The blog for Mets fans
who like to read


Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at (Sorry, but we have no interest in ads, sponsored content or guest posts.)

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

Met Coach Grill

Meat Loaf’s baserunner protagonist in the middle of “Paradise By The Dashboard Light,” this kid who really makes things happen out there, was probably helped along by his third base coach. Maybe not as he was rounding first and trying for second, because it’s on the runner to pick up the center fielder bobbling the ball, but you’d have to think he was given a steal sign — or at least not given the stop sign — when he got that jump (“what a jump”) and took third. And the batter who followed him had to have read a sign for the suicide squeeze for it to have been executed as seamlessly as it was. Not that we know for sure if the runner beat the play at the plate. “Holy cow,” broadcaster Phil Rizzuto breathlessly opined, “I think he’s gonna make it,” but instant replay wasn’t available as the song moved along to other action.

Aside from invoking the 1978 epic hit single in tribute to Mr. Loaf, who died Thursday at the age of 74, we bring up “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” here because the coaches in the song not only go unnamed but unremarked upon. It’s hard to imagine this boy who could really fly wasn’t paying attention in the heat of the moment to the signals he was getting, nor could we fathom that he’d ever have gotten up to bat in such a pressure cooker of a situation had he not been coached thoroughly as he was coming up the chain to be ready for his moment.

Even in baseball as metaphor (because the play-by-play Meat Loaf drafted the Scooter to do didn’t show up in any box score, wink-wink), the coaching is implicit. Most of the time, when viewed from a distance, it’s barely that.

Today, the Mets announced the composition of their coaching staff for 2022. Some of these names had made the rounds weeks ago, but now they’re official. Welcome aboard some highly qualified professionals you probably won’t hear about let alone think about again until something goes wrong or everybody’s dissatisfied.

• Bench coach Glenn Sherlock (a coach in these parts a few years ago)
• First base coach Wayne Kirby (a 1998 Met)
• Third base coach Joey Cora (brother of a 2009-2010 Met)
• Bullpen coach Craig Bjornson (who seems to enjoy the camera)
• Hitting coach Eric Chavez (we’ll forgive him previous place of employ)
• Assistant hitting coach Jeremy Barnes (formerly the Mets’ Director of Player Initiatives, a key component of the Department of Euphemisms)

Buck Showalter will remind reporters now and then that when a good play is made or a player gets on a hot streak that somebody who otherwise goes about his business quietly has been working hard with so-and-so and it’s really paying off. Sherlock gave Showalter a great suggestion. Kirby positioned the fielders just right. Cora took a chance that paid off. Chavez or perhaps Barnes has spent hours in the cage with somebody who’s no longer in a slump. Bjornson meshes well with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, the lone holdover from the Rojas regimelet (it wasn’t much of a regime) and maybe he keeps the guys in the pen loose. If we pay attention, we’ll take note of these brief notices and feel good about these coaches between pitches.

Then we’ll forget about them almost completely until a runner is thrown out or a slump doesn’t end or an error is committed by a fielder who was standing there rather than there. Why didn’t Sherlock warn Showalter? How come Cora sent or didn’t send that leadfoot/speedster? What does Bjornson do around here anyway? What we don’t see we don’t see. What we think tends to be influenced by what do see or hear, and usually we won’t see or hear much from Buck’s brain trust.

Then, likely when we’re fuming about Met things in general, they’ll be gone from the Citi Field scene, damaged collaterally by a little too much losing, hopefully after an ample amount of winning. Like Jeremy Accardo, who is no longer assistant pitching coach; or Ricky Bones, who is no longer bullpen coach; or ex-first base coach Tony Tarasco; or ex-bench coach Dave Jauss; or ex-third base coach Gary DiSarcina; or Brian Schneider, who you might remember as a catcher for the Mets for a couple of years a while back but you probably have already forgotten coached catchers and coordinated otherwise just last year. The only reason we knew Hugh Quattlebaum — still in the organization but no longer the hitting coach — was because Chili Davis was let go. Davis received more than a modicum of attention for the reason coaches do: by serving as sacrificial lamb. The rest of the 2021 coaches, not all of whom were mentioned in this paragraph, were swept out with the Rojas tide, as if they all suddenly misplaced their savvy simultaneously.

All these new guys who are replacing them no doubt know their baseball. In the end, it won’t save them when somebody has to go.

