Glen Cove, ex-Chaminade star Suozzi rising up Mets organization

Glen Cove, ex-Chaminade star Suozzi rising up Mets organization
Former Chaminade High School standout Joe Suozzi is currently playing with Binghamton, the Mets AA affiliate. Photo credit: Bronson Harris/Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Every day Joe Suozzi wakes up, he’s excited to have yet another day living his dream.

Even a day like last Thursday, when the 25-year-old suited up for a baseball game with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, played one inning, then saw the game get completely washed out when thunderstorms arrived at the team’s game against Erie (Pa.)

Some players might be bummed. But for Suozzi, even a disappointing day like that is still magical.

“It really is awesome that I get to keep living this dream,” he said by phone after the game. “Everything is going to plan and I’m so excited.”

That plan currently includes playing in the organization he grew up rooting for, the Mets, and has him just two rungs from Citi Field.

After playing last season for the Mets’ Single-A team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, a deep outfield throw from where Suozzi grew up in Glen Cove, the 6-foot-2 first baseman/outfielder has spent much of 2023 as a Rumble Pony in Double-A.

Through games of July 29th he was batting .242 with two homers and six RBIs, despite missing four weeks with an oblique strain.

“I’m just trying to be present every day and not look ahead too much or look back too much,” Suozzi said. “I’m happy with how the season has been going, not swinging at as many bad pitches and being more consistent.”

Suozzi, son of former U.S. congressman and 2022 New York gubernatorial candidate Tom Suozzi, has had an unlikely path to professional baseball, so it’s understandable he’s grateful to be where he is.

Growing up, Suozzi was a baseball standout but not a “can’t miss” prospect like so many pro players.

He tried out for the Chaminade team as a junior and was cut, a setback for a kid who’d been a baseball fanatic idolizing David Wright his whole life.

Mike Pienkos, the legendary coach of Chaminade baseball for the past four decades, remembered Suozzi as a determined kid who came back from being cut his junior year.

“He was like a different human being (as a senior),” Pienkos recalled. “He had gained 25 pounds, got a little taller, and had much more confidence. It was great to see.”

Despite a strong year at Chaminade, Suozzi had only one college interested: McGill University, in Montreal.

“And I wasn’t wild about going to school in Canada,” he laughed.

Finally, with few offers, one of Suozzi’s travel coaches reached out to the Boston College staff, who agreed to let Suozzi try out.

He didn’t make the team as a freshman, but worked hard and earned a spot his sophomore year. Once his cleat was in the door, Suozzi thrived.

He became a three-year player for the Atlantic Coast Conference squad, and as a senior in the shortened 2020 season he batted .414.

“I was very fortunate to get a chance there and I worked hard to keep myself there,” Suozzi said. “The level of competition in (the ACC) is incredible, so facing those guys made me better.”

After his 2020 season, Suozzi wasn’t drafted but caught the attention of Mets Northeast scout John Kosciak, who offered him a free-agent contract.

A chance to play for the team that he’s loved since birth? Suozzi couldn’t believe it.

“My dad, my whole family, going to Mets games and then signing with them? It was surreal,” Suozzi said. “Like it was meant to be.”

As Suozzi has risen up the Mets ranks, Pienkos has watched with pride.

“Not surprised at all he’s doing well,” Pienkos said. “He’s a very determined, very smart kid with a great attitude on life and in baseball.”

Suozzi, who credits his dad as a role model in helping him learn to deal with both success and failure, knows he’ll have to be more consistent and raise his batting average and on-base percentage if he wants to keep moving up the Mets ladder.

But for now, he’s loving Binghamton and loving where his life is headed.

“I don’t set a lot of goals, but I’m really happy here,” Suozzi said. “I’ve got great coaches helping me and I’m getting good work in every day. It’s really great.”


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