An All-Star Night at the Bullpen Winter Banquet

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The St. John’s University Baseball team is a lifelong fraternity, and alumni and friends showed their overwhelming support during the Eighth Annual Baseball Bullpen Winter Banquet. Headlined by New York Mets ace Matt Harvey, the event raised over $65,000 in support of Red Storm Baseball.

“I say this every year, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention: we get no better support for any sport than we do for Baseball,” said Chris Monasch ’81SVC, Athletic Director. “I thank the alumni and the many outstanding supporters of our program for all that they’ve given to us over the years.”

The event honored longtime supporter Michael P. Stafford ’67Ed, ’72L, who decades ago served as Sports Information Director at SJU, prior to beginning his remarkable career in Real Estate Law. Stafford spoke about his friendship with legendary coach John W. “Jack” Kaiser ’49C and his deep respect and admiration for the University he loves.

“I’ve always considered St. John’s a second family to me,” he said. “And you can tell how close this community is, since so many of us are still coming back 50 years later. When I look back on my life, at how everything developed, I often think, ‘Would this have happened if I hadn’t gone to St. John’s? If I wasn’t part of this great Athletics program and received so much encouragement?’ I think not, so giving back and staying connected is a no-brainer for me.” 

Fellow alumni echoed Stafford’s sentiments, like Greg LaCasse ’80SVC, who fondly recalled his playing days – which included two trips to the College World Series. He also commented on the lifelong bonds he developed through SJU Baseball.

“My teammates were amazing, and we’re still such great friends,” he said. “We’ve been in each other’s wedding parties, kept in touch through the years and always love getting together at events like this. St. John’s is a great community, and a community which I’m proud to still be a part of today.”

Prior to dinner, Matt Harvey spoke to current members of the Red Storm Baseball team about the importance of a college education. A former pitcher at the University of North Carolina, Harvey shared stories of how he developed from a collegiate athlete into one of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars. 

“My decision to go to school was the best one I’ve ever made,” he said. “It’s an experience you can’t take for granted, and you learn so much about the game. So anything I can do to help today’s student-athletes – it’s special and something I really enjoy.”