Mendoza's wife put her dreams aside so he could live his

November 15th, 2023

NEW YORK – During his first press conference with the local media, Mets manager Carlos Mendoza was emotional when he was talking to his wife, Francis. She gave up a career in dentistry in order for Carlos to pursue his dreams in professional baseball.

It all worked out for the Mendozas. Carlos, 43, has been in professional baseball since 1996, highlighted by being introduced as the Mets' skipper on Tuesday afternoon.

“I remember having this conversation with you. [I asked], ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ You gave up your career as a dentist,” Carlos said to Francis at the press conference. “… You said, ‘I’m ready to do this with you’, and here we are, Francis. I love you so much and I can’t wait for this next new chapter in our lives.”

The Mendozas met in the 2000s during Francis’ third year in dental school. Carlos was already in professional baseball, and Francis’ mother warned, “You have to understand what his life is going to be like. Probably [dentistry is] one of the things you have to give up.”

“At the time, I didn’t really think about it because I was in love,” Francis told “[Carlos] wanted us to get married, but my dad already made a big effort financially to pay for my schooling. So I [said to Carlos], ‘I want to finish my [schooling]. After I graduate from dental school, then we’ll get married.'”

Francis graduated, but tragedy struck; the Mendozas postponed the wedding because her father developed a brain tumor and later passed away. They eventually married in 2009.

Two years later, Francis was in dentistry and had her own clinic in Venezuela. At the same time, she was pregnant with her oldest son, Adrian. But then Carlos had to go to Spring Training as a coach before becoming the manager of the Gulf Coast League Yankees. Francis decided she wanted to be with Carlos when the baby was born. She then closed her clinic and told her patients she would return in six months.

But there was a catch.

When she arrived in Florida, Francis was impressed by how honest Mark Newman, then the Yankees’ senior vice president of baseball operations, was toward her and Carlos. She had to leave her patients in Venezuela behind.

“He already told Carlos, ‘You already have a baby that is American and it’s expensive for us to get you a work visa and a companion visa every single year, so we already got in contact with the lawyer, and we are going to get you guys the green card. The only downside to that is you cannot leave the country for one year,’” Francis remembered.

Francis and Carlos had a long conversation about Francis returning to Venezuela. She then thought about her family's future and thought she was better off staying in the United States.

“I knew my kids were going to have a better future here in the United States than back in Venezuela,” Francis said. “So that’s the year I decided to give up my career [in Venezuela].”

So why didn’t Francis have a career in dentistry in the United States? The rules are different in the U.S. compared to Venezuela.

“If I wanted to, I would have to take a certain amount of tests [because I was] a foreign dentist," Francis said. "So after those tests, you have to apply to a dentist school like you were going for the first time and you have to go to three more years of dental school to graduate as a general dentist in America.”

By 2017, the Mendozas had a second son, Andres, while Carlos was traveling around the United States. They didn’t have any family in Florida; they were all in Venezuela. Francis still had dreams of going back into dentistry. It happened, but this time, she became a dental assistant in Florida. The company knew about her dental skills in Venezuela, but the pay was low.

By the next year, Carlos had his first big league job with the Yankees as an infield and quality control coach. That’s when Francis' dreams of working in dentistry were put aside.

“I knew I needed to be completely dedicated to my kids because dad wasn’t going to be home, and he was going to be with the team traveling and all of that,” she said.

Now, Carlos is manager of the Mets and Francis was touched by how emotional he was when he talked about her during the press conference.

“I feel, to make it to this position, you must have a great support system at home," she said. "We talk about it. We have a great team – him and me. I don’t regret what I did because it has been so worth it and I’m so happy for him, our family and proud of what we have accomplished.”