FLUSHING, NY — Tuesday marked a monumental day for Carlos Mendoza, his family, and all in the New York Mets organization, as the 43-year-old was officially introduced as the new Mets manager during a press conference at the Piazza 31 Club located in Citi Field.
Not only was Mendoza celebrating a joyous day in his baseball coaching career, becoming the 25th manager in Mets franchise history, but Tuesday was also his mother’s birthday, and yes — she was in attendance, after flying from Venezuela with his father for their son’s special moment. Additionally, Mendoza’s wife, and their two sons were present in the first row for the introductory press conference.
New threads 👀 pic.twitter.com/yz7ntdVsgf
— New York Mets (@Mets) November 14, 2023
He began his opening statement with a bright smile, stating: “Man, this feels good. This feels great. This is a great day. This is a special day for me, my family and the Mets organization. For me, it’s an honor and privilege to be wearing this uniform.”
He later then added in Spanish: “To all Latinos, your dreams can always be achieved with respect, and with dedication when you work hard. Here I am representing all of you.”
The former minor leaguer, who was born in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela, and grew up in Barquisimeto, became just the second-ever manager from Venezuela in MLB history — joining Ozzie Guillén (Ocumare del Tuy, Venezuela), who managed the Chicago White Sox from 2004-2011, and Miami Marlins in 2012.
“He (Ozzie) texted me, wishing me good luck and told me to be myself,” said Mendoza when asked about the relationship between him and Guillen.
“Ozzie was the first manager to win a World Series from Venezuela, I have a lot of respect for him.”
Guillén led the White Sox to the franchise’s third-ever World Series title in 2005, and now less than two decades later, Mendoza will attempt to do the same in Flushing, Queens.
Despite this marking his first-time as a MLB manager, Mendoza has a ton of coaching experience on his career-resume that includes — the past 15-years in the New York Yankees organization working as a bench coach, field coordinator, minor league manager, major league quality coach, and infield coach, as well as serving as a bench coach for Venezuela in the WBC (2023), the manager for Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Winter League (2021, 2022), and the manager for Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League (2012, 2016).
Earlier this month at the GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman went into detail about Mendoza when asked about the Mets managerial hire:
“He’s a tough loss, I think the Mets got a great one — He’s obviously from Venezuela, speaks Spanish, speaks English. He’s got structure. He’s got process. He knows the game’s fundamentals. He’s been running our major league’s spring training for years. He was probably taught by Rob Thomson (current Philadelphia Phillies manager, who was with NYY from 1990-2017) how to run our camp when Rob was running it before him.”
“He knows analytics inside-out. He’s got discipline — He’s not afraid to go at a player when necessary, and when it’s required. He’s got a soft touch to it at the same time. I think he is a swiss army knife. The Mets got a really great baseball person… I thought that there was going to be a job for him already, but I guess this one was meant to be.”
Fast forward to this afternoon, Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns, whose first major move in New York was deciding to part ways with Buck Showalter, and hire Mendoza, had similar thoughts to Cashman:
“I think people in baseball for a long time have expected Carlos to be a great manager. This isn’t just someone who just sort of popped up on the managerial circuit this year. This is someone who certainly for the last 3 to 4 years — we’ve talked about within front offices’ — is ‘that’s someone who is going to be a major league manager some day, and someone who will be a really good one.’”
“So, he’s been on my mind from the front-end of this process, and then as I got to know him better, it became clear that he was the right fit.”
Robert Rizzo is a journalist and editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com
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