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Until, that is, an offer arrived from the Orange Police Department to become a police officer. It was a job with stability, good pay and a clear future. He accepted.

Grasso, who would later move on to the Hamden Fire Department, has spent the better part of the last two decades fighting crime, extinguishing burning buildings and saving lives.

But each spring for the last twenty years, the desire to call balls and strikes in professional baseball burned in his belly. This winter, he decided to scratch that itch.

So tonight, after finishing his Christmas Day shift at the firehouse, Grasso will pack a suitcase, hop into his motor home and drive to Kissimmee, Fla., with his wife of 18 years, Lynn, and sons Jake, 12, and Benjamin, 10. He