by Nella Lastrina
While sitting in his public relations class, Nick Landell felt his phone vibrate from his pants pocket. Immediately, he stood up and walked to the hallway as everyone including the professor watched. When he answered it was the call he had been waiting for.
“My coach helped me find a collegiate team in Arizona and I was expecting a call back from the general manager,” said Landell. “Even though I knew I was getting the phone call I was still a little nervous, and I would answer my phone to every number that called even if it was a telemarketer.”
That afternoon, Landell got the news he was waiting for; he was one of the 35 men accepted into the Arizona Collegiate Wood Bat League.
“Most college baseball players play in collegiate summer leagues,” said Landell. “It was such a great feeling knowing I was officially in the league”
In the summer, many college baseball players join collegiate summer baseball teams. These programs run throughout the summer beginning early June, and operating until early August. Landell’s league is known for using wooden baseball bats thus the name “Wood Bat League”.
The process of joining is rather effortless for the student athletes. In order to find a collegiate team, Landell was scouted by the general manager for the Gila Monsters. Typically, college coaches speak with potential teams’ general managers to set up a summer league for their players.
Being nearly 3,000 miles away from home, Landell was provided transportation to practice, road games and a place to stay free of cost, but was not given a stipend for food or groceries. Instead, the 22 year-old worked online for an SAT and ACT company to design smart documents.
“I created smart documents that are basically like electronic practice ACT or SAT tests for tutors to use overseas,” said Landell.
In fact, Landell held this job throughout his college career. He made his own schedule that worked for him so he could work around school, practices and games.
“This job was perfect for me because I practice for about 2-3 hours every day, have classes for about 3-5 hours Monday through Thursday, and during the season I have baseball games,” said Landell. “Since there isn’t a set time for baseball games, they can last a long time, and not all employers can work with that kind of schedule.”
Before working for the SAT and ACT company, Landell worked at Baseball City in Hartford training people of all ages in an indoor facility.
Raised in Higganum, Connecticut with his brother Steve, Landell grew up in a sports oriented family.
“My brother and I were always playing sports growing up, and eventually both of us ended up focusing on baseball,” said Landell.
At 5 years-old, Landell began playing t-ball with his brother and quickly found his passion.
“I loved the game and just kept playing it,” said Landell.
Almost every day he would grab his bat and head outside (and sometimes even inside) to play ball. Since Landell’s brother was four years older, he began playing on a team leaving Landell to want to be like his older brother.
“Besides practicing in our backyard and at the playground, my brother and I never got to play together because we were in different age groups,” said Landell.
Growing up, Landell attended Haddam-Killingworth High school, University of Connecticut Avery Point, and now he is currently finishing up his senior year at Central Connecticut State University.
“I wanted to play Division I baseball, and CCSU provided me with a good opportunity to do that,” said Landell when asked why he chose Central.
At Haddam-Killingworth High School, Landell was named All-Conference in his senior year and at UConn of Avery Point, the then sophomore was named Defensive Player of the Year.
With dreams of one day playing profession baseball in the Major League Baseball (MLB), Landell pushes his limits to fulfill his dreams, but he understands that sometimes things do not work out the way people want. He is pursuing a major in communication, with an emphasis in public relations and marketing and a minor in business.
“If I don’t get to play in the MLB, my second best option is working in marketing for a professional sports organization,” said Landell. “That way I will still be working in a field I’m passionate about, and I don’t think I can ever get sick of that.”