Cesario moves past Katrina through Houston baseball
During his first semester of college, Jimmy Cesario had more to worry about than finding his classes and adjusting to new roommates.
Cesario grew up and graduated high school in New Orleans. He spent his first two years of college in the same city at Delgado Community College, and his family was still living there when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in August 2005.
"It’s one of those things that affected every aspect of your life – your friends, your family. It was an eerie experience." Cesario said."There’s some areas in New Orleans where you wouldn’t know the difference (now) that a hurricane hit, and there’s some areas where it still looks like a bomb went off. It’s still in the process of rebuilding."
Like his hometown, Cesario is moving forward and building a college baseball career. Cesario may have grown up in Louisiana, but in 2006, he transferred to Houston even though his mother played basketball and volleyball for Tulane in New Orleans. "It actually kind of came down to Tulane and here, and when I came out here I enjoyed it. I felt comfortable with the coaching staff, felt comfortable with the players. I felt it was a good fit," Cesario said. "It was nice when we went back to Tulane last year and got the sweep, actually."
Although Cesario’s father and mother moved to Chicago with his two younger brothers after Hurricane Katrina hit and are only able to attend a few games each year, Cesario can depend on his teammates for support.
"We have a lot of camaraderie on this team. It’s upbeat, energetic, the atmosphere’s really good. I think that’s going to build into going out there with confidence and going out there knowing we worked hard."
Last season, Cesario led the Cougars with a .352 batting average. He had 77 hits and earned the award for Conference USA Newcomer of the Year.
He was also named to the All C-USA First Team and earned Hitter of the Week honors in 2007, but says he likes playing offense and defense equally.
"Hitting is fun. Of course you have to be able to play defense, but I love getting into the box and swinging the bat. It’s one of the most enjoyable things," he said.
"It’s funny, you fail a lot more than you succeed, but it’s one of those things where you really enjoy the challenge, especially when you face good competition (and) kind of go toe-to-toe with a good pitcher."
Cesario wants to repeat last year’s success this season and also take a more prominent role on the team as a junior.
"I think the thing that’s changed probably a little bit more is I have more of a leadership role, more vocal. I’m trying to contribute to the atmosphere as a leader-type role."
Cesario hopes Cougar fans will share the excitement he and his teammates feel about the upcoming season.
"It’s nice to come out and see some faces in the stands cheering you on, and I think it’s our job as well to put some faces in the stands by our play and by the way we go about our business," he said. "Hopefully (with) the type of play we put forth, we’ll have some people in the stands and fill them up and make them proud."