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Paul Straub Field at Hyer Family Park
Jesuit High School is home to one of Tampa’s most stunning baseball fields
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Name: Paul Straub Field at Hyer Family Park
Namesake: Paul Straub’s legacy spans 42 years at Jesuit High School, where he held titles as a coach, teacher, athletic director and alumni director. The Hyer family was the naming rights donor for the field.
Location: Jesuit High School, 4701 N. Himes Ave., Tampa
Year Built: 2011
History: Paul Straub Field at Hyer Park is home to the Jesuit Tigers and was opened on Feb. 26, 2011. That same year, the National High School Baseball Coaches Association named it “Field of the Year.” The field measures out at 320 feet down the left and right field lines and 380 feet to the center field wall.
Team Profile: Jesuit’s baseball team has made four straight Final Four appearances.
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On the field: Ricky Caldevilla
An interview with Jesuit’s star senior leftfielder and USF commit
How did you get into baseball?
Nobody ever gave me a baseball bat; I just kind of watched it on TV. Believe it or not, my grandparents actually took me to the park and my grandma actually threw me my first batting practice session when I was 5 years old.
Did you grow up in Tampa?
Yeah, I’ve lived here my entire life and so have three generations of my family.
What made you play outfield?
When I was a sophomore, I was playing behind an upperclassmen. Last year, I knew left field would be open and that I would have to work really hard to prove myself and earn that spot.
Coach Warren says you throw left but hit right. How did that happen?
That must have been just how I picked up the bat. That’s the only thing I do right: hit golf balls and baseballs. Everything I do is leftie. I don’t even know how that came around. I was a switch hitter when I was younger and have a better leftie swing but I have more power on my right side.
What’s it like playing in Paul Straub Field?
Freshmen year, I thought I was in the major leagues already. My first year playing and getting the privilege to play on this field with a great coach, I’m glad we get to play most of our games at home and on a field of this caliber.
What’s the best field you’ve ever played on?
I feel the most comfort here but I’ve always liked playing at Legends Field. Last year we had a tournament there and I felt right at home because I grew up watching the Yankees spring training. It’s cool to say you’ve played in the same outfield as Curtis Granderson and touched the same third base as Alex Rodriguez.
Do you have a least favorite stadium?
I wouldn’t say it’s my least favorite, but playing at TC (Tampa Catholic) is a little bit…
I see you committed to playing college at USF. What made you choose the Bulls?
I was talking to Miami and they were my No. 1 and I probably could have went there if I wanted to and stayed with it, but at USF I have three friends who are going to be playing there. Two played on the team last year, Vincent Miniet, Daniel Portales and one who played at Tampa Catholic, Andres Leal. We’re all best friends and grew up playing baseball since we were kids. Now I get to play with four of my best friends for my hometown.
That’s pretty cool, Ricky.
Yeah, I’ve always had the dream of being a hometown hero and I’d rather do it for my hometown where my family can watch me than go somewhere else.
So would the next step by the Tampa Bay Rays after that?
Oh, I’ll play anywhere. I’ll play for the Mariners in Seattle as long as I’m playing ball.
Do you have a favorite player?
Of all time, I’d say Tino Martinez. As an athlete and a player, I love the way Josh Hamilton plays. I try and model my outfield and all-around play around what he does.
What do you listen to before the game?
ASAP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, Borgore, Flux Pavilion and Flosstradamus. He’s probably the one who fires up the team the most.
Do you have a go-to pre-game meal?
I try to get a Philly Cheese Steak from Philly Flava. The first time I had one before a game, I hit my first homerun. So I try and stay superstitious.
What do you like to eat after the game?
I like to go to Iavarone’s if I can. But I’ll eat anything my mom puts in front of me.
What’s your goal for this season?
Our coach and our school deserve a state title and we can absolutely do it this year. I think everyone is going to come together this year for one purpose and one purpose only: to win a state championship.