By Sam Brief, Correspondent

Josh Satin forcefully flipped his blue New York Mets helmet to the ground, extended both of his arms outward, and jumped onto an ecstatic Scott Hairston.

The rest was lost in a sea of blue-and-white pinstriped uniforms—jubilant Mets teammates mobbing Satin, who just seconds before hit a pinch-hit, walk-off single against closer Sergio Romo and the defending world-champion San Francisco Giants.

Minutes later, a shaving cream pie welcomed him in the dugout. Satin was riding high. He finished the day with two hits, a sacrifice fly, and three RBIs.

“Pretty much everything that could have gone right was going right,” Satin said of his career-best 2013 campaign, in which he hit .360 over the first month of the season. “I got to play a lot, and I played great.”


Two years earlier, Josh Satin stood uneasily on the Mets’ on-deck circle at Citi Field—about to make his major league debut in the bottom of the 8th inning against the Marlins.

“I thought I was going to pass out,” Satin said. “My heart was pounding so much. I didn’t know what to do. I’ll never forget how nervous I was.”

With two outs in the bottom of the 8th, shortstop Jose Reyes was at-bat with a full count. He flied out. Satin walked back to the dugout—his first MLB plate appearance would have to wait for another day. He would eventually single in his debut three days later—September 4, 2011—against the Nationals in Washington.

Satin’s pro baseball career began back in 2008, when he was selected by the Mets in the 6th round of the draft, and included stops with the Reds and Padres organizations as well. But in June of this year, he decided to retire because of debilitating symptoms from a concussion he suffered last year in a pop-fly collision with a teammate from the Louisville Bats, the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate.

The concussion cheated Satin of his ability to put bat to ball—the skill that elevated the infielder from high-school stardom to a prolific yet up-and-down college career at Cal-Berkeley to the major leagues.

“I just hadn’t been as good,” Satin said. “My depth perception was off. Balls that I would drive into right-center, I would all-of-a-sudden just tap. And I would be like, ‘What the heck was that? That never happens.’ And it happened over and over and over again.

“I felt like I wasn’t the same and I wasn’t going to be the same. … It’s hard enough to hit a little baseball when a guy is chucking it at you 95 miles an hour. But when you can’t really lock in on it like you used to, it makes it 20 times harder—maybe a thousand times harder.”

Satin was in-and-out during the rest of the 2015 season before deciding to take the year off, spending his time working with concussion therapists. He returned in 2016.

“I came back this year with San Diego hoping it would be different after the treatment,” Satin said. “And it wasn’t. So, basically, it was a choice of, ‘Do I want to wait this out again or do I want to start the rest of my life?’ And I chose to start the rest of my life.”

Satin announced his retirement on June 10 via Twitter, writing, “I have decided to retire from the game of baseball. Injuries especially head injuries diminished my skills and it’s time for me to move on.”

Josh Satin of Team Israel looks on from the bench during game one of the Qualifying Round of the World Baseball Classic against Team South Africa at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, on Sep. 19, 2012 (Tom DiPace, Getty Images)

Josh Satin of Team Israel looks on from the bench during game one of the Qualifying Round of the World Baseball Classic against Team South Africa at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, on Sep. 19, 2012 (Tom DiPace, Getty Images)

In spite of his retirement, Satin isn’t quite done with baseball. This September, he will represent Team Israel in the qualifying round of the fourth World Baseball Classic. Games will take place at MCU Park in Brooklyn, the same field where Satin got his start with the Mets organization for the Class-A Brooklyn Cyclones.

“It’s going to be full-circle for me,” Satin said. “I have great memories there. It’s where I started my professional career, and I’ll play my last game at that field. It’ll be nice to have gotten away from the game and come back in this kind of setting and have one last hurrah.”

Team Israel’s manager is Jerry Weinstein, who was the Colorado Rockies’ catching coach in 2013 and now works as the team’s director of player development.

“He will go full cycle,” Weinstein said. “That shows this is meant to be.”

Satin has never been to Israel, but he first played for Team Israel in the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifiers, in which the team lost to Spain in the final round.

Weinstein, who preaches the World Baseball Classic as an opportunity to jumpstart baseball in Israel, commended Satin’s skillset.

“He’s an upper-level baseball player,” Weinstein said. “Even though he’s retired right now, he still has a skill level that’s better than most of the guys who will be on the team. And he occupied a position of need—there are very few Jewish infielders. We’re hoping he can play third base for us.”

Team Israel’s first qualification game is on September 22, which may pose an issue for Satin. He and his wife, Allyson, are expecting a baby girl on September 25. Of course, Satin is hopeful the dates don’t conflict. The opportunity to play with Team Israel—a chance given to Jewish players from any country—means baseball without the stress.

“No fans know this, but professional baseball is really, really stressful,” Satin said. “No matter who you are—no matter if you’re the worst guy in the minor leagues, or if you’re me or if you’re Mike Trout. It’s stressful. There’s expectations people have, and you want to set yourself up for your future. Every day is stressful.

“Playing for team Israel will be the first time in a long time where I will go and have some fun. I’m not playing for my future. I’m playing to enjoy myself and to help the team win. I’m excited about that.”

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sam brief mugSam Brief is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he is a television reporter, radio producer, play-by-play man and writer. Follow him on Twitter @sambrief and feel free to shoot him an email at