Oct 19, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson talks to the media before game five of the 2012 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Dante Benedetti was known throughout San Francisco as an individual who kept baseball alive in the city by the Bay. He was the baseball coach at USF for 16 years and took a special interest to youth baseball in San Francisco. Dante was so important to the city of San Francisco and the USF program that the Dons honored him by naming their home field after him: Dante Benedetti Diamond.
Even though Dante’s work was primarily focused on the city’s youth, the spirit of self-improvement on the baseball diamond at USF has escalated to the next level on Dante Benedetti Diamond. For the second time this year, a major league star has come to the Hilltop to improve his game and try to get back to All-Star form. Free agent Brian Wilson has been seen working out at USF as he prepared to have a showcase of his current performance. Wilson underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and could not find a Major League contract after his recuperation. Wilson’s primary goal is to get picked up by a playoff contender needing bullpen help and assisting his new team through a World Series run.
It is uncertain the extent in which Wilson is working with the Dons coaching staff during his workouts, but his MLB intentions are clear. According to CSN Bay Area, his workouts at USF have been closely monitored by the San Francisco Giants pitching coaches and bullpen staff. Another report from CSN states that Wilson threw in L.A. on July 25th in front of eight MLB representatives. Scouts reported a good showing and “his fastball was 90-93 mph “.
There have been multiple MLB players who have come and worked out at the Hilltop. Most of these ball players are USF alumni who are looking to get in some extra work in the winter. Most recently, these players include Stefan Gartrell (Braves, 2005 alum) and Scott Cousins (Angels, 2006 alum). However Wilson is not the first Major League All-Star to try to get back to superstar form at Benedetti Diamond. This past off-season, Chase Utley worked as he rehabbed his knee injury. His family lives in Sausalito, CA during the off-season and USF works as a close place to practice in the winter months. Utley focused on his defense on the diamond and extra batting practice in 2012-2013. The Philadelphia Phillies second baseman gave much credit to the USF staff during Spring Training this year:
The Dons themselves had a pretty impressive baseball season in 2013 ending with a trip to the Regionals in Eugene, OR. Led by Coach Nino Girratano, this was the third time that USF has ever reached the NCAA Baseball tournament. In 2012, Coach Girratano also surpassed Dante Benedetti as the coach with the most wins for the USF baseball program. To learn more about Dante Benedetti and the way his legacy continues to live in the San Francisco community, you can visit the Dante Benedetti Foundation website.
One for the Road