Caribbean manager to reunite with former player at Classic

Puerto Rico manager Carlos Texidor thought for a second when asked what he was looking forward to the most about today’s MLB Little League Classic at Bowman Field. He said obviously he wanted the kids to appreciate what it is like to be at a real Major League game and even to watch the professionals to see how they play the game.

Then he added that it would be a bit special for himself as well.

Texidor is going to be reunited with one of his former Little League players, Ricky Bones, one of the New York Mets’ bullpen coaches.

“I want the kids to appreciate what it is like to be at an MLB game and for the MLB players, to see how they play the game. But it’s personal for me. I’m going to be reunited with one of my old players, Ricky Bones, who is bullpen coach for Mets,” Texidor said through a interpretor. “I was the manager when he was 10-years-old. For me, it’s going to be special.”

Bones is a former professional pitcher, having played from 1991 to 2001 for the seven teams. His longest stint was with the Milwaukee Brewers from 1992-96. He ended his career with the Florida Marlins in 2000-01.

In 2012 Bones returned to professional baseball as a bullpen coach with the New York Mets, where he’s been ever since.

Bones, like Texidor, is from Puerto Rico, having been born in Salinas, just west of Guayama, where Texidor’s Radamas Lopez Little League team is from. Bones also played in two World Baseball Classic games representing Puerto Rico in 2013 and 2017, taking silver in both.

“It’s very special for me to reunite with a player that I used to manage and is now in the big leagues coaching this year,” Texidor said.

Texidor’s players John Lopez, Yadiel Delgado and Eric Rodriguez, all said they plan on having fun and watching the game.

While Texidor coached Bones, Spain manager Oscar Roman had some high-level baseball experience himself. He played college baseball, played in European championships and was a member of Spain’s national team. Roman attended countless Major League Baseball games when he played in college in the United States. But even he admitted it will be a cool experience, especially for his Spanish players who likely will never see another MLB game.

“For some of those kids, it will be the first game that they will ever see and probably the last one they will ever see. So we are extremely excited, especially the kids,” Roman said, noting the players saw the Williamsport Crosscutters play recently, a game they were extremely excited to watch. “So I can’t imagine what will happen (today).”

And for the Canadian players, they echo Roman’s sentiments about likey not getting able to see a Major League game again and being able to be up close with big leaguers is a unique moment.

“It will never happen again, not for us, but it’s a dream come true. I think these guys, they’re super excited,” Canada manager Mike Marino said.