Boomer Elmsdale
Sat, February 17, 2024 at 12:02 PM . California
As the new coach of the Oak Park High School baseball team, Rick Magnante has already made a lasting impression with his driven approach and desire for success. With a wealth of experience in professional baseball as a scout and manager, Magnante is prepared to lead his team to greatness and instill a winning mentality in all of his players. One of the first questions we asked Coach Magnante was about his overall goals for the team this season. Without hesitation, he replied, "Our goal is to be a fundamentally sound baseball team." He emphasized the importance of pitching, playing catch, and putting the ball in play as key factors in their success. This demonstrates his focus on returning to the basics of the game and ensuring his team has a strong foundation to build upon. When asked about the top returning players from last season, Coach Magnante mentioned that nine seniors will be relied upon to lead the team. Their experience and individual abilities will be crucial in the overall success of the team. He also added that there are three underclassmen who he believes will make an immediate impact - Henry Rizzotti, Tyler Kutsch, and Jaden Holmes. These young players have shown great potential and are expected to contribute greatly to the team's success. As for team captains, Coach Magnante looks for qualities such as leadership, responsibility, and accountability. While it's still early in the season, he mentioned that there are players currently battling for the role and he is confident in whoever takes on the responsibility. Building team chemistry and camaraderie is essential for any successful team, and Coach Magnante has made sure to prioritize this aspect. With an extensive fall schedule, he hopes to have already built a strong bond among his players and set high expectations for the upcoming season. When it comes to motivating his players, Coach Magnante believes in accountability and responsibility. He trusts that his players are self-motivated and encourages them to push themselves to their full potential. He refers to it as "baseball existentialism," where players take ownership of their actions and strive to be the best version of themselves on and off the field. Of course, preparing for a new season always comes with challenges, and this year has been no exception for Coach Magnante. As it is his first year coaching at the high school level after his extensive career in professional baseball, he has had to navigate a different path and adjust to a different level of play and expectations.