They were Amazin’!
Budding knuckleballers got tips from the top about how to improve their salads and salamis — while moonstruck moms and dads cooed and clapped from the bleachers — when the New York Mets held a youth baseball clinic at CitiField.
Brooklyn-born former pitcher Nelson Figueroa teamed up with infielder Wilmer Flores, pitcher Logan Verrett, bench coach Dick Scott, and assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler to instruct and boost aspiring aces from St. Athanasius Little League in Bensonhurst, leaving the pint-sized players and their parents with lasting memories, said the league director.
“We loved the fact that the coaches and players took time out to give back to our community,” said Pat Lawler. “They were great, and it was a day we’ll never forget!”
The Amazins’ conducted pitching, hitting, and fielding drills as part of the Play Ball community partnership between the New York Mets’ and SportsNet New York that also awards grants, donates equipment, and creates volunteer opportunities to make a kid’s baseball dream into a major league reality.
Sharing his know-how with the next generation was a win-win for Figueroa, who pitched for the Mets from 2008 to 2009, and is now a studio analyst for SportsNet New York’s pre- and postgame shows.
“A price can’t be placed on seeing the Mets players and coaches up-close at Citi Field ,” said the Coney Island-born ex-hurler who attended Lincoln High School. “It is a unique experience that they will talk about for the rest of their lives.”
SportsNet New York will air some of the day’s footage during Play Ball Week on May 20, providing yet another home run moment for the St. Athanasius community.
“We’ll be watching the show in the coaches room,” Lawler said.