Ed D’Alessio left when the time was right.
The High School of Telecommunications Arts and Technology baseball coach decided to call it quits after 15 seasons, because the sport — which has long been a part of his life — was starting to become a job in recent years.
“I like coaching, but it is a long haul over that,” D’Alessio said.
Tele has long been the “program without a field,” and the task of maintaining it and managing his players while teaching at Grady was beginning to take its toll, the soon-to-be 60-year-old D’Alessio said. He described going down to the Yellow Jackets’s home field at Ben Vitale Park with buckets and boots to get it ready for a game.
“I got too old,” D’Alessio said. “I couldn’t do it anymore. My back was killing me.”
He had family concerns and wants to spend more time with his 12-year-old son, who has a budding baseball career. D’Alessio stressed that he needs to be there for him and does not want to lose those precious years.
“He’s a really good ball player,” the captain on the 1978 St. John’s University College World Series team said.
He leaves the Yellow Jackets program as one of the best of the Public School Athletic League and a winner of a 2013 city title. D’Alessio’s program was able to compete with the likes of Tottenville, James Monroe, Madison, Cardozo, and George Washington — schools that all have their own fields. It’s something he will always be proud of.
“The job that we did over the years was very impressive,” D’Alessio said. “I think people realized that. They couldn’t believe when we won the championship. I think that gave hope to a lot of the small schools that someone could win there than the same big schools all the time.”
It is the legacy he leaves behind — and that the school will look to continue. In his eyes, Tele made the right choice to replace him with long-time junior varsity coach Robert Calise, who paid his dues for 10 seasons.
The Yellows Jackets are off to flying start at 2–0 with wins over rival James Madison, a semifinalist last season. Tele pitchers Mark Barillas and Frank Campanelli combined to allow just one run in 14 innings. D’Alessio plans on going to some games once the weather gets warmer.
Leaving a good team behind won’t draw D’Alessio, who went 221–53 in league play, to return.
“I always had good teams,” D’Alessio said. “Sometimes you have to go. I couldn’t see myself doing it any more. I just got tired. It’s a long time, 15 years.”
The time was right to end the run there.
There would be no hanging on too long in search for another crown. D’Alessio knew it was time and didn’t fight it, allowing the program to continue to grow in his absence.
Another good decision in a career of them.