The crowd hushes as the pitcher pauses, reflects for a brief moment, before delivering the first pitch. The fans want to see what “that Italian kid” can do; they’re not disappointed. Striking out the first batter and a further nine, expectations are met and more created; “that Italian kid” is the Brisbane Bandit’s new secret weapon, Alessandro ‘Alex’ Maestri.
26-year-old Maestri downplays his part in Friday night’s epic 10-0 victory against Sydney Blue Sox “I just tried to stay focused and it ended up being a good game. When I got in trouble, John (Durkett) came in and helped me out”. Maestri solidified his position in the sport pitching for his home team, the Peoria Chiefs, in addition to appearing in 13 games for the Italian National Team.
It’s no easy feat representing one’s country at an international level, as Maestri has done countless times for the Tennessee Smokies, Daytona Cubs and recently, the Lincoln Saltdogs. There is even more pressure on Maestri, being the first Italian-born pitcher signed to the Major Baseball League organisation. He is representing Italians in the sport of baseball and continues do his nation proud.
His career thus far, has been decorated with honorable mentions (Baseball America ranked Maestri #23 amongst the prospects of the Chicago Cubs organisation) and solid predictions for a stellar future. Head Coach Kevin Jordan, “Alex has been a blessing in disguise for us this year. We heard about his pitching for the Cubs and the Italian National team, but to be this good, this fast, it’s fantastic.”
Playing the one sport, but in three different arenas – Italy, USA and now Australia, Maestri is grateful to be a part of the Brisbane Bandits this season: “I love being away, I love traveling, seeing different cultures, I’m very happy with what I am doing” noting that playing overseas involves daily games and seldom downtime. His plans for this summer include “Playing baseball, working out, and whenever I get time off, heading to the beach and going and seeing all the beautiful Australian places”.
“Alex has transitioned so easily as well. Sometimes you forget that not only is he pitching for a new team in a new league, but he’s also having to adjust to living in a new country surrounded by new people. He takes it all in stride which says a lot about his make-up,” said Jordan.
Maestri is a team player, having landed in Australia just two months ago, his host family, the Pinders, frequently joke they’d like to adopt him. Maestri seems to have already won the affection of his team mates, being crowned ‘GTM’ (Gym/Tan/Maestri) and Kevin Jordan referring to him as the “Italian Stallion” several times in the media; Maestri appreciates the humour in both nicknames.
Don’t let this happy-go-lucky Cesena native fool you – Maestri’s home debut proved he is a serious liability to his competitors and above the pursuit of sun and surf, he is here to ensure his team, the Brisbane Bandits, make it to the play offs.