It’s been fun…

Welcome back to the “Philling You In” blog!

Wow, this is my 100th post. I’m happy and sad at the same time. It took me two years to post 100 blog entries. Over those two years, I have posted everything from Phillies free agent signings, to R-Phils game reports, to awesome promos from the R-Phils, and more! And, with that, I must say that each post I have truly put everything I had into it. I was even awarded an MLB Pro Blog!

It’s always been fun for me to write about some of the behind the scene stuff. Being a PR/Media Relations Director is an awesome feeling. Knowing what type of information to give to the fans is key. Knowing what they want to hear and knowing when to give it to them, is key as well.

Anytime there was news I wanted to share, I sat down and wrote a blog. Blogging has been a lot of fun! It’s addicting!

Anyways, what I wanted to say is that this will be my last blog entry under the “Philling You In” moniker. It has been a great two years bringing fans all of the latest R-Phils news!

Today, (Friday, December 16) is my last day with the R-Phils. I have enjoyed my experiences here in Baseballtown, but for me, it was time to move on to a new chapter in my life.

That new chapter begins in January — so stay tuned for some exciting news! I am very eager to take the next step in my career!

I have spent the past four years of my life in the Phillies organization. I began my baseball career as an intern in Lehigh Valley with the IronPigs in 2008. My two years in Lehigh Valley were great. Thanks to Matt Provence and Jon Schaeffer — two of the greatest people to work for in this business — I was able to succeed in a field that I have always wanted to be a part of.

Also, a special thanks to Andy Kauffman, who was a great help during my days in Baseballtown!

Ever since I was a kid, all I ever really cared about was baseball. At a young age, I was playing baseball with my friends in Brooklyn, NY.

Little League was so much fun! I tried to be the next Gary Carter. I wore number 8, crouched behind the plate, and I think I may have even tried to curl my hair like his. There was only one Gary Carter, though. Long live “The Kid”!

Baseball was always a way to express myself. Throughout the years, I had the opportunity to play Senior League baseball, Babe Ruth baseball, Legion baseball, and even College baseball at Penn State Hazleton. My two years at Hazleton were a lot of fun.

After that, though, right about the time I realized that baseball as a player was not an option for me anymore, it was time to move on to other opportunities.

I always had this love for Minor League Baseball. Living in the Poconos, my dad and I attended a good amount of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons games over the years. Those games were a blast! I loved going to the games with my dad. It wasn’t as fun as going to Shea Stadium, but it was fun!

I always rooted against the Barons too, haha.

What I really loved, however, was the chance to see players before they were superstars. I loved seeing the determination that they had to make it to the Bigs.

I remember seeing Derek Jeter up-close with the Columbus Clippers. I’ll never forget going to the 1995 All-Star Game at Lackawanna County Stadium and seeing so many future stars.

A funny story is that Jason Isringhausen, who was warming up in right field before the start of the game, threw a pitch that sailed over the catcher’s head and into the hands of my dad. My dad made a nice catch! When he was asked to give the ball back, he turned and said, “Only if Isringhausen signs it for my kid” — that’s me! Well, he did, haha.

My dad has played a big part in my life as a baseball fan. He played baseball as a kid in Brooklyn. He even played Little League with Lee Mazzilli! I have the picture to prove it! And, years later, I met Lee Mazzilli and had him autograph it!

Both my dad and I grew up in a baseball household. My grandfather (his dad) was a big fan of the game. I was told he used to hit baseballs so far in Brooklyn, that they would get lost! And, he never missed a Mets game. He watched them when they were good, when they were bad, and when they were just awful!

The Viola family grew up Brooklyn Dodgers fans, but when the Dodgers moved to LA, there was no more baseball – that is until 1962. Sad to say, we’ve been Mets fans ever since, haha.

Anyways, the reason I wanted to share these stories today is because I want you to know that baseball is my life. It has always been my dream to be around the game – and be around it for a long time. It never gets old. I love every minute of it.

The excitement of a game-winning hit, the excitement of a play at-the-plate, etc.

Baseball may not be for everybody – but it is certainly for me.

Thanks to all of the people that I have met over the past four years. It has been an incredible journey. I could not have done it without you.

I’m excited to take the next step in my baseball career. My new venture is going to be a good one. There are big things yet to come. Stay tuned…

– Tommy “the V” Viola

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