped his son throwing.
“I spent more time with him, so that was good,” Roman said of his father. “Now he’s retired, he has more time.”
Earlier this year, Roman went to a workout with the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian-American League. The Jackals liked what they saw and invited him back for a second workout.
Roman’s father also sent a copy of the video to the Seattle Mariners, who began to show some interest. As a free agent, Roman was free to sign with whomever he wanted to.
“I worked so hard to get where I am,” Roman said. “I’m the first one on the field and the last to leave.”
A video workout of Roman throwing 95-to-97 miles per hour, with some pitches reaching the magical 100 MPH mark, made its way to the Internet.
Once the workout of Roman throwing made its way around the Internet, teams showed more interest. David Stearns, the general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, called Roman. So did Jerry Dipoto, the former Mets reliever and Jersey City native who is the general manager of the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners didn’t guarantee anything for Roman.
“I had to pay for my own transportation,” Roman said.
But he had to get to Peoria, Arizona and the Mariners’ extended spring training and instructional league home.
“I had to look at it like it was an investment,” Roman said. “For the last two years, I had zero income. I was looking for my shot.”
Roman arrived in Peoria May 13 and started to face live hitters soon after, regularly throwing 96 MPH with a 90 MPH slider.
“It was a blessing for me to see all that hard work pay off,” Roman said.
Soon after, the Mariners signed Roman to a free agent contract. He has yet to be assigned to a location in the Mariners’ chain, but after two years, Fabian Roman is a pro baseball player once again.
“I was so happy,” Roman said. “The Mariners made me feel so at home. I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m going to work hard and enjoy the journey. It’s God’s will for me. It’s all part of life’s lessons. I’m still getting my feet wet, but I’m loving it.”
Fabian Roman has busted his tail to get this chance. He’s still only 25 years old, so he has deserved a second chance. Here’s to hoping this time he sticks…
Hudson County and the entire state of New Jersey lost one of its purest advocates of high school football when West New York native Dennis McCarthy passed away last week.
McCarthy, the producer of the famed McCarthy Report, used by college coaches as the premier recruiting tout service before the advent of the Internet, was 74 years old.
He got his start scouting players for Notre Dame and helped people like Frank Gargiulo and Tom Liggio make their way from North Hudson to the Golden Dome.
He then started his report in the late 1980s and helped hundreds of kids get into college. He was also the general manager of the New Jersey team in the Governor’s Bowl, putting together the Jersey squad for the All-Star game.
“He was in my office just about a month ago,” said St. Peter’s Prep head coach Rich Hansen. “We gave him a tour of our new facility and gave him notes on our returning kids. He was genuinely a good guy. He never wanted to get in the way. The last time we were together, we had an awesome time. He really truly cared about the kids and wanted them to succeed. That’s what I admired about him the most. He came in and always talked about the old Blue Jays days. He was a good guy.”
McCarthy and Hansen are both products of the now-defunct St. Joseph of the Palisades.
“He always came and promoted our kids,” said former Hoboken head coach Lou Taglieri. “We need more people like Dennis McCarthy. He knew the kids before he even got in our locker room. He would just sit around the locker room and talk to the kids. He’s going to be missed by a lot of people. He had no hidden agenda, just helping the kids. That’s what made him a great guy.”
Rest in peace, old friend. I can’t even begin to thank him for all the years of pure friendship, long chats and diet birch beer…
Next week, we’ll have an update on the Hudson County Track Coaches Association championships, with North Bergen (girls) and St. Peter’s Prep (boys) taking home team titles, and an update on the Hudson County Tournament finale held after press time Wednesday night.
Hudson Reporter High School Baseball Top Five: 1. Memorial (18-8). 2. Ferris (17-11). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (16-9). 4. Bayonne (18-10). 5. St. Anthony (14-8)…
Hudson Reporter High School Softball Top Five: 1. Hudson Catholic (17-5). 2. North Bergen (14-8). 3. Hoboken (16-9). 4. Weehawken (17-6). 5. Ferris (16-8). – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com