This year’s World Series, with the final Game 7 played Wednesday night between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros, hit home for a Brockway native and his son.
Stephen Cilladi, who was drafted by the Dodgers in 2009 and played in the minor league, got to experience the World Series firsthand – as the bullpen catcher with the Dodgers. He is the son of David Cilladi, a Brockway native and graduate of Brockway Area High School, and grandson of Theresa Cilladi, of Brockway.
Professional baseball runs in the family – David Cilladi was an assistant trainer for the Chicago Cubs and then head trainer with the Colorado Rockies and now lives in Arizona. He is currently an athletic trainer at a sports medical clinic in Tempe, Arizona.
During a phone interview with the elder Cilladi Wednesday morning, he said he was contemplating flying over to LA for Game 7.
“I went to Games 1 and 2, and there is a flight to LA at 2 p.m., but I don’t know,” Cilladi said.
When asked how he can miss Game 7 of the World Series – which incidentally, there has never been a Game 7 in Dodgers’ stadium history and the last time the Dodgers won the World Series was in 1988 – Cilladi said it’s not as simple as it seems.
“It’s not just a three- to four-hour game, but an eight-hour adventure,” he said. “You need to get there two hours before the game and there is traffic and getting through security. It is not as easy as just showing up. I’m hoping to, but I’m still on the fence.”
Cilladi, who talks to Stephen a couple times a day on the phone, said this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for his son.
“It’s an eye-opening experience for him. He’s excited but it’s a job to them, it’s their work, it’s their livelihood,” said Cilladi. “He was drafted by the Dodgers in 2009. He played in the system for four years. He was offered a position on staff in LA and they have been in the playoffs for the last four seasons.”
As if experiencing the World Series wasn’t enough, Cilladi said his son got to meet President George W. Bush and his father, President George H.W. Bush, who both made appearances at Game 5 of the World Series in Houston.
“Meeting them was pretty exciting for him, the first Presidents he’s ever met,” Cilladi said. “Those are good opportunities.”
Proud of his son’s accomplishments, Cilladi said his son has worked so hard and sacrificed so much over the last several years.
“It doesn’t come easy to work in Major League Baseball,” Cilladi said. “He’s worked so hard and sacrificed so much over the last few years. A very small percentage have that opportunity and once you have the opportunity, you have to make the most of it. He’s working his way through the system and hopefully, one day, he will be a coach.”