Bones to meet hometown Little League team

Mets' bullpen coach eager to greet squad from Guayama, Puerto Rico

August 18th, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- When Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones was 12 years old, his parents worked full-time. So when Bones finished school each day in Guayama, Puerto Rico, he would head to the home of Efrain Texidor, his local Little League coach. There, Texidor would drill Bones on the nuances of the game.
"I learned a lot from them because he was really strict," said Bones, who went on to pitch 11 big league seasons for seven different teams.
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Thirty-seven years later, Texidor's son, Carlos, is a coach himself, leading the Radames Lopez Little League team from Guayama to the World Series in Williamsport, Pa. There, Bones will reunite with his old friend Carlos, meeting Sunday afternoon with his hometown team before coaching in the Little League Classic between the Mets and Phillies later that night (7:10 p.m. ET on ESPN).
"I'm looking forward to it," Bones said. "Little League in Puerto Rico is huge. It's big."
Back in 1981, Bones was a pitcher and infielder for the Guyama team, which won a local tournament to earn the right to represent Puerto Rico in a Caribbean regional in Monterrey, Mexico. Although Bones' team did not advance to the Little League World Series, he still marvels at the baseball heritage from his hometown of fewer than 50,000 people. Past and present big leaguers such as Bones, Roger Moret, Pedro Garcia and all hail from Guayama, while the surrounding towns and neighborhoods were home to countless others -- from Roberto Alomar to .
"Everybody knows each other," Bones said.
It is a section of the island that was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Maria, which made landfall in the area last September. In that sense, baseball has become a distraction for thousands of Puerto Ricans, who have rallied in particular behind the Guayama Little League team.
As one of the more prominent ballplayers to reside in the region, Bones has already offered the team encouragement over the phone, with plans to spend time with them in Williamsport on Sunday.
"I just tell them to enjoy it, just relax, don't do too much," Bones said. "Just try to absorb everything around you, because this is once-in-a-lifetime."