Opening Day Banner



by Ryan Gilbert

As the Cyclones geared up for their home opener, pitching coach Frank Viola took the time to discuss his feelings and expectations for the 2011 season.

The 1987 World Series MVP and 1988 Cy Young award winner, knows that his pitching staff is aware of his success as a major leaguer. While Viola doesn’t doubt that his 15-year playing career makes it “easier” for his young pitchers to approach him for advice, he does believe that he can only do so much to ensure their success. “This is school right now,” Frank said, “You can get your [pitcher] to school, but once they get there, once they cross that white line, they’re on their own.”

Preparation, however, is where Coach Viola is the biggest asset to his pitchers. With an average age of 22.0, a majority of the Cyclones staff has not pitched in front of a large crowd before. “This is when you really have to learn the words ‘focus’ and ‘tunnel-vision,” Frank stated, “When I was into the moment, I didn’t know that there were 50,000 people around me.” In addition to fine-tuning mechanics and game plans, Viola must also mentally prepare his pitching staff for the pro level.

“These kids all got here on their own merit,” Viola said, “Now it’s just a question of taking that, working with their catcher, and throwing it all out at the plate. If they’re able to do that, they’ll be the ones continuing on up to the big leagues.”

Viola has also quickly developed chemistry with manager Rich Donnelly and hitting coach Bobby Malek. Donnelly, who has been coaching at the professional level since 1972, is “Fun to hang out with and has stories from all over the place,” according to Frank. Malek, who had 111 at bats for the Cyclones in 2002, as well as a brief stint in 2006, is a “good storyline to follow” according to Viola.

After being away from professional baseball from 1996 to 2009 when he worked with the Cleveland Indians coaching staff during Spring Training, Coach Viola said it is a “wonderful feeling” to be able to help out the Mets organization again. A native of East Meadow, New York, Frank pitched for the Mets from 1989-1991, winning 20 games in 1990 – no Met has won 20 games in a season since Viola’s feat. “Having grown up in Long Island and being a Met fan from a kid on, it’s great to put a Met uniform on again. No question,” Frank added.

When Viola was approached during the Winter Meetings to re-join the Mets organization, he was eager to seize the opportunity. “It’s a different front office, it’s a group of different people, they all have a game plan, I’m part of that new game plan and I like that.” 

Coach Viola quickly became aware of the Cyclones’ rich history upon his hiring as pitching coach. “To be a Cyclone is an honor,” Frank said, “You’re talking about the greatest half-season team in professional baseball. Not just in attendance, but in win-loss record too. I’m having the time of my life.”

Search Archive »

Browse by Month »

September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
February 2007
Stop N Shop
MCU Card
Glenwood Mason