According to his players, Sam Marsonek is generally a man of little words. He doesn't have to say a lot because over the years his actions' have spoken loud enough.
The former Jesuit star turned first round major league draft pick finally realized his big league dream after taking a long and dark path. It was in 2004, in Scranton, Pennsylvania during a Yankees AAA game, Marsonek got the word that he was headed to the majors.
"Very few moments in my life I've ever cried but that was definitely one of them." said Marsonek. "I was looking back over the 9 years, struggles on and off the field, injuries, multiple arrests, a lot of my past, my thoughts and what my parents have gone through.""
Marsonek took the mound in the cathedral of baseball, the old Yankee Stadium, against his home town Devil Rays. After securing a Yankees' victory in his debut, the big right-hander was riding high in to the all-star break.
What Marsonek couldn't have imagined, transpired during the break. The inning and a third pitched in the Sunday sun would be his last in the majors.
"I was out fishing by my house in Land O' Lakes and made a really bad decision," said Marsonek. "I got behind a boat on a wake board and I ended up blowing out my knee, I remember sitting in the water thinking that was it, my career was over."
Marsonek tried to comeback, but it wasn't meant to be.
The drinking, and injuries finally caught up to him on the field.
It took a trip to the Dominican Republic in 2005 for a baseball clinic to change his life.
"I was looking at all these kids, alot of them didn't have shoes, some didn't have gloves and I realized that their only hope in life and existence in life was in the game and most of them would never make it," said Marsonek. "I started thinking what would happen afterwards."
Marsonek found God that day and now instead of playing the game, he's begun teaching it as the head coach at Cambridge Christian in Tampa.
The pressure to succeed as a player demonized Marsonek's life, but those ideals quickly changed when he started coaching. Winning was no longer his main focus and it wouldn't be for his players either.
"I don't want them to be burdened by results, to be taken down by not living up to expectations," said Marsonek. "Not because they're (Players) not giving their best, but because the game has got them wrapped up."
"We're not the most talented team out there, we don't have the guys that are gonna throw the hardest - but we have a coach that's gonna teach us the right way to do things," said Lancers pitcher Nick Eicholtz.
And for the man of little words, his team's actions spoke loud enough. Marsonek led Cambridge Christian to the state's final four in Class 1A.
Marsonek's players will tell you he can still pitch at a major league caliber but he knows where he belongs and he doesn't want it any other way.