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Former Met Frank Viola is the pitching coach of the team's A-ball affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones.Related Stories   Alderson: Johan not throwing - yet   Yankees lefthander Andy Pettitte surrenders five runs in first inning to NY Mets at Citi Field, calls outing 'unacceptable'   NY Mets All-Time team named at two-hour event, which will air on SNY Thursday at 7 p.m.   Ike   Davis continues to struggle at the   plate, goes 1-for-4 during NY Mets' 3-1 victory against Pittsburgh Pirates       Stewart/Getty Frank Viola knows all about the impact a big-leaguer can have on a young player, ever since that day in 1969 when he went to  Youth Bears Jersey a baseball clinic at Eisenhower Park in his East Meadow, L.I., hometown and sat starry-eyed, listening to Jerry Koosman.Koosman said young pitchers should not throw curveballs until they were well into their teens and Viola took Koosman's advice. He's so convinced it had an impact on his own terrific career  Steelers Authentic Jerseys in the majors that he preaches it himself now."I'm 50 years old, but I'll never forget that day," Viola says. Viola, a two-time 20-game winner who won the 1988 AL Cy Young Award and pitched from 1982-96, also knows that lessons learned from a baseball career can help young players, which is something he can use as he returns to professional baseball this year as the pitching coach for the Mets' short-season Class-A team in Brooklyn, the Cyclones.It's an opportunity that Viola, who has spent much of his time since retiring as a high school coach in his adopted hometown of Orlando, and coaching college players in a Florida summer league, relishes. He'll start spring training with the Cyclones in Port St. Lucie on March 2 and, once his new players "Google me," he says, he'll have instant credibility."I think the difference between a kid staying in A-ball and getting farther is the mental part of the game," Viola says. "That's the strength of what I bring to the table. The stuff I went through going up to the big leagues, kids just don't think of any that. If you can get insight from someone who's been through it, it helps."So Viola, who once referred to himself as "the crybaby of the 80s" in a Sports Illustrated article, will talk openly about the days he was "very competitive, but competitive to a bad degree."I always  Patriots New Jerseys thought I knew the (strike) zone better than the umpires. Talk to any umpire ― I was the nicest guy around, but I was a butthead to them. I let errors  Cowboys Thanksgiving Jersey bother me. I remember a teammate told me once, ‘Why don't you man up and take responsibility?' and I thought, ‘It's about time I did that.' That helped me. I'm still trying to figure out full maturity, but growing up did make a major difference in my career. It really made a difference with my teammates, too. There were some who didn't want to play behind me because of my attitude."As a coach, Viola says he finds it easy to talk to young players about any kind of problem. "I can spot it really easily, because I did it all," he says. "I've been through it, so I can relate to these kids."
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