7 comments to Met Coach Grill

  • Dave

    Good job, bringing back the Times’ “Mr. Loaf.” Proper names only.

    Please, if anyone has to wear uniform numbers like 71, let it be coaches (whose need for uniform numbers escapes me to begin with). Players shouldn’t wear 71 because coaches are wearing numbers like 10 or 25 or something. This is important.

  • eric1973

    Well, me and Phil Rizzuto had something in common regarding that song, that being that neither of us had a clue.

    I was 13 in 1978, and actually thought the guy’s real name was Meat Loaf, so needless to say, I was very surprised when I heard that his real name was Marvin Aday. And it was kind of a thrill to hear Rizzuto in the middle of a rock song.

    So it follows that I didn’t know what Rizzuto’s narration was all about, but neither did Rizzuto. He was being interviewed and he said he was given the script, and just read it off the pages, without any context, of course. He acted a bit embarrassed that he was a part of such a risque affair, but he threw in a few good-natured ‘huckleberries’ and that was that.

  • Cobra Joe

    Great discussion on the Mets’ new coaching staff. Here are a few of my favorite Mets coaches of the past:

    Phil Cavaretta – Phil was the Mets’ hitting instructor from 1975 to 1978. Mr. Cavaretta was a fine hitter during his major league career and also managed the Chicago Cubs; he was very outspoken as a manager. In fact, during the 1954 spring training for the Cubs, Phil very candidly stated that the Cubs would be very fortunate to finish fifth in the National League that upcoming season. He was quickly fired for that blunt assessment of his team. Oh, yeah, the Cubs actually finished seventh in the NL in 1954.

    No doubt, Fred and Jeff Wilpon would have “loved” having the forthright Phil Cavaretta managing or coaching the Mets!

    Matt Galante – Matt was the Mets’ third base coach from 2002 to 2004. I often wonder if Mr. Galante was David Chase’s inspiration for both Bobby Bacala and Vito Spatafore on “The Sopranos”? I don’t want to say that Mr. Galante was overly endomorphic, but if you looked up the definition of the word “roly-poly” in the dictionary, you’d probably see a photograph of Matt Galante next to it in your copy of Merriam-Webster.

    Rickey Henderson – Rickey was a Met coach for only one season in 2007. I think he’s fondly remembered for playing cards with fan favorite Bobby Bonilla in the Mets’ locker room during an NL playoff game in 1999. Hence, the nickname, “The Card-Playing Coach.”

    Vern Hioscheit -Vern was the Mets’ pitching coach from 1984 to 1987. I always looked forward to Mr. Hoscheit coming out to the mound to speak with a Met pitcher whenever Ralph Kiner was announcing the game. One never knew just how the legendary Met announcer was going to exactly pronounce a truly unique surname like “Hoscheit” on the air.

    Sheriff Robinson – Sheriff was the Mets’ first base coach in 1972 and also from 1964 to 1967. Mr. Robinson reminded me very much of Virginia City Sheriff Roy Coffee on the classic tv western, “Bonanza.” And, with the Christian name, “Sheriff,” he could rightfully take his place with Wyatt Earp, Matt Dillon and Barney Fife.

    Anthony “Razor” Shines – Mr. Shines was an infield coach for the Mets from 2009 to 2010. I really don’t remember much about him, but with a great name like “Razor” Shines, he takes his rightful place among great Met nicknames of the past, including Elijah “Pumpsie” Green, Tom “Terrific” Seaver, Dwight “Doc” Gooden, Lenny “Nails” Dykstra and Fred “Coupon” Wilpon.

  • open the gates

    Sorry to hear about Meat Loaf. I will say, Billy Joel was much more realistic when he was “trying hard to get to second base, and [he’d] steal it if [he] only got the sign.” Hey, at least he’s paying attention to his coaches.

  • eric1973

    If Mr. Aday was vaccinated, all the scientific evidence says he would still be alive today, and his family would not be in misery.

  • Seth

    Famous people sometimes have health issues they don’t wish to reveal to the public, so we don’t really know anything for sure other than that he died. Sad, as he wasn’t that old.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    I wonder if any kid in the 4th Grade, in his/her essay “What I want to be when I grow up” ever wrote “I want to be a Director of Player Initiatives.” I also wonder if any Adult ever wanted that.