Back but certainly not bitter

June 13, 2012 by  

All-star credentials aside, Comerota not bummed to be back with Bears||

YAKIMA, Wash. — By virtually all standards, James Anthony Comerota is an intelligent and articulate person. He is well-educated, with multiple degrees from Rice University, and at the ripe old age of 25 seems wise beyond his years.

Yet despite his wealth of perspective — or perhaps because of it — Comerota has a stubborn streak.

Yakima first baseman Jimmy Comerota makes a play during a game last July against Salem-Keizer at Yakima County Stadium.||KATHARINE LOTZE/Yakima Herald-Republic file

He has vowed, for example, to exclude a fairly basic word from his fairly extensive vocabulary, at least in regard to his continuing status as a Yakima Bear.

“You will not hear me use the word disappointed,” Comerota said Wednesday in the Bears dugout at Yakima County Stadium. “I won’t use that word because it’s not the way I feel. Everyone in this (Arizona Diamondbacks) system is working to reach the next step, to move up in the system with the eventual goal of reaching the major leagues.

“When you have a good season and don’t move up, it’s natural to wonder. It’s natural to think, ‘What do I have to do?’ On the other hand, I’m still playing professional baseball, so I’m concerning myself with things that are in my control. I know I’m improving as a player and I know I’m working hard. And I know the organization sees something in me to keep me around.”

And of course Comerota, aka Jimmy Baseball, sees much in a game he has approached with both passion and pragmatism since his youth.

A bad day at the ballpark, he’ll tell you, beats a good day at the office, and Comerota had many good days at the yard last season. Hitting .322 with 11 doubles, a team-high 34 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts, he made the Northwest League all-star team as a third baseman.

This despite his playing first base, with gold glove aplomb, for just about all of his 59 games.

Comerota is nonetheless back, becoming the first player in the Bears’ modern era dating back to 1990, to return to Yakima after being an all-star the season prior.

In the meantime, Comerota (pronounced Com-ah-RAH-ta) spent his offseason as an intern for his hometown Houston Texans, using his economics degree and outgoing personality to help the NFL franchise in corporate development.

“Great season,” he said. “I will never forget how insane things got for that first playoff game.”

Wednesday, he was happily greeting teammates new and old, recounting last season’s late surge into postseason contention and how his grandmother would text him from back east after virtually each Bears win.

“It’s baseball season,” Comerota said, smiling and looking out at the field. “Best time of the year. It’s like I told my dad, I’ve gotten my degrees taken care of so I can find a way to earn a living away from baseball when the time comes. For now, I’m going to enjoy being around my teammates and coaches, work hard and try to win.”

He’d heard, before arriving in town Tuesday, that this season will likely be the team’s last here with the franchise almost certainly headed to Hillsboro, Ore.

“I’m still looking forward to playing here, to giving our fans something to cheer about,” Comerota said. “What would be really great is if we could give them a championship. Last year, when we made our push, I sensed that the city got pretty pumped, so maybe we can take things a couple of steps further this time.”

Filed under All, Featured Stories, Yakima Bears/NWL

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