Monday, August 29, 2011


Last January, when the digital numbers on my scale slowly and painfully turned over
from 249 to the perfectly round number of 250, I texted my good friend and former
teammate Steve Tonra, who was an excellent baseball player in high school. I wrote:
Truth be told, there is only one, and there will always be only one 2-5-0 in that ritzy town
of Connecticut, no matter what anybody's scale says.

2-5-0 is the nickname of Mark Rearick. He was extra large coming out of the womb and grew
 to be a mountain of a man. He put the barrel in barrel-chested, and even though he is light
on his feet for a man his size, 2-5-0 is like the dinasours in Jurassic Park, you can hear him
coming from a mile a way.

2-5-0. Rearick hit that magic number as offensive lineman as a senior in high school. Even by
today's standards, any 18-year old kid tippin' the scales at 250 is large, especially when he's
6'3. That  nickname stuck to Rearick like the tattoo on  Mike Tyson's face. It's on, and it's
never coming off. He was never Mark, Mr. Rearick, Coach, or  Dude. It's always been 2-5-0,
even when the scale spit out a number that was much greater than that.

But there's more to 2-5-0 than a perfectly suited nickname. 2-5-0 is Mr. New Canaan baseball.
He was teaching kids how to play the game going back to the mid-1970's. 2-5-0 was the
president of Babe Ruth baseball and coached every kid who came through the program. A well-spoken, intelligent man, 2-5-0 had more knowledge about the game in his right pinky, than
most of us will ever know.

2-5-0 has worked at New Canaan High School for so long, he's seen the kids of some of the
kids he used to coach, graduate. The man is an instution like IBM, Harvard, and Budweiser,
although 2-5-0 has never even sipped an alcoholic drink. He is "old school" and a straight-
shooter who arrived long before the Rubix Cube, Internet, Facebook, and Twitter. In this day
and age of "look at me" and "what can you do for thee", 2-5-0 is unselfish, genuinely caring
about his players, and always doing what was best for the team.

For many years, 2-5-0 was the varsity baseball coach at New Canaan High School. His teams,
as you might've expected, were intelligent and well-coached. He helped make average teams,
good and good teams, great. 2-5-0 was never one to keep track of his records and he probably
couldn't tell you the exact numbers of years he even coached. He just coached for the pure love
of the game. Oh, that may seem like a glitzky cliche in this day and age, but 2-5-0 lived and
breathed the game. It was his true passion.

A few years ago, the game was wrongfully taken away from him. He coached in a town where
every CEO thought they could manage better than Tony LaRussa and coach bettter than Bill Belichick. His assistant coach threw him under the bus and the new athletic director wanted
to have "his guy" running the team. If was the "perfect storm" that led the Rams to make a change atop the baseball program.

After all his hard work, dedication, and loyalty, 2-5-0 was no longer the baseball coach at
New Canaan High School. Baseball in New Canaan would never be the same. Legends
like 2-5-0, and he is a  legend, should decide when they are leaving, not some buttoned-up
adminstrator who uses too much starch in his shirts and doesn't have a pulse of the town.

But life isn't fair, after all, even Tom Landry, who built the Dallas Cowboys from scratch
and turned them into "America's Team," was unceremoniously dumped by Jerry Jones
when  he took over the team. That's sports, and that's life.

2-5-0's former players, coaches, and even umpires in the area, honored him a couple of
years ago, celebrating his contributions to the game. 2-5-0 is truly loved, admired, and
respected, and the number of people who turned out for the event supported that.
My friends reading this like Tonra, Timmis, Burke, Stevens, and Nanai all know what I'm
talking about.

We all go through school learning from a thousand different teachers and getting  instructions
from a hundred different coaches. There are only a handful that we really remember, and
perhaps just a couple you can say actually had an impact on your life. 2-5-0 is one of those
people and coaches that you never forget. He is a true legend of the game and a great friend.

Thanks, 2-5-0.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul,

    Great post, thanks for writing.

    I played for 2-5 on the Bosox for three years - maybe like 1980 through 1982. He was an amazing guy, one of the few coaches or teachers I really remember. I was very small when he drafted me and stayed very small all three years. Each year he would say: "bulk up Hargrove!". I was also pretty quiet and shy so he called me Mr. Juice. Glad to hear he is still up and around.