Mark Suleymanov

Former New York Mets’ Edgardo Alfonzo Begins Managerial Career With Brooklyn Cyclones

Edgardo Alfonzo was once the Mets future and now he's part of the Mets having one.

BROOKLYN — If the 2017 Brooklyn Cyclones want to know more about their manager, all they have to do is put his name into a Google search. Then, if there are more questions, the players have 26 years of professional experience and one of the greatest infielders in New York Mets history at their disposal. 

Edgardo Alfonzo will officially begin his managerial career tonight (weather permitting) as the Cyclones face the Staten Island Yankees in their New York-Penn League (NYPL) opener. After serving as Brooklyn’s bench coach under baseball lifer Tom Gamboa the past three seasons, Alfonzo feels Gamboa’s retirement was the push and opportunity he needed.

“Tom [Gamboa] left, and I was the guy available, and they [the Mets] said ‘you’re the guy’,” Alfonzo said. “For the first three years I was with the Cyclones, they asked me to do it [manage] and I told them that it’s not easy being manager. I like to learn as a coach how to deal with the guys, prepare the guys and understand their character. I think I was ready when Tom walked away.”

Alfonzo and his family is no stranger to the NYPL: The man known as “Fonzie” won the batting title in 1992 with the then-Pittsfield Mets in 1992, slashing .356/.388/.443 in 74 games; his brother Edgar Alfonzo managed the Cyclones in the team’s inaugural season in 2001, leading the squad to co-champion honors.

“I remember when my brother was the manager here,” Alfonzo said. “He taught me everything that I know about the game and to follow in his footsteps. “I think it was very important to me and I can call him whenever I need him.”

For his part, Alfonzo is not too far removed from playing organized baseball, last suiting up in 2013 for Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan Winter League. Prior to that, Alfonzo’s last time in Major League Baseball was a 12-game cameo with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006, 11 years after his debut with the Mets.

Throughout that time, the former National League All-Star (2000) knew his journey would keep him in the game.

“[I love] just teaching the kids and one of the challenges for me is the patience,” Alfonzo told Hardball Scoop last year, one day after visiting Citi Field to see former Hall of Fame teammate Mike Piazza have his number retired. “I always remember being 18, 19 years old and now, the other way, you know certain situations and you can help them if they’re not doing something right.

“I’m here because I love this game.”

The 43-year-old Alfonzo has no shortage of former skippers to pull bits of advice from; having played under Bobby Valentine, Dallas Green, and Felipe Alou, the Santa Teresa del Tuy, Venezuela, native plans on using his knowledge and experience rather than his reputation.

But if Alfonzo wanted to coast off reputation alone, he’d be more than qualified. He set the Mets single-game record by recording six hits on August 30, 1999, against the Houston Astros; later that year, a ninth-inning grand slam against the Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the National League Division Series helped the Mets win the series.

Personal accolades aside, Alfonzo’s best advice from his playing days may be unselfishness as he bounced around the infield (second base, third base, and shortstop) throughout his time in New York to accommodate an evolving Mets team. Either way, what he did or did not do as a player is not. Alfonzo is not planning on making his latest endeavor about himself.

“I don’t do that, I don’t like to tell the guys ‘hey, you gotta do this because of who I am.’ If you want to know what I did, go on the computer and Google it and see it – and if you have a question, ask me the question. I like to tell the guys that right now, it’s all about getting better.”

SIDE NOTES

  • Here's the Cyclones' official roster to start the season. Several draft picks are expected to join the team in the next 10-to-12 days. Here's the Staten Island Yankees roster.
  • Jacob Zanon, the Mets' 15th round pick last year, will start with the Cyclones on a rehab assignment after suffering a concussion with the Columbia Fireflies (Class-A) recently. Zanon stole 20 bases for Brooklyn last season, 10 short of Angel Pagan's record, before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. "I feel that if I did not get injured, I would have had the record," Zanon tells Hardball Scoop.
  • The pitching matchup for today's opener is expected to be LHP Jake Simon (0-0, 0.00 ERA) for Brooklyn and Jorge Guzman (0-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Yankees. 

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