Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Days with Fonzie

We announced earlier this week that Fonzie would be back to manage the team this summer, which is great news for fans, players, and front office staff.

Edgar Alfonzo was the first-ever manager of the Cyclones in 2001, and returned last year for a second tour of duty. All he did was lead the team to two of its most successful seasons ever, totaling 106 wins (with just 52 losses) for an astounding .671 winning percentage.

Obviously, you have to have good players to rack up wins like that. But I also think -- especially at this level -- the coaches are tremendously important. Fonzie brings intensity, pride, knowledge, and class. He's someone who has spent a lifetime in the game of baseball, and prides himself on doing things the right way -- and making sure his players do too. His teams have been smart, aggressive, hungry, dominant squads, and I believe that starts from the top.

Fonzie not only knows how to win, but has a burning desire to do it, too. What's great about him -- again, especially at this level -- is that he also has that same desire to teach the game to the rising young stars, and he finds a good balance between wining and development.

I've listened to him time and time again talk to reporters about that balance, and about how he thinks he can combine the two by "developing winning players." His theory, and that of the Mets' organization, is that winning breeds winning, and that success at the various levels of the minor leagues will translate into success at the major league level. By teaching the players how to play the game the right way -- with a specific style and approach, the coaches are not only developing these players, but they are providing them with the tools to win at the same time.

In addition, he's great with the fans, and does some outstanding work in the community during his time here each summer.

Take everything that Fonzie brings to the table and add two more coaches with proven success -- pitching coach Hector Berrios and hitting coach Guadalupe Jabalera (Jabi) -- and you have one of the finest staffs in the minors.

For many of these players, the Cyclones will represent their first professional experience, and their first manager will make an indelible mark on their career. The organization depends on the managers and coaches of first-year players to set the tone for what the organization expects from its members, and what it means to play for the New York Mets.

We won't know who our players are for a while now, but we'll know that whoever they are, they'll have some great coaches pointing them in the right direction.

-- Dave

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