In a way, Brian Esposito is back where it all began.
The former big-league catcher played his first professional ball in the New York Penn League after the Red Sox drafted him in the fifth round of the 200 MLB Draft. Now, he’s back in the NYPL as manager of the Black Bears.
During his playing career, Esposito was a journeyman. He played for eight different organizations over 13 seasons, serving short stints in the majors with the Cardinals and Astros. No matter how many times Esposito was sent up and down the ranks, he always followed a lesson his father taught him.
“It’s just a matter of how many times you’re gonna keep getting up,” said Esposito. “I fell in love with the grind.”
Seventeen seasons after his first professional at-bat, Esposito now tries to instill that same mentality into a new generation of players who dream of making it to the majors.
“Now my passion is to help these young men realize that you have an opportunity, let’s go ahead and maximize it, and how we can do that is by getting knocked down, learning from our mistakes and moving forward.”
Esposito is now in his fourth year as a manger in the Pirates farm system. He spent the last two seasons with the West Virginia Power. As a coach, he leans on his experiences in the minor leagues to connect with players.
“I try to provide the best information and the best experiences that I’ve had, both negative and positive, to help impact these guys and lead their own careers,” said Esposito.
The Black Bears are now 3-1 under Esposito. It’s likely the personnel at his disposal will change regularly throughout the season. No matter who comes through Granville this summer, Esposito wants to put every player in a position to succeed.
“This is what we do,” he said. “Our job is to identify situations, identify some of the problems, but not just to identify them, but to be able to fix them and help these guys move along.”