It’s almost time to play ball for over a hundred Long Island children enlisted in Oceanside’s Oil City Sports, a facility run by a former Major League Baseball player.
The Oil City Sports Center sits on Hampton Road in Oil City. Reid Gorecki, a former player for the Atlanta Braves, created the training facility last year with the intention of giving young ballplayers advanced instructional training, teaching them techniques they would not normally learn at typical baseball facilities. He runs the center with his partner and brother Ryan Gorecki.
“We got a good group of boys who work hard and really strive to learn the game,” Reid told the Herald. In 2017, they ran four teams of 50 children, ranging between ages 9 and 16. Now, they have 11 teams of 150 kids and they are known as the Oil City Bandits. “Our main priority is to teach them the game of baseball,” Reid said.
The brothers both have long histories of America’s pastime, extending back to their childhood. “We come from a baseball family,” Reid said, and referenced their father who has been coaching baseball for the past 40 years. “My father was breathing baseball into us since we were kids.” The two both went on to play professionally.
Reid played professional baseball for two years, minor league baseball for 10 — playing on the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves — and major league baseball for one where he was an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves. He began teaching the sport a few years ago before starting the Oil City Bandits in order to get a team going for the kids, and put what they learned to the test by playing in leagues such as Long Island Hot Stove and the Long Island Boys of Summer.
Ryan on the other hand played minor league baseball for six years and has been teaching the game of baseball for 16 years now. He said he enjoys working with children, and started teaching baseball after noticing a lack of engagement with the story in the area. “To me, working with kids year-round keeps you young,” Ryan said. “I like horsing around and being sarcastic with the kids, but I am also serious with teaching.”
When it comes to his curriculum, Ryan said they teach high school, sometimes college-level skills to children in order to give them the tools they may utilize to go as far as they wish with the sport. “We don’t care about trophies,” he said, adding that the importance is not winning, but rather “supplying a good foundation.”
The Oil City Bandits have their upcoming spring 2018 season coming up and tryouts are underway for the upcoming fall season, happening August 2018.