Just one day removed from the devastating news that baseball season was finished before it began, every member of the Saint Ignatius baseball program met on a Zoom call earlier this week.
Plenty of teams are doing the same across the state and the country, as student-athletes cope with the loss of the spring season.
But the guests were unique for the Wildcats' chat on Zoom. Four Saint Ignatius alumni turned pro athletes joined the call to console the Cats and talk about their journeys. Brian Hoyer '04, Derek Dietrich '07, Luke Farrell '09, and Nick Margevicius '14 spoke to the Wildcats on a wide variety of topics.
All four are successful pro athletes. Hoyer is an NFL quarterback with the New England Patriots, who owns a Super Bowl ring. Dietrich is a flashy second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds, now a 7-year MLB veteran. Farrell pitches for the Texas Rangers, a hard-throwing, 6'6 righty entering his fourth MLB season. Margevicius joined the Seattle Mariners in the offseason after breaking into the MLB as a dynamic lefty with the San Diego Padres in 2019.
As Ganor said to over 80 Wildcats on the call, it was a great opportunity for these high schoolers to see that these four men are real people, not just someone that he talks about all the time.
As Farrell mentioned, the Zoom call could not bring back baseball, unfortunately. But it was a chance to reminisce about the past and look forward to the future.
All four recalled happy memories at Saint Ignatius. Many of the stories were hilarious and led to laughter.
Beyond the individual stories, all four Wildcats talked about the bonds and friendships. For them, the relationships stand out more than any individual game.
"When I look back at my time at Saint Ignatius, it’s the friendships I remember, not the games," Farrell said. "I remember practicing in the gym and early morning workouts. Also, you won a state title, we didn’t, so appreciate what you have. It's the friendships that are important."
Dietrich echoed that sentiment.
"Saint Ignatius made me the man who I am today," Dietrich said. "It helped me get to where I am today. You won't remember the big games or the home runs, though Coach Ganor does. You'll remember being with the guys. I remember the bus trips and experiences moreso than homers or strikeouts. Remember and cherish the times together as baseball players, students, and friends."
It was definitely a nice moment for the Wildcats to hear from four alumni who have accomplished so much in the pro ranks.
Each alum added some advice for the Wildcats. The words of wisdom are geared towards the 80 students in the program, but they certainly apply to all of us today.
Brian Hoyer: "Control what you can control. Work as hard as you can to prepare for whenever you play next. In the meantime, lean on the memories that made you happy and laugh. The strong bonds you've made will last forever. And also, take some time to learn something new. Hopefully, we'll never have this much free time in our lifetimes again. So take the time to read and to learn."
Derek Dietrich: "Keep up hope, stay positive. We’ll get through this. We don't know when, but we will be back and thriving again soon. Right now, it's important to do our absolute best to stay connected safely with our friends and family ... Never take Saint Ignatius for granted. Everything you do affects your reputation and Saint Ignatius' reputation. Saint Ignatius is a great place for amazing people. You have an obligation and opportunity to carry that on."
Luke Farrell: "Remember the friendships you've made. Appreciate what you have, because it's special. And I hope you have the chance to play summer ball or any kind of baseball sometime soon."
Nick Margevicius: "Don't take anything for granted. There are so many things we can take for granted when things are going normal. Enjoy the moment and never take anything for granted ... And remember that this is in God's hands. To me, that's what AMDG means. For me, writing AMDG on the mound is a visual reminder that it's in God's hands."
At the end of the call, Ganor summed things up perfectly for the Wildcats.
"No matter what happens, they can't take away the numbers after your name. Those numbers are forever with you. Whether you win the World Series or strike out every time. You have your numbers after your name forever. What a special thing."