Of course, most local bar owners aren’t former Major League Baseball pitchers.
Danny Serafini, a first round pick in the 1992 MLB amateur draft, has been owner of The Bullpen at Aspen Glen in Sparks since July, fielding questions his customers have peppered him with about his 23-year baseball career. Serafini played seven years in MLB and left the country to play in Japan, Mexico and Canada before hanging up his spikes earlier this year.
“I think seeing people’s reaction is the best part for me,” Serafini said inside The Bullpen in December. “I don’t want to say they are star-struck because I am not a superstar or anything like that, but I was a different caliber in what I have done with my life than what a lot of other people have done. They’re more interested in what it’s like to live that lifestyle or to play in front of 40,000 people or start a game on Sunday Night Baseball in front of millions of people.
“It’s fun to watch their reaction and be almost in awe because they couldn’t imagine doing that themselves, yet there is a lot of professionals who come in here and I couldn’t do what they do on a daily basis either. I get to see the other side of it for sure.”
Serafini has been a Spanish Springs resident for 13 years after moving from his roots in the Bay Area to a ranching/equestrian property. Serafini said learning to tame the competitive fire he’s known for more than 20 years does not come easy, but he said it was simply time for a new chapter to be written in his life.
“It’s tough. I still have a lot of friends that are on TV playing and I get to watch them. I played for 23 years and it was time for me to start being a family guy, but the competitive edge hasn’t left me,” Serafini said. “I get pretty honey when I am at the house all day long and I need to be out doing something. Home projects and upgrades keep me busy and I am always trying to get out and play golf, too.”
The man who once pitched team Italy to a victory in the World Baseball Classic has already made a few adjustments to The Bullpen at Aspen Glen, and a few more are in the works. Serafini said a 48-hour makeover to the bar is coming soon and he plans to look into a music and comedy venue for the bar to bring in local talents to perform.
Serafini also updated the furniture throughout the property and placed his personal memorabilia on the wall as “conversational pieces” for his customers. Adding a full ticket of sports packages to the TV subscription was another way of Serafini opening the door to his new friends.
“I want it to be a friendly place where people can relax and have a good time,” he said. “A lot of what I did was change the environment in here. I haven’t really publicized that I own this place yet because I want to do some renovations before having a big grand opening.”
Serafini said managing the bar has allowed him to suppress his competitiveness and enter more of a “media relations role” where interaction with his patrons is top priority. Now that he is done traveling for baseball, he said he has a new list of friends to get acquainted with.
“I have all these new friends in a city that I haven’t even really lived in,” Serafini said, alluding to his adjustment from professional sports. “It’s harder for me because I have always had a certain circle of friends who were professional athletes, actors and all that, but now I have a whole new friend base and I hardly keep in contact with my old baseball buddies now.
“I kind of like the small-town atmosphere (of Sparks). Everyone kind of knows everybody and you are always hearing something about somebody that you know. I think that is only going to grow as I spend more time in (The Bullpen) and it is kind of nice to have new friends.”
Movie: Pulp Fiction
Author: Jeffery Deaver
Hobby: Motocross riding or golf