JUPITER, Fla. – That guy walking around the Roger Dean Complex at
this week’s Perfect Game WWBA World Championship wearing two hats? Oh, no need
for a double-take. That would be John Mirabelli, the guy who would be at the
World Championship this week even if he didn’t have a son playing.
Mirabelli is an assistant general manager and vice president of
scouting operations for the Cleveland Indians. He is also the proud father of
Tommy Mirabelli (2012, Rocky River, Ohio) who is here this week as a member of
the North Carolina-based Dirtbags Baseball program.
“You can knock out two birds with one stone,” John Mirabelli said
under the bright sunshine at the Roger Dean Complex Thursday afternoon. “You
can get a little work done and mix some business with pleasure. I’m fortunate
and he’s fortunate to be part of (a) Perfect Game (event).”
Tommy Mirabelli, a 5-7, 140-pound left-handed hitting mid-fielder
enjoys having his father around to see him play, and said he feels no added
pressure to perform well.
“He’s a great guy,” Tommy
said of his dad. “It’s not only just as a dad, but he teaches me so many
things. He gives me tips on what I did wrong, what I’m doing right … so it’s
definitely a huge plus.
“I’ve been feeling a little pressure ever since I first started
playing baseball, and this is nothing new. It’s pretty good. I love the Dirtbags
and they’re a wonderful program. And everything about Jupiter is amazing.”
The Dirtbags will be among the favorites to win the six-day event,
which kicked off Thursday (Oct. 21) and concludes with the championship game
Monday (Oct. 25). The presence of both Mirabellis has made the Dirtbags
“It’s great for our kids and it’s great for our program to have
somebody like Tommy – who is a terrific baseball player – and obviously his
dad, with the scouting connections with
Cleveland,” Dirtbags head coach Andy Partin said. “The best thing about John
Mirabelli is he’s … just like talking to your uncle, or your brother. He’s down
to earth and he’s been great with our kids.”
Partin said he expects Tommy Mirabelli to be a “terrific” college
player. He has already received numerous offers but has made no verbal
“I got a lot of contact from college coaches saying they were
coming down here to watch me, so Jupiter as a tournament has a lot of exposure
and that just adds to things competition-wise,” Tommy Mirabelli said.
The elder Mirabelli is going to take a little time to sit back and
enjoy watching his son play this week, but this is no family vacation. Tommy
Mirabelli wants to impress coaches and scouts and John Mirabelli wants more
than a few young players to impress him.
“I’ve been here many times,” John Mirabelli said. “It’s very
heavily scouted and we’ve got our contingent of scouts here as well. Because of
the convience and the logistics of having so many players in one spot, they
put it on a silver platter pretty much for the scouting industry. And for the
most part it’s the last event of the year before we go into the spring and put
our eyes on some of these kids.
“So yeah, you put it all on paper and it’s a pretty good deal.”
When the Indians’ John Mirabelli looks at the WWBA World
Championship, he sees pure baseball with a very discerning eye.
“This is it. This is the grass-roots level ,” he said. “This is
how I sort of cut my teeth as an area scout and this is one of the most
enjoyable parts of the job. This is where it all starts at. You can’t have a winning team or a winning
organization unless you have good players. You’ve got to get out here and
scout, make evaluations and make good decisions.”
When the Dirtbags’ Andy Partin looks at the WWBA World
Championship, he sees it with a sense of awe.
“We’re excited, our kids
are juiced and they’re ready to go,” Partin said early Thursday. “This is what
we work hard for all year. It just gets bigger and better every year. It’s just
the greatest event that a high school kid can go to. There’s nothing else to
compare it to. It’s like going to Disney World for the first time. You don’t
know what to expect, but it’s awesome.”