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Mets manager Carlos Mendoza inspires Venezuela

Carlos Mendoza vows to stay true to himself

After spending 13 years in the minor leagues, Carlos Mendoza’s journey from Venezuela to the majors has been nothing short of orthodox.

The New York Mets’ young manager logged in many minor league innings with a revolving door of coaches and managers before abandoning his dreams of playing in the majors.

However, resilience and an open mind have brought him exactly where he wants to be. He will now lead a major league dugout. Carlos Mendoza dreams of leading his Mets team to the postseason.

Instead of doing it as a player, he has a perfect opportunity to make a run with the Mets as a manager.

Second Venezuelan manager

It didn’t take long for Mendoza to realize how proud his countrymen were to have a second Venezuelan manager in baseball history.

“It’s been great,” Mendoza said of the excitement back home in Venezuela. “Got kind of crazy, to be honest with you, from Venezuela, people in Venezuela, not only family members but just the whole country.

“It was big news because I’m the second manager, full-time manager, after Ozzie Guillén. It means a lot.”

Mendoza enters his first Winter Meetings as a manager with excitement as he gets to see familiar faces he hasn’t seen in some time. He is also excited about his staff and a front office and ownership not hesitant to spend to enhance their roster. 

Mendoza is one of six Latino managers in Major League Baseball. Being in such a short list may come with some nerves. Nonetheless a recurring message has kept him going: just be yourself.

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That is the advice he has received from current and former Latino managers. 

“I think the biggest thing is to keep being you,” Mendoza said when asked what advice he’s received. “You’ve gotten to this point for a reason, just keep being yourself, just keep being you and you’re going to be fine.”

Mendoza is the second Venezuelan manager to serve as a non-interim manager in MLB history. He joins 2005 World Series winner Ozzie Guillen.

Carlos Mendoza paid his dues

He brings grit and determination into the Mets’ clubhouse. Carlos Mendoza, 44, lasted a decade in the Giants’ farm system, where he signed as a 16-year-old in 1996. He made it as far as Class AAA before being released.

Mendoza later signed with the Yankees, where Mendoza played three years in the minors. 

Although Mendoza didn’t achieve his goal as a player with the Yankees either, he found his true calling. The Yankees hired Mendoza as an infield coach with the Staten Island Yankees. Later that same year he joined the Charleston RiverDogs’ staff.

Mendoza spent another decade in the minors coaching with the Yankees before earning the quality control coach position for the major league club. In four years he was promoted to the Yankees bench coach. He finally earned his first big league managerial post with the Mets this offseason. 

“It’s something that I’m pretty humble and proud of. (It’s) something that I don’t take lightly,” he says. “I’m very proud to represent our country and the Latin community. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of Mets fans now back in Venezuela.”

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