Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty Images
Mark Minicozzi is congratulated by Giants teammate Angel Pagan after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Scottsdale Stadium on February 28, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Infielder Mark Minicozzi, a non-roster invitee turning heads at Giants Spring Training camp, has taken an unusual path to Scottsdale.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery and being released by the Giants in 2008, Minicozzi began his journey back toward the Show, playing in independent leagues from central Canada to Central America.
In an interview this week with KNBR radio, Minicozzi compared his baseball journey to a “G-rated” version of HBO’s Eastbound and Down.
Let’s take a look at some of the places he played ball:
Greenville, North Carolina: Minicozzi played NCAA Division I Baseball at Clark-LeClair Stadium on the campus of East Carolina University. His days as a Pirate paid off and he was drafted in the 17th round in 2005 by the San Francisco Giants.
Salem, Oregon: After he was drafted he spent some time playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Class A). Salem is the capital of Oregon. Known for its fertile land, the Salem area makes $1.4 billion annually from it agricultural sector.
San Jose, California: In his second year playing he received the MVP award for the Giants Minor League affiliate the San Jose Giants (Class A). A bustling tech hub with over 6,600 technology companies, San Jose would be one of Minicozzi's more exciting destinations.
Norwich, Connecticut: Next stop was the small city of Norwich, Connecticut, that, for a reason no one really understands, is called “The Rose of New England.” He played with the Connecticut Defenders (Class AA) before the team reinvented itself as the Flying Squirrels and moved to Richmond, Virginia.
Winnipeg, Canada: In 2009, Minicozzi headed north to the Canadian town of Winnipeg playing for the Winnipeg Goldeyes (Ind). A historic town that is responsible for the name of our furry friend Winnie the Pooh. The child favorite was given this name by a Canadian Lieutenant in Fort House Militia who bought a bear in Winnipeg and nicknamed it Winnie. We know you all care deeply about this topic.
Kansas City, Kansas: Like most places he played, he didn’t stay in Canada for long. In that same year Minicozzi headed to the Kansas City T-Bones (Ind) for a short stint in the Southern Division of the Northern League. As the largest producer of boxed chocolates, this city made over 25 million pieces of chocolate last year.
Worcester, Massachusetts - You may have heard of Worcester, MA if you love music festivals. Not only is this the home of the Worcester Tornadoes (Ind), a team that Minicozzi played with in 2010, but it is also the location of the oldest musical festival in the US.
Camden, New Jersey: The Camden Riversharks (Ind) may not be affiliated with the MLB but their games average over 4,000 fans. Minicozzi left Worchester for a brief time to play with this New Jersey team, but returned to Mass. in 2011.
Augusta, Georgia: In 2012, Minicozzi headed down south to the hometown of James Brown, Godfather of Soul. He played with the Augusta Greenjackets (Class A), the first MLB affiliated team he had played with since 2008. Things were looking up for the dedicated athlete.
Richmond, Virginia: Later in 2012 Minicozzi was picked up by the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA), a minor league affiliate of the SF Giants. Bringing him one step closer to playing for the team that drafted him several years prior.
Nicaragua: We are not sure when or how Minicozzi fit this adventure in, but sometime in 2013 he played for a little-known Nicaraguan League. Games in this international destination had to be scheduled around volcanic eruptions. Needless to say he didn’t stay long.