When Ethan Farino decided to stop playing baseball, he knew it was a tough choice to make. He also knew it was the best option for his future. Although he didn’t make his decision public until the end of the season, Farino knew for a while that his junior season would be his last.
“What really hit me was I stopped enjoying the process of practicing and trying to get better,” said Farino. “It wasn’t the same as it used to be. I didn’t enjoy it as much and I was like, wait a second. This isn’t normal. I’m not looking forward to practice every day.”
That wasn’t the only reason Farino decided to put down the cleats before his senior season.
Another factor in his decision was thinking about what was best for his future and academics. There were two finance courses that he wanted to take, however, they were both during his practice time.
Farino felt he couldn’t be committed both ways, which made him realize that he had to choose one. He believed that it wouldn’t be fair to his teammates if he wasn’t fully committed to the team, and as a result, he decided to choose the two classes. His decision was made easier since he wasn’t getting regular playing time. Farino appeared in only 29 games in three seasons.
“It definitely had some factor in my decision,” said Farino.
Since his opportunities to play were limited, Farino felt even more pressure to go out and perform when his number was called. In Farino’s case, he felt that one of his pitfalls was how he would get in his head which resulted in many of his struggles on the baseball field.
He made the choice on his own. Telling his parents was one of the hardest things he has ever had to do.
“It was my own decision, and to tell my dad that I was even thinking about stopping playing a game that he’s watched me play,” said Farino. “I knew it would upset him. But at the end of the day, it was my decision. I think it was the best decision for me and where I want to be in the future.”
His love for the game of baseball started back when he was four years old, he knew right away that he had talent when he was drilling balls off the tee over the 50-foot fence, which was something none of the other kids could do. For Farino, baseball was something that came naturally to him, and at a young age, he had a great sense of knowing how to harness his natural talent.
“I think that my understanding of the game came very quickly,” said Farino. “One play, in particular, stands out to me from my youth; I remember when I was playing on my 8U team and the outfield was all shifted to the left, where the right fielder was in right-center field. I remember thinking how much space was over the first baseman’s head and so I waited back on the next pitch and drove it down the right-field line for an easy triple. Being able to pick out little things like that helped me excel tremendously.”
The social aspect of sports was another one of the things that made Farino stick with baseball in high school over other sports he played such as soccer, basketball, and football. He decided to stick with baseball because his closest friends played baseball, which pushed him in the direction of focusing solely on baseball. When he was in middle school Farino started to seriously consider playing baseball at the collegiate level,
“I always had the vision of playing baseball for a school. Not playing in college never even crossed my mind,” said Farino.
When it came time to make a decision Farino narrowed his list down to three schools: Marist, Canisius, and Adelphi University. What put Marist over the top of the other two schools from a baseball standpoint was that Farino was recruited as a two-way player, which Marist admired. Marist also offered him athletic and academic money and in the end, it made the most sense for him financially. He liked that Marist was not too far from his home on Long Island, the business finance program was intriguing to him, and he liked the campus in general.
One of the things that made him consider to keep playing was his athletic scholarship, which helped him pay for school. Since he decided to stop playing, his athletic scholarship went out the window, and the money that was given to pay for school was now gone. This was certainly a factor that made Farino’s decision much harder than he may have originally thought.
The transfer portal was something that Farino did explore because part of his thought process was thinking if Marist was still the right school for him. Although, he decided that the best thing would be to focus on his future and that would mean staying at Marist.
Farino said he misses the camaraderie of spending time with his teammates, and there are times when he will be driving by practice, and watching the guys do something as simple as shagging fly balls which makes him feel a bit nostalgic.
“To be honest, I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. And I think it’ll hit me in the spring when they’re traveling. It’ll hit me more. So now I see them at practice. Like when I’m leaving class, and it’s definitely difficult because most of my friends play on the team here at school, not being in their team culture, it’s definitely different obviously because I’m not with them 24/7 like I used to be,” said Farino.
When the spring does come around and the season is in full swing, Farino is unsure if he’ll be able to attend one of the games as a spectator.
On the other hand, Farino said that he won’t miss the massive time commitment that playing baseball was for him. He feels fortunate that he can now focus on other things in his life, and as a result of his decision, Farino thinks that he has already started to see some positive results.
“Right now I’m looking in a couple of different directions. I’m working towards potentially securing an investment banking position or a real estate position which is something that would have been more difficult to do if I were to keep playing baseball. I’ve definitely opened a lot of doors by giving myself more time to prepare for interviews and writing out applications and everything. Being able to intern has been very beneficial to companies and how they see me as a candidate for their job,” said Farino.
Having much more free time on his hands is something Farino is still trying to get used to.
“I’m used to working under a structured schedule where I don’t really have much time to think about what I’m going to do now I have a lot of time to kinda do anything that I want to do, which is very different from what I’ve done my entire life, so it’s been an interesting experience trying to get used to it. Definitely still getting used to it.”
Although Farino seems confident that he made the right decision that was best for him, there is a part of him that still feels that he may never fully know.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever know,” he said. “I trust myself to make the best decision for myself looking back. So, at that time, I thought it was the best decision to stop playing. So I have full trust in myself,”
Edited by Isabella Cicinelli and Dan Aulbach
Photo provided by Ethan Farino via Marist Athletics