Chad Paronto has high hopes for local baseball camp
PITTSFIELD -- A baseball camp this weekend at Pittsfield High School could be a first step toward Chad Paronto establishing some sort of permanent teaching facility.
Paronto, the former UMass pitcher who spent seven years in the big leagues, will hold a camp on Saturday.
"It was always something that I thought about," Paronto said. "I was juggling around a million different ideas. I think it was kind of people pushing me."
The MLB Experience is what Paronto is calling the camp, and its first edition will take place in the Moynihan Field House. He said he has been in contact with baseball coaches throughout the region.
"Eventually, my dream is to build up a big enough clientele in baseball and softball -- with two daughters, I know that's coming -- and putting together an indoor facility where they can do that all year around," he said.
The initial camp will begin on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 12:30 at PHS. The four-week session will run through Dec. 8. Registration is $160 for the four-week camp. Reservations can be made by calling (413) 219-9504, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paronto, who settled in Pittsfield with his wife Karie and their children, spent his final professional baseball season with the Pittsfield Colonials of the Can-Am League.
He was drafted in the eighth round of the 1996 amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He spent part of one season with the Orioles, then spent parts of two seasons with the Cleveland Indians, two years with the Atlanta Braves and parts of two seasons with the Houston Astros.
The right-handed pitcher is currently giving individual baseball lessons to interested young players, and would like to see this weekend's activities help grow the sport.
Paronto said he never had offseason baseball coaching. He pitched, so to speak, the idea to several people and the response was so positive he decided to move ahead with plans to give one-on-one coaching.
"The idea of not just practicing and get in the cage and take your 10 swings and here are your five ground balls. Really, teaching guys where they need to be before the play happens," he said. "The real nuts and bolts of baseball."
The pitcher spent his final pro season as a pitcher and pitching coach under manager Jamie Keefe with the Colonials. In his last season, Paronto was 9-7 with a 3.80 earned-run average in 17 starts for the Colonials. He spent 16 seasons in pro baseball.
Paronto said that while he started to prepare for this eventuality while still in the minors, he said that this idea crystalized during his year of helping Keefe coach the Colonials.
"The last five or six years I played, I really took the time to break the game down, learn from hitters and watch hitters, watch outfielders and learn the entire game," he said. "I knew I could do the pitching stuff. To work with some of those guys and make such a big improvement -- I thought well, maybe I can teach this better than I thought I could.
"That did really start to get me going and got me thinking that I probably know more about baseball than I thought I did."
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