April 28, 2010
WASHINGTON - When the Georgetown University baseball team traveled to New York City last weekend for a three-game series at St. John's, the Hoyas stopped for lunch and received a little bit of a surprise.
Georgetown Head Coach Pete Wilk had made arrangements to stop at the MLB Network through the network of alums at Georgetown. He didn't have to go far to make a contact, reaching out to Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President of Business for Major League Baseball, a 1980 Georgetown graduate.
The players on the team were given a tour of the studio and they had the chance to meet former Major League players Harold Reynolds and Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams, who spoke to the team about commitment to the game and what it takes to play at the next level.
Once on the studio set for the MLB Network, that is where graduate student and left fielder Billy Cupelo (Franklin, Mass./Bishop Feehan) and junior catcher Erick Fernandez (Hialeah, Fla./Hialeah) took over.
Cupelo has made himself at home on the Hilltop in just his first year at Georgetown. He has started 38 games in left field and is batting .322, fourth among all starters, has hit 11 doubles, five home runs and driven in a team-high 38 runs.
Cupelo graduated from Holy Cross in 2009 with a degree in chemistry. He had a year of eligibility remaining and because Holy Cross did not offer the graduate program he was looking for, he enrolled at Georgetown. Cupelo, a Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selection in three years as an undergraduate, was accepted to graduate school and is pursuing a master of science in biotechnology.
"I kind of timed it perfectly since it's a one-year program," Cupelo said. "The program bridges the gap between science and business and prepares students for an entrepreneurial career in business development within the biotechnology/health care industry."
If the biotechnology/health care industry doesn't work out for Cupelo, he may be able to find another calling. Cupelo has served as sort of a postgame interviewer for the Georgetown Athletics website during Hoya games.
So when the chance to sit in the studio desk at the MLB Network and interview players came about, Cupelo leaped at it.
"Being in the studio was amazing, I felt like I was a kid," he said. "Even the CEO of MLB Network studios, Tony Petitti, said he felt like a kid that gets to come to work every day."
Cupelo sat in the hosts chair and interviewed his guests, senior shortstop Tommy Elliott (Blue Bell, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) and senior center fielder Tommy Lee (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac).
He wasn't the only Georgetown player to get a chance to sit in the host chair. Fernandez was joined by sophomore Nick Geary (Miami, Fla./Ransom Everglades) and junior pitcher Pablo Vinent (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit) and that trio recorded a news segment in Spanish.
"They have two main studios, one where we did our live interview, which is the main one for MLB Network," Cupelo explained. "It is unbelievable how they have so much technology in the building. There were enough cables to run across country and back six times.
"Because they built the studio in 2008, everything is state-of-the-art. The other studio is a mini baseball diamond architect like a stadium with live scoreboards, perfect for a waffle ball game, which we got to play. It was just unreal."