NEW YORK CITY, NY – 01/06/2018 — Today’s feel good story, which many are calling a miracle, is the big time buzz surrounding a local high school senior from Manhattan who will be representing New York City for the prestigious G.W.S international United States baseball team.
The legendary Good Will Series has been competing against the rest of the world since 1983-2018.
That puts Julian K. Diaz in good company.
He is the 4th New York City baseball prospect to ever play for the Good Will Series games.
The fourth New Yorker since 1986.
His journey begins in Australia and will continue against a very strong New Zealand national team on January 2018.
Bob Williams, the founder of the Good Will Series and the “Area Code Games,” personally invited Julian based on various scouting reports made by pro scouts visiting the New York area.
Bob Williams played against some of the best players in the history of the sport, including Bob Gibson, Hank Aaron, Willy Mays and Ernie Banks, Williams was also acquainted with Roberto Clemente, a Puerto Rican legend and one of Julian’s heroes.
Julian will be the 5th Player of Puerto Rican descent to wear a GWS Jersey with the American flag on the sleeve.
“I want to make my family proud.”
“I can’t believe it, I just watched these teams compete in the World Baseball Classic.”
Julian shared his thoughts while showing me videos on his phone of hitting techniques he will use to increase his bat speed.
“These guys are throwing mid 90’s, but I need to be wary of the slow change and curves too.”
One of those that recognized Julian’s talents on the field is a former baseball team owner, Reilly Sullivan.
Riley, a native of southern California, once owned a semi-pro team that has been around since the 1920’s –
the Healdsburg Prune Packers.
Riley came to New York after selling the team, but could not resist coaching and volunteering for the NY Giants Youth Club.
It was last summer that he saw Julian become the team MVP and championship hero.
As Riley said, “Julian has the rare qualities required to play top-level baseball. I had to call Bob and Rob Williams immediately to let them know Julian was a legitimate GWS Candidate.”
Over 300 GWS players have gone on to become major league stars, including local heroes like Aaron Hicks, Matt Harvey, John Wettland, Mickey Callaway, Nick Johnson, Mike Pelfrey, Chris Carter, Greg Jefferies, as well as other big-leaguers such as Jimmy Rollins, Nomar Garciaparra, Tori Hunter, Derek Lee, Jim Edmonds, Jason Werth, Eric Chavez, Andre Ethier, Andrian Gonzalez, and many more who graced the baseball stage both domestically and internationally.
Julian is a highly touted D1 prospect that blasted his way on to the scene when he destroyed the competition in high school as a two time P.S.A.A All-Conference Player.
He batted .633 for the Evangel Christian Eagles High School varsity team. This spring, as a senior and team captain, he will attempt to beat that average.
He also plays 1st Base for the same South Jersey team that once had Mike Trout in its ranks – the Tristate Arsenal.
Last summer Julian also played for the Midville Dodgers.
As Julian humbly stated, “I was lucky to have a few good games in front of scouts, but I want to be more consistent and will work much harder in the off season.”
Those that believe that Julian’s hard earned accomplishment of playing baseball at a high level is a miracle are simply wrong.
The real miracle is the fact that he is a cancer survivor that beat the odds.
At the age of 15, Julian was diagnosed with a very rare cancer called Leomyosarcoma.
His battle to live and to survive this cancer is a testament to his heart’s desire to play professional baseball one day.
The Good Will Series motto is “To be the best you must play with the best.”
The series is international baseball at its finest, and is not to be missed.
Julian will no doubt be ready to show the world that he is a tough New Yorker with a big bat and an infectious, winning attitude
After meeting this young man it was apparent he looked and acted much older than 17.
In fact, I felt compelled to have him sign a baseball for me.
Diaz looks like Elvis and has an old school Burt Reynolds swag that screams “superstar.”
In February, Julian will decide which D1 school he will attend. He currently has 4 schools offering him full scholarships to play baseball, but as he said, “I will let God choose for me. If a coach is willing to let me play as a freshman then I am his man.” Julian starts laughing but then immediately gets serious.
“I appreciate getting an opportunity to play baseball in college and will try to help my team by working hard and learning from the older guys. I have a lot to learn and want to contribute, but to be honest, my decision will be based on staying close to home near my family. They are my strength.